Contextual targeting based on the contextual environment of the media consumers are present on is projected to be the dominant form of consumer ad targeting within a year, overtaking behavioral targeting based on tracking people's identities and behaviors via their use of digital media and devices.
That's the finding of a study of advertising executives conducted by Advertiser Perceptions for MediaPost in early September.
The study was fielded following a number of shifts -- Google's deprecation of browser cookies, Apple's adoption of more stringent opt-in for tracking iOS users, etc. -- as well as a focus on consumer privacy, personal data sovereignty, regulation and industry ethics concerning the use and exploitation of consumer data.
While behavioral targeting currently dominates as the primary method among advertising executives -- 45% vs. 38% for contextual targeting and 17% for "other" forms of targeting -- they anticipate contextual will be the dominant method one year from now.
There was essentially little difference between the percentages of advertisers and ad agency executive responses to the survey, so they appear to be in lockstep on the shifts.