Ho, ho, hold on media buyers! Your holiday plans may be off to a rolling start, but there’s always time for optimization. This year, consumers are regaining a sense of normalcy as holiday spending is expected to reach $1.1 trillion and travel is expected to increase by 80% compared with last year.

 

But 2021 is also throwing up some curveballs for contextual targeting, most prominently the Omicron variant and supply chain problems. When optimizing your contextual advertising this month, keep these three tips in mind.

 

COVID news isn’t necessarily unsafe

 

The emergence of the Omicron variant again means that pandemic news is still among the most trafficked contexts. And while some brand advertisers want to steer clear of negative news at all costs, GumGum’s contextual insights last year uncovered that 67% of COVID-19 news stories were actually brand safe. While standards fluctuate by brand, using GumGum’s contextual intelligence technology, Verity, to analyze on-page copy, images and video can help you find high-traffic contexts that fit your messaging. 

 

Consider counterprogramming

 

Supply-chain shortages have advertisers pulling back or remixing their ad buys to generate just the right amount of demand. Brands that can compete against categories affected by shortages might consider targeting that news. Used car retailers might seek out stories about how chip shortages are impacting new car rollouts. Live entertainment advertisers might target stories about the elusive PS5. Electric bicycle manufacturers might position themselves against stories lamenting the high cost of gasoline. For every product that’s out of stock, there’s a creative alternative.

 

Catch consumers in a spending mood

 

If your brand is lucky enough to have items in stock, engage some shopper marketing to catch consumers when they’re receptive. In our latest study with MAGNA, we found that when there is alignment between an ad and the content it appears in, search intent rises by 7 percent. The study also found that contextually-targeted video content is 47 percent more effective at reaching people when they’re receptive, with 60 percent of respondents feeling the ad was something they were open to and 52 percent saying they were in the mood to view an ad. 

 

That being said, shoppable ads in any format need to reflect current inventory. No one wants to click-to-buy only to find out their desired pair of leopard-print trousers are unavailable. Have ample creative options on hand and stay informed when supplies run low.