The Washington Publish is stepping up contextual concentrating on within the post-cookie period


The Washington Post has developed a first-party, data-driven tool that combines detailed usage data with its contextual ad targeting capabilities to ensure more accurate ads.

The offer is called Washington Post Signal. It is based on Post's contextual targeting platform, Zeus Insights, which the company created in July 2019. Signal's promise is more sophisticated ad targeting for shoppers who don't rely on third-party cookies. The added layer of first-time reader data is also intended to distinguish the ability from the basic parameters of contextual ad targeting.

Advertisers, like the launch partner Bank of America, can access Signal via their own dashboard. The tool monitors hundreds of tips on consumption data, e.g. B. to determine where the reader is from. The program can also select the entry point for the topic or article (often a clear “signal” of intention) that a reader first looked at. Not only does Signal highlight all of the articles a reader has viewed, but it also gathers audience demographics, specific ad engagement, and the most frequently read topics.

All of these data points are ultimately tied to nearly 2,000 contextual taxonomies from Zeus Insights on how content is categorized, e.g. B. Topics such as fashion or innovation.

For example, a brand that operates an ad unit with a post-editorial, such as the one displayed under the PostPulse editor, can quickly swap items based on usage data. Signal's analysis can include whether the reader is more active on Tuesdays or has come from Facebook, whether they are politically active, or interact with video ads rather than slide shows.

The start of Signal represents the Post's wish to be a closer partner for brands. As evidence, the Post notes that Signal Audience Data Profiles can be used outside of the publisher's ecosystem. Still, Signal is a tactic to get more publishers to join Zeus Insights and integrate with the Arc technology platform, which the Post licenses to publishers for a fee. To attract these outside content companies, the Post said Signal can expand the ability of publishers to compete with the size and targeting of platforms like Facebook and Google.

"There are obvious challenges today, but we are thinking about what will happen tomorrow," said Jarrod Dicker, VP of Innovation and Business Strategy. “(Signal) has a universal structure. We are considering how we can activate open web and premium publishers who are pursuing their own strategy. We are considering how we can strengthen our products so that they are available on (publisher's) own and operated platforms. We can influence all of this through products. "

The pendulum swings in context

Contextual targeting has been heralded as a replacement for third-party cookie-based audience targeting that has been driving digital advertising for the past decade. However, basic contextual targeting – soccer advertising on a sports website – will not prevent this from happening. Publishers like The New York Times and Insider are making contextual tools smarter.

A bit of change is at stake. According to a July report by Global Research Analysts, the global contextual display market is expected to hit $ 447.9 billion by 2027. It was the fourth most potent programmatic ad targeting tactic in a June study by content marketing research firm Ascend2. 26% of marketers said they were effective (73% still said targeting was most effective).

The growth in contextual targeting is being driven primarily by marketers' knowledge that cookies are disappearing, said Joe Root, co-founder of technology company Permutive. In addition, publishers such as Hearst and Immediate Media link context and user action or consumption data in order to better understand and access the audience's insights. "It used to be in the hands of the technology providers of the ad ecosystem, now in the hands of the publishers. This is the real change we're seeing," said Root.

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Jeffrey Rabinowitz