Targeted advertising is dead: a brief intro to contextual advertising

2 min read

Brianna Susnak

15 Aug 2019

How a pro-privacy, alternative ad network is bringing ethics to the advertising industry

We’ve all been there: one moment, you’re buying a new product on Amazon. Then, as little as minutes or as long as months later, you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and see an ad for the same exact thing. Sure, it’s unsettling to think that the internet has enough data on you to know exactly what you’ve bought and what you might buy next–but that’s really only one aspect of the internet privacy crisis.

It’s even creepier when you think about how your most intimate data is being shared, sold, and processed in a similarly invasive way–like the medical information you put in your weight loss tracker app being sold to your insurance provider, or Google knowing your location down to a specific room in your house.

So how exactly do corporate giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon gather so much personal information on us? Digital advertisements are one of the biggest culprits. They’re loaded with tracking pixels and cookies that follow us around online from site to site and monitor our searches, purchases, and clicks. Some of this behaviour is reported in the privacy policies of these websites, but often times, this data is still used, shared, and sold without our consent. At the least, it’s used in ways that are difficult for the average consumer to understand. After all, who has time to read hundreds of pages of terms and conditions every time they create an account online?

Privacy is a basic human right. However, businesses should also be able to monetise their products–whether it’s a website, an app, or a blog. These two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, there’s strong evidence to support that contextual ads, or ads placed based on the context of the web page, perform just as well as hyper-targeted ones–all without putting your personal data at risk.

Instead, we’ve created an advertising network where advertisers and publishers are matched based on the content they share. Advertisers can select from a long list of categories (think sports, entertainment, food and drink, tourism, etc) and specify what their ad fits into. From the same list of categories, publishers select what kind of content is appropriate and relevant for their site. From there, we can make relevant advertiser-publisher pairings. This business model works similarly to the increasingly successful podcast advertising model, and provides a way for businesses to advertise content where it’s relevant–without relying on a “collect-it-all” business model.

With GDPR in place and increased privacy legislation looming worldwide, there’s no better time than now to make the switch to a pro-privacy advertising network that puts people at the forefront of its technology.

Learn more about ContextCue and get started with ethical advertising at Find us on Twitter @contextcue and Instagram @context_cue.

Jacob Roschen, CEO & Co-Founder

Corey Pitzo, COO & Co-Founder

Brianna Susnak, CMO & Co-Founder

the author

Brianna Susnak

Jacob Roschen, Corey Pitzo, and Brianna Susnak from ContextCue: We’re a pro-privacy advertising network