Contextual, more relevant now than ever

May - 2021



Apple’s recent game-changing announcement, that they will give users the ability to opt-in or opt-out of third party cookies from tracking your browsing history, is set to have a detrimental impact on brands’ ability to track people’s online activity and tailor advertising. It will make it much harder for brands to identify and reach their target audience, and potential new audiences (through retargeting), in the online space.    

With these changes coming into play, the next best solution is contextual advertising. Integral Ad Science Country Manager Jessica Miles states: “contextual is back in vogue; it’s having a bit of a renaissance. It doesn’t collect a user’s past data in any way, shape or form, making it future-proof in terms of data and privacy.”

For brands considering running contextually relevant messaging online, digital Out-of-Home is a powerful channel to amplify activity and drive broadcast reach in the ‘real’ world. As a one-to-many medium, Out-of-Home has always recognised the importance of contextual advertising, allowing brands to increase audience engagement via relevant ad placement or topical creative messaging. In a JCDecaux IRIS study conducted in November 2020, 56% of Kiwi respondents agreed that ‘more brands should run in the moment messaging’.

Contextual advertising is also proven to increase campaign effectiveness. In a study conducted in the UK by Clear Channel, Posterscope UK and JCDecaux, contextual advertising was found to deliver a +18% increase in brain response when shown relevant content (versus standard creative), a +17% response in spontaneous ad recall and a +16% average sales uplift; ultimately leading to a +17% uplift in Out-of-Home effectiveness.

Contextual campaigns have surged in popularity over the last 12 months and at JCDecaux we are proud to have partnered with a number of brands to bring innovative, engaging and highly relevant contextual campaigns to life, some of which include:


Emirates Team New Zealand: Ran a selection of dynamic creatives throughout the 36th America’s Cup, including a countdown to the event and live race updates, keeping audiences up to date with the latest event information.

Corona: Throughout summer, Corona reminded audiences of where they would rather be, displaying live surf conditions, including temperature, swell and wind direction from popular beach locations across New Zealand. To further increase relevance, beach locations were tailored to specific panels. In Auckland, data from Piha and Muriwai was shown, in Tauranga data from Whangamata was displayed and in Dunedin data from St Kilda ran. 

Watercare: During Auckland’s water crisis last year, Watercare ran a contextually relevant dynamic campaign to encourage New Zealanders to save water. They cleverly displayed a water usage meter on several high-impact digital sites in Auckland, giving audiences a 7-day rolling average (of water use), updated daily to reflect current water consumption levels.


Contextual campaign messaging, whether it’s related to location, weather, current affairs, topical events, or even day of week is more relevant to audiences and therefore more engaging.