Contextual = Consensual

The future of advertising might be a familiar strategy 

Digital advertisers don’t have to be that creepy neighbor anymore. You know the type, always lurking over the fence, paying attention to what kind of car someone drives, where they shop for groceries. 

That grill a consumer did a Google search for a month ago? They’re still getting served ads for BBQ accessories. It follows them everywhere they go online. 

But guess what? That nosey neighbor has sold his house and moved on. Online privacy is no longer an option but a requirement to do business. And we’re on the cusp of significant change in the dynamic realm of advertising, where consumer privacy and data protection have revolutionized how we engage with audiences. It’s a transformation that will forever change the future of advertising, where traditional meets innovative, and privacy takes precedence. 

Why should you care? If you plan to work and play in this new world, there are tactical moves to consider as you navigate these transformative trends and techniques – ones that are steering the ad industry toward a future where contextual strategies reign supreme.  

That’s right; we said ‘contextual’ 

Remember contextual advertising? If a consumer is looking at fishing boats online, that consumer is probably going to see an ad for fishing lures. Contextual ads have been around for quite a while. And now … Not since Arnold Schwarzenegger so famously spoke the words “I’m back” have they carried so much weight.  

What’s old is new – with some fresh twists – in the era of heightened online privacy concerns. This new take on an old method leverages contextual data to reach your desired audience precisely, eliminating the need for invasive practices like audience targeting or intrusive tracking methods.  

Bye-bye, cookies and muddy backend processes. Doesn’t real-time data from publishers offering transparency and efficiency sound much better? 

It’s a user-centric approach that avoids tracking users across the internet and engaging with third-party platforms. 

“Being able to serve advertisements without having to drop third-party cookies in your browser, and then take that cookie and push it into a CTV (connected television, or connected TV) audience segment, and then add backend kind-of black box stuff that freaks people out – and it should freak them out,” says Max Gideon, Vice President of Streaming at Siprocal, a platform that is part industry-leading mobile software, part CTV, and part ad server, with a focus on the mobile gaming industry. 

“The targeting that we’re talking about, the contextual piece, is utilizing data – actual data – that’s being passed on by the publisher in real-time.” 

“I’ve been calling it ‘hyper-targeting.’ Nobody else can do this right now.” – Max Gideon, Vice President of Streaming at Siprocal. 

Contextual targeting unleashed 

This renaissance of contextual targeting and its impact on the advertising landscape has surged in popularity, primarily driven by the evolving privacy regulations and the public’s demand for better data protection.  

To recap what is likely familiar to online advertisers: Contextual advertising leverages the content surrounding ads to deliver relevant messages without relying on individual user tracking. Are you researching Colorado hiking trails online? Bam! You’re now seeing an advertisement for Merrell hiking shoes right next to the map you’re reading. Pop singer Meghan Trainor was wrong. It’s not all about the bass. It’s all about the CONTEXT. 

In Siprocal’s case, the company works with TV streamers, like Fubu, who send Siprocal advertising bid requests. When there are upcoming ad breaks, Fubu sends requests with data points, or “content flags,” which provide information about the people currently watching those programs. 

“For example, let’s say the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels game is on TV. We get the title of the program, the genre, language, etc., that audience members are watching,” says Gideon. 

“They’re telling us that right there, at that moment, this person is watching a baseball game in a browser or on their TV, and the language of the content is in English. Now advertisers who want to find sports enthusiasts don’t have to use audience segments to do that. They can target sports content. 

“It’s not remaking the wheel; it’s just addressing the ecosystem differently by doing what I’ve been calling ‘hyper-targeting.’ Who else besides Siprocal is doing this right now? ” 


First to market  

Siprocal has taken the lead in neo-contextual advertising by targeting ads in a way that protects privacy and doesn’t require investing in third-party data. Oh, and the icing on this sweet and savory marketing delight is … it’s free. 

Yes, free. A better way to reach customers, one that keeps privacy front and center, and it’s free. 

“We’re offering these hyper-targeting capabilities at no extra cost to our clients,” says Gideon. “The cost savings of being able to target the Houston Astros game versus having to target baseball enthusiasts is huge. In order to target baseball enthusiasts, you’re going to pay a high CPM to use an audience segment versus just hyper-targeting, which is free because we’ve built the capability in our platform.” 

Siprocal’s proprietary platform has “wildcard targeting,” allowing it, for example, to search for any ad inventory related to the Houston Astros.  

“So, as they go from playing the Angels to playing the New York Yankees, we don’t have to get their entire game schedule. We can simply target ‘Houston Astros,’ and, anytime we see that, I’ll send it through to the ad buyer.” 

Got contextual? 

By respecting user privacy and focusing on the content context, advertisers can deliver more relevant and engaging ad experiences. Those who embrace a contextual targeting strategy in this digital world where user privacy is increasingly paramount will stand as beacons of responsible advertising practices. 

“The old way of tracking people around the internet and then using that to target them, essentially, is coming under more and more pressure from the government, as it should,” says Gideon. “There needs to be more consideration around people and how people are utilized for advertising. 

“Which is why we’re so excited about modern contextual advertising. The difference between contextual and the earlier iterations is we’re in a hybrid zone. You have a lot of companies that still use audience segments, audience targeting. The key difference is we are actually targeting content that users are viewing rather than saying, ‘this person is a sports enthusiast, but they’re watching ‘The Joy of Painting,’ and so serve them that ad there.’ It needs to be more effective. 

“We actually find the content people are viewing, that they are actively seeking out and watching. Therefore, they are in the market for what you’re trying to actually achieve from a marketing perspective to find those users.” 

Bottom line, it’s a more affordable way to access in-market people you want to serve your ads to – without going down the old-school path that costs more and doesn’t consider privacy issues.  

“It’s completely transparent. We’re using what the publishers are telling us and we’re bringing that to advertisers. We don’t use audience segments. We don’t use third-party data partners. We use first-party data from the publisher to target the exact shows that are taking place, or the genres that are taking place, or the language. 

“Needless to say, with what we’ve built, there is a lot of excitement – both from our team at Siprocal and from advertisers who see this as a solution to being privacy-centric, but also a way to be hyper-targeted with your ads as cookies go away. Nothing is more exciting and more effective than first-party data.” 

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