New Digital Age: Back to the future: why contextual advertising on its own isn’t enough

The world has changed. There’s no denying that. The rate of change accelerated dramatically this year, and the way our industry works, how we interact with data and measure results is also transforming rapidly. Evolving privacy legislation and technical choices being made by key platform players such as Google and Apple are impacting the quantity of data available.

For premium data partners, however, the scarcity of high-quality data will make what they have to offer all the more valuable. With data becoming more rare and precious, the way the industry works will need to change in line with the broader world, all whilst trying to keep programmatic advertising innovative, exciting and privacy friendly.

But the industry seems to be either in denial or reverting back to the way things used to be done. We’re seeing vendors look to leverage email addresses instead of IDFAs (random device identifiers assigned by Apple to a consumer’s device). We’re also seeing a rise in basic contextual advertising. Ten years ago, it would have been commonplace for companies to scrape URLs to understand what pages were about and then apply contextually relevant ads to them.

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