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    WIRED | Gilad Edelman | 8/5/20 | 13 min
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    9.4
    WIRED
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    • chronotope1 month ago

      I'm in this one, talking about how the future of web advertising is going to be contextual and how excited I am to see that future happen!

      • jeff
        Top reader this weekReading streakScribe
        1 month ago

        Awesome stuff, thanks for sharing! The results from NPO sound encouraging and hopefully help to move the industry in that direction. One of your quotes in particular caught my attention:

        When it’s based on users, what those users are reading matters less than this long history of where the users have been. But in a contextually targeted world, there’s a lot of advantages for publishers creating quality content, because that becomes what dictates where ad money is going to go on the web.

        How is quality content defined? If ads are still the monetization model then aren't page views and ad impressions still the most important metrics? I'm on board with the benefits of contextual ads for users, publishers and advertisers but it doesn't sound like it would do anything to improve clickbait. If anything I would guess that we might see more "Top 5 Tips For Clear Skin"-type articles that are basically written to host high-performing contextual ads.

        • chronotope1 month ago

          So generally the ads that most people think of as clickbait (like the example you have) only exist for two reasons: one because the only measure of quality is the user's behavioral cookies and those sites wanted to get those users by hook or by crook and two because more quality sites couldn't select the fraud option but could select to buy traffic via arbitrage and, when that traffic moved through the black box of ad tech, it was clean regardless of where it came from and often whether or not it was fraudulent.

          In a post-behavioral world advertising systems have to focus on context, and we see a growing concern about quality baked into the system like there has not been before (look up brand safety or brand suitability or check out this great interview ).

          In addition, brands will look to select partners by quality, there's a good argument to make about how that will emerge via market forces, but we have systems like that already that we can lean on, including ad systems that represent only large or trustworthy publishers. When these systems exist and that presents a greater value than behavioral (b/c behavioral is gone) the systems and brand suitability requirements will push towards quality.

          There's no reason to put an ad for your good brand anywhere but on sites you trust via participants you trust when you're not hunting for users to buy via the cheapest web page.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        1 month ago

        Interesting stuff!

    • jwigdor1 month ago

      Great article about the history and future of digital advertising. Rather than getting pimped out to microtargeting advertisers, go back to building ads that fit the content and reward the publisher.

    • LGC1 month ago

      Contextual advertising was the mainstay of print and few knew better than print professionals how to place ads in the specific news products that would work for the advertiser. The premise was pretty simple: Know your audience then build strong, well-written, useful and interesting content to surround the ads that would be both serendipitous and useful to that reader. No reason in the world that the same approach would not work in the digital sphere.

    • bartadamley
      ScoutScribe
      1 month ago

      If advertisers start paying to appear in a certain context rather than to target a certain user, it will advantage publishers whose content is actually good—and put out of business the long tail of low-quality or outright fraudulent sites that currently soak up much of the money spent on automated programmatic advertising.

      Great article discussing how having a more direct relationship with advertising on the web, rather than third-party trackers lurking behind your every move. I'm game!

    • jeff
      Top reader this weekReading streakScribe
      1 month ago

      Obsoleting thickets of middlemen is always a good thing!

      Something's not quite adding up for me though.

      Microtargeting is supposed to help advertisers reach the right people, but advertisers converted more new customers using the contextual approach.

      How is this not the only thing that matters to advertisers? I feel like we're not getting the full picture here. If contextual advertising netted similar, or slightly sub-par results compared to microtracking but was GDPR-compliant then I could understand why it might work in the Netherlands but not the US. But if contextual converts higher than microtargeting then why wouldn't US advertisers already be demanding it? This makes it sound like they prioritize supporting an invasive ad model over converting new users which makes no sense to me. I also found it strange that the NYT and Condé Nast experiments cited toward the end were with publisher-provided microtracking instead of contextual advertising.

    • normanbae
      Scout
      1 month ago

      Great piece that got me thinking about digital advertising in a new way. I'm all in for cutting out the middle man and giving publishers a bigger slice of the pie but wouldn't they have to build their own "STER" to reap all of these benefits? I could see the NY Times or Wall Street Journals of the world having no problem doing this but what about the smaller players?

      • chronotope1 month ago

        There are pure contextual modes for Google's Ad Manager, though presumably when a lot of those features are no longer needed we will hopefully see some new competition in this space and some new products to satisfy the need for a fully independent tracking-free ad server.

        • normanbae
          Scout
          1 month ago

          I see, thank you for your response.

    • Florian
      Reading streakScribe
      1 month ago

      This is great! Finally a case study that shows that cutting out the middle men aka Facebook and Google is worth it