How privacy is redefining what works in advertising

Example of TRENDii ads on Homes to Love.

At its core, marketing and in turn advertising, is broadly designed to inspire, entertain, find a solution to a problem, or help overcome a point of friction a consumer may have. In this article, we dive into one such innovation addressing this specific consumer need – contextual advertising.
First, though, it’s worth reflecting on a key part of advertising – targeting – and how it’s evolved: 

Broadcast TV – mass targeting: A platform renowned for its storytelling prowess and reach but with limited targeting capabilities. Although still relevant, its market share is declining, with digital advertising now claiming over 75% of the pie. 

Digital advertising – behavioural targeting: Relying on historical audience behaviour to exert influence. But becoming less and less effective due to increasing privacy requirements like GDPR and cookie restrictions.

Digital advertising – intelligent targeting: New frontier that leverages intelligent targeting to predict what will influence, whilst navigating data and privacy requirements. Few ways how:

Avoiding personal information entirely (e.g. contextual advertising)

Using first-party-data collected directly from consumers (e.g. loyalty programs, platform integrations)

Getting closer to the point of purchase (e.g. retail media) 

The case for contextual advertising
Contextual advertising is targeting based on the content being consumed (instead of audience behaviour). At the most basic level, it’s the sports clothing being advertised in a sports magazine. Or the frypan being advertised on your favourite digital recipe site.
So it’s not new… But over the past couple of years, it’s been supercharged by AI which enables it to be delivered like never before, with far greater accuracy, speed and scale. 
Think of it this way – manual placement is being replaced by AI that can analyse any combination of image, video, audio and text content, understand the context and return relevant ads in milliseconds. And over time, it progressively gets smarter, resulting in better and better ads. Pretty cool. 
Contextual advertising is a winning play because:

It’s privacy friendly: no personal data is required, meaning it is future-proof and something consumers have been asking for; 

It generates new reach: potential for net new audiences (outside of other marketing tactics);

It’s efficient: quickly inspire and collapse the marketing funnel, from awareness to consideration and potential conversion. A marketer’s dream!;

It’s additive to audiences’ experience: ads are more likely to be consumed. A 2021 IAS Study, found 86% of consumers in Australia prefer digital ads to appear alongside relevant content;

It’s naturally brand-safe: solutions can be deployed only on trusted sites/platforms with trusted content; 

It drives commerce: A Harris Poll found 65% of respondents would be more tempted to buy from online ads relevant to the web page they were viewing (compared to 35% with non-contextual content); and

It works: An Analytic Partners ROI Genome study found that “contextual targeting is 1.2x to 2.5x more effective than other types of targeting”. 

The next exciting frontier to watch in 2024 is contextual advertising on Connected TV (CTV), making television shoppable. Imagine this – mass market, premium broadcast environments that have the ability to drive direct conversations. 
The case for contextual advertising is strong and evolving quickly… The good news for brands and content platforms is that there is an easy way to get started… 
Meet TRENDii….
As passionate advertising folks – the team at TRENDii strongly believe in the benefits of contextual advertising because all parties can win. Our vision is to create true serendipity between audiences, content platforms and brands. To achieve this, we’re building what we believe is the best way to advertise contextually, at scale. 
TRENDii matches any image and video content with highly relevant products, creating shopping experiences that win consumer attention—a privilege we treasure. Our beautiful ads elevate how audiences view ads, proven by our click-through rates of up to 2% (depending on content).
Meet a TRENDii partner – Cotton On (retail brand, in partnership with Rakuten)
TRENDii partnered with Cotton On to deliver automated, contextual advertising across over 22 fashion publications, generating tens of thousands of clicks to their site. 
“I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly TRENDii’s AI technology took to begin achieving results. We were able to gain exposure with many premium partners with ease thanks to TRENDii and Rakuten Advertising. Achieving this without disrupting potential customers’ online experience is also a big bonus. I am excited to see what can be achieved with this powerful technology next” – Tamara Cole – Partnerships and Affiliate Marketing Manager @ Cotton On
Meet a TRENDii partner – Are Media (content platform)
TRENDii has partnered with Are Media since 2022. Now with 11 publications live including Elle, New Idea and Homes to Love.
“The digital sites in Are Media’s fashion and homes portfolio, have been established to bring customers style and decor inspiration. With TRENDii, this inspiration is now shoppable. The technology allows instant purchases and seamlessly fits with the content, which complements our strategy well.”  – Lauren Leisk, Head of Affiliate & Content Commerce @ Are Media
TRENDii is 100% privacy-friendly and 100% automated (by proprietary AI models). It’s also easy: 

For brands, it’s as simple as sharing your product feed. 

For publishers, it’s as simple as deploying our SDK on your sites. 

If you’re a content platform, agency or brand keen to explore the benefits of contextual advertising, book a chat here. Be sure to ask about our top-secret innovation in CTV! 
Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at [email protected]
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