How AI & Contextual Advertising Can Help Advertisers in a Cookie-less World

It’s no secret that third-party cookies are going away anymore. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Google has been talking about it since January 2020. If you’ve been in the dark, third-party cookies are cookies or information that have been placed by a website’s partners. This data has been used to build advertising audiences or track user actions across different website platforms in order for billion-dollar global ad-tech businesses to profit off of users’ data.

The third-party cookies may capture details such as websites you frequent, purchase actions, products you look at, content you like to look at and more. The issue that has been raised, and why Google has pledged to move away from allowing third-party cookies is that these cookies can also pass PII (personally identifiable information) such as device id, credit card numbers, passwords and more.

For Advertisers, this is a benefit, one that about 80% of advertisers rely on. User data helps with creating efficient targeting, improving the decision making process and creating better tracking across advertising campaigns. Third-party cookies are the backbone of programmatic advertising currently. But, things are going to have to change! Google is planning to do it, but Apple has already implemented the option for users to opt out of third-party cookies. So, it’s time for advertisers to start investing in ways to advertise without this data.

How will Cookie Deprecation Affect Advertisers?

At first, the most noticeable change for advertisers will be that third-party audiences will shrink. They will become out-dated and smaller over time. There will likely be more 2nd party cookie deals (two entities that make agreements to share cookies) in order to get around the 3rd-party cookie rule. Manual audience lists may be sold on the backend by those who are not as committed to protecting users’ privacy. Many advertisers are feeling scared about this future. Research by Epsilon shows that 70% of marketers feel that digital advertising will take a step backward as a result of these changes, but CatapultX sees it differently.

CatapultX’s Promise to Advertisers

As a company, CatapultX is vested in helping advertisers to move into video by achieving the deepest level of understanding of video through AI. By solely offering cookie-less advertising, the CatapultX On-Stream advertising format is a prime player for the post-cookie world, plus it has a 98% viewability rate over 68.8% average for display ads and over twice the CTR.

How Can AI Really Help?

Well, AI and machine learning will help DSPs and advertisers optimize for the best performance. They’re already doing this today - with AI-algorithm based targeting, bidding and content creation. However, with Contextual targeting and AI-combined, targeting strategies will remain effective, although more intent-based than behavioral. Contextual advertising solutions, like CatapultX, will give advertisers the ability to target users real-time as they are interacting with related content or videos. Attention spans are low anyway; so targeting based on user-actions is inefficient, contextual targeting gives advertisers ways to target audiences in the moment. Everyone lives for content consumption, so this is a valuable strategy moving forward.

AI utilizes and leverages data in order to make better decisions, therefore AI will help advertisers to improve placement, understand user intent and prioritize better performing ads without risking users’ privacy. Here are three ways AI can help advertisers moving away from cookies:

Audience Targeting

Typical targeting within behavioral advertising involves utilizing look-alike, interest-based and third-party lists based on a user’s actions - browsing habits and searches. For example, a TV company could serve ads to an audience that has visited sites regarding tech purchases or is “in-market” for a TV. But, they could be serving those ads to that person for weeks after they’ve purchased a TV, or maybe the user wasn’t even looking to purchase, was just looking for specs or information about one they had already purchased.

But - when using context-based targeting, the same advertiser could place their ads on a webpage comparing TV resolutions, a new TV show, a video about the best smartTV apps, or even during a TV show where the character has a HUGE, new TV. 

AI will learn what content aligns with your products or services and find the best matches for your ads without you having to select demographics or audiences at all. You can utilize natural language processing, keywords and phrases to effectively target the same people, when they are perfectly primed to receive your message.


Placement doesn’t just mean whether an ad gets served in the top-half of a website, in the sidebar, or in the first 30 seconds of a video. Which AI definitely learns and helps to optimize bidding for the best place for your ad, based on previous performance.

More importantly, ad placement also means context. This is important, not only to align a brand with the correct audience through matching it with related content, but also to protect a brand from negative connotations. For example, a recent study showed that 85% of consumers surveyed would reduce or stop using products if they saw an ad for them on articles or videos related to COVID-19 conspiracy theories.

AI can learn and keep your brand out of sticky situations when it comes to placement, making brand safety easier.

Intent & Alignment

Because AI can understand intent through understanding language, advertising-based AI will learn just when a user is perfectly primed for conversion or brand recall. For example, since AI can be trained to see a person crying in a video and understand that the person is sad… and because CatapultX has a tissue-brand advertising on it’s platform, the AI can match the product intent with the content purpose/emotion/feeling. Therefore, video viewers will begin to associate that tissue brand as something they need when they’re sad.

Furthermore, AI will be trained to make selling seamless, by using NLP to understand the who, why, what, where, when and how of users who are more likely to purchase. These tactics are already being used by companies to analyze sales calls to train sales reps on which phrases or positioning statements work best to convert a prospect. AI will do the same for advertising by analyzes millions of interactions to learn the best placement, audience and intent-content 

The Future of AI & cookie-less Advertising

As more advertisers realize that cookie-deprecation is getting closer, AI and contextual targeting will become an important factor of their advertising strategy. Follow along with us, as we champion the future move to AI-based contextual advertising. Learn more about CatapultX’s Advertising platform, available on most DSPs - yours or ours.