Vibrant Media Launches Contextual Advertising Solution to Increase Targeting Granularity

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Advertisers are clamoring for more contextual targeting solutions. Publishers are, too. With demand continuing to accelerate — and as data privacy regulations grow stricter throughout many parts of the U.S. — Vibrant Media is launching a new sell-side contextual solution that allows publishers to automate the process of adding and maintaining relevant key-values in the programmatic framework.

The sell-side contextual solution is being placed within Quintesse, Vibrant’s advanced contextual data and targeting platform. It automatically categorizes publishers’ pages each time they’re updated, so publishers can offer advertisers more granularly targeted inventory on a consistent basis.

Vibrant was among the first companies in its class to begin preparing for the cookieless future. The company has been offering contextual targeting using natural language processing and curated machine learning since late last year. Now, with a sell-side solution included in the Quintesse platform, publishers will be able to offer advanced contextual targeting tied to timely content, like an event or specific content related to a product that has either a positive or a negative tone. 

Vibrant’s technology provides semantic, sentiment, and emotional tone recognition. It’s already being used by the publisher ad network to help categorize publishers’ pages in real-time and push’s contextual inventory key-values into the programmatic ecosystem. As the effectiveness of third-party data and cookies has continued to decline, ad networks like have struggled to find cost-effective ways to automatically categorize content for advertisers.

Vibrant Media CEO Doug Stevenson says publishers can expect to increase their revenues when they categorize content with greater granularity than is possible with standard taxonomies, like the IAB’s. But that’s not the only benefit to Vibrant’s new approach. 

With the amount of fraud and unsavory content out there, Stevenson says Vibrant is proactively addressing advertiser concerns by building important filters into its algorithm. 

For the end user — advertisers — the implications could be significant. This is especially the case if the American Data Privacy and Protection Act wins approval from the House and Senate later this year.

“Third-party cookies have crumbled, so the future of audience targeting will not include third-party cookies or [Apple’s IDFA],” Stevenson says. 

With Google announcing that it will not support any user-level identifiers to track people online, Stevenson says proposed identity alternatives — like hashed emails — are also at risk of being non-compliant.

“Brands’ digital advertising strategies will need to include privacy-safe, page and paragraph-level advanced contextual targeting,” he says.

In addition to being privacy compliant, research increasingly shows that contextual advertising is highly effective. Clickthrough rates for contextual campaigns have been shown to be twice as high as third-party cookie-based campaigns. Contextual campaigns also generate higher return-on-ad-spend (ROAS).

One of the biggest challenges, until now, has been scale. 

Stevenson says achieving scale has historically been an obstacle for contextual advertising, but the latest wave of contextual targeting solutions relies on a different approach than what’s been tried in the past. He favors a newer class of technology that analyzes the global bidstream at the page level to determine the availability of brand -uitable inventory, beyond just domain and subdomain-level classifications.

Vibrant is one of a number of companies using NLP and computational linguistics, as well, for highly accurate analysis of content. Stevenson says the company is proactively addressing advertiser concerns by building important filters into its algorithm. It’s also focusing on ad adjacency and high impact creative formats to level up performance.

“Advertisers have always looked to reach their target audiences in the most precise way possible, and that continues to be a priority today,” Stevenson says. “As we continue to refine our capabilities on desktop, tablet, and mobile, Vibrant Media is focusing our R&D efforts on building contextual solutions for CTV and audio based on feedback from the industry.”

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.