SAP advances into a cookie-free future with AI-based contextual targeting


reach versus targeting; Which one will give you better results? This is one of the oldest problems in advertising, and for many companies it becomes even more pressing.

Targeting online advertising will become even more difficult when third-party cookies are retired in early 2023. For mass-market businesses that focus on reach, this doesn’t have to be a big deal. But for those who sell to a professional audience, the situation can be very different. SAP, a German multinational enterprise software company, is one such company.

As Moritz Fisecker, EMEA, Integrated Media Specialist at SAP, explains, “Facing with the threat of a cookie-free future, the challenge of targeting a very small but highly specialized audience will become even more difficult.” “You have to find a solution ahead of time.”

That’s not all SAP is at risk. The company sees an opportunity to build a competitive edge in its sector by preparing for the end of third-party cookies long before they actually happen. They were also looking for a way to ensure that digital advertising was completely brand-safe and brand-safe.

Finally, this move is important to the way SAP’s brand is perceived. As Timo Steyer, Deputy Director of Digital Strategy at OMD Germany points out, tech companies have few first-placers in advertising.

“SAP is a business software company, not Coca-Cola, so we wanted to bring this pioneering approach together to show that we are far ahead of ourselves,” he says. “Everything innovative is worth a try. We want to be ahead of all the other giants in our field and we want to overcome all the hurdles with third-party cookies before next year.”

Contextual targeting – not personal.

There are three main types of solutions for replacing third-party cookies: First-party data and anonymous identifiers based on that data. interest-based groups, such as topics recently published by Google; Contextual targeting. Of the three, the latter poses the least risk to the consumer’s privacy as it does not use personal data.

Contextual advertising is the oldest form of targeting known to the media. The key is to simply place the ad next to the relevant editorial content. If you’re an automaker, you advertise on auto-related pages. The biggest difference with the modern version is that the matching between advertisements and content is sophisticated. Until recently, online contextual targeting relied on keyword matching.

It now uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the meaning and sentiment of web page content, and then uses that analysis to select advertisements to deliver. In the most innovative solutions, that analysis includes text as well as video and audio.

The result is that your ads aren’t shown next to the wrong content, but are also shown next to the right content, making them more relevant and more relevant to your brand.

“Brand fit is about improving the quality of the advertising experience,” Steyer says. “GumGum provides this through video analytics and AI analysis of the semantics of the page, reducing ad confusion and increasing relevance.”

new kid on the block

SAP had already worked with contextual intelligence company GumGum, and Fisecker and Steyer were also aware of JustPremium, a programmatic rich media platform that GumGum acquired in August 2021. Simon Tritsch, DACH Commercial Director at JustPremium, suggested that SAP should try contextual targeting. .

This approach coincided with SAP rethinking its approach to media. As Fisecker explains:

The JustPremium offer came out in March. Thanks to SAP’s new approach, the project was approved in a matter of weeks.

“SAP is a large vessel, so this kind of quick turnaround would have been impossible last year,” Steyer says.

Best of both worlds – scale and precision

The product chosen for the trial was an SAP solution designed specifically for SMEs. In the purchasing process of these systems, the key decision maker is the CIO. In other words, the target audience for advertising is small.

“You also have to do a much longer customer journey than FMCG buyers,” explains Fisecker. “So we need to accompany ads across multiple channels over a longer period of time. That’s why it’s so important for us to define new ways to find them.”

“GumGum’s new AI targeting means we can combine the best of both worlds. The sharp targeting we need allows us to reach the largest audiences,” says Steyer. “Is this hybrid approach going to give me the awareness I need for both SAP and the product?”

To verify this, we measure trials before and after campaigns using existing brand metrics.

“We will also measure our pipeline and sales impact,” Steyer says. “We want to know if awareness campaigns can drive sales. It’s about relevance because more relevant ads will drive sales.”

Better brand fit will also increase relevance, Steyer explains. “If we increase our interaction with the content, we will know we are doing it right.”

Ultimately, Fisecker says the project has two benefits.

“The earlier you start, the more experience you get. We want to create a benchmark for future testing,” he says. “But if this experiment works, the new agile media approach can also bring in additional resources.”

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