Interactive Advertising Bureau
28 July 2021

IAB Europe Releases an Industry Guide to Contextual Advertising

Authored by Industry Leaders from Across Europe

Provides Valuable Insights, Key Considerations and Best Practices for Contextual Advertising

28th July, Brussels, Belgium:  IAB Europe, the leading European-level industry association for the digital advertising and marketing ecosystem, has today released its ‘Guide to Contextual Advertising’ to provide further education on alternatives to third-party cookies and to help planners and buyers of media navigate this solution. 

This guide has been developed by experts from IAB Europe’s Programmatic Trading Committee. It offers a definitive round-up of what contextual advertising is, and the opportunities it provides in Europe, particularly in a post-third party cookie world. It also offers key considerations and best practices. In doing so, it ensures that buyers of media have the necessary tools and knowledge to implement effective contextual advertising campaigns.

Contextual advertising has always been a fundamental part of the marketing mix, but advancements in technology and a shift towards privacy-focused solutions, accelerated by the end of third-party cookies, have brought contextual advertising back into focus. Commenting on the role that contextual advertising plays in the digital ecosystem today, David Goddard, Chair of IAB Europe’s Programmatic Trading Committee & Senior Director, Business Development at DoubleVerify said “With the demise of cookies, marketers are seeking new ways to optimise campaign performance and to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of their ad campaigns, as well as creating more meaningful consumer experiences. In today’s privacy-first ecosystem, contextual advertising is one privacy-safe solution that works. The guide, written by experts from across the advertising ecosystem, highlights the evolution of, and opportunity for, contextual advertising perfectly and provides best practices for applying this strategy as we move into a post third-party cookie world. We encourage all industry stakeholders to read this guide to help maximise the potential that contextual advertising brings.”

It has been a collaborative effort to produce this European-level industry guide for contextual advertising, with contributors including Bloomberg Media, CNN International, Comscore, DoubleVerify, IAS, Magnite, PubMatic, Rakuten Advertising, Triton Digital, and Xandr. 

Commenting on the value of the Guide to Contextual Advertising, Nick Welch, Programmatic Director, Northern Europe, IAS  said "All eyes are on contextual targeting as the industry continues to phase out from third-party cookies. Data and sophisticated technology are coming together to enable marketers to move in the right direction with precision and at scale. As digital media quality continues to evolve and we navigate through the latest industry regulations, IAB Europe's Industry Guide to Contextual Advertising is beneficial to understand the latest developments in contextual targeting opportunities. IAS is excited to have contributed to the guide, which covers important components including a step-by-step guide to planning contextual campaigns and emerging digital channels such as CTV."

"Against the backdrop of a cookieless world, contextual advertising is more important than ever,” Simon Baker, Head of Programmatic EMEA at Bloomberg Media said. “This seismic shift in the industry presents an opportunity for premium publishers to leverage their unrivaled access to audience insights in order to better serve client needs and objectives.”

Rachel Gantz, General Manager, Activation Solutions at Comscore also said “Comscore has long supported clients with GDPR friendly contextually driven targets. We are delighted to have contributed to the latest guide from IAB Europe to share our experience and highlight the vital importance of contextual advertising for the future of our industry.”

This guide is a key output for IAB Europe’s Programmatic Trading Committee this year and follows the updated ‘Guide to Post Third-Party Cookie Era’, which was released in February 2021. The committee aims to increase understanding of the programmatic ecosystem and the impact it’s having on digital advertising and to influence industry initiatives to improve the ecosystem. Digital advertising in a post third-party cookie world is a key area of focus and industry topic for the committee in 2021. 

For third-party cookie solutions such as contextual advertising to flourish, it is vital to work together as an industry to ascertain guidelines and best practices for each solution. Commenting on IAB Europe’s focus to raise awareness on such solutions, Helen Mussard, Chief Marketing Officer, IAB Europe said, “When we set out at the start of 2021, a main focus for the committee was to continue to educate the market and build confidence in digital advertising and marketing solutions that provide alternatives to third-party cookies. Being able to provide a forum for members to collaborate, and share best practices and advice in this area has never been more important for the future of our industry. The Guide to Contextual Advertising shows that by working together we can open up new opportunities and share greater ideas to ensure success.” 

IAB Europe is working with some of its members to provide additional insight into post third-party cookie solutions, including contextual advertising, through a series of webinars, guides, and working groups. These will continue to be expanded upon, alongside new initiatives, for the remainder of 2021 and into 2022.

The Guide to Contextual Advertising can be downloaded from IAB Europe’s website here

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