On the Viability of Contextual Advertising as a Privacy-Preserving Alternative to Behavioral Advertising on the Web

By Alexander Bleier, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
December 15, 2021   /   1 Minute Read
Contextual Advertising

Originally published in SSRN with research sponsored by Meta Platforms. Special thanks are provided to Keystone Experts Helen Nissenbaum (Professor of Information Science at Cornell Tech) and Raghav Goel (Monetization, Strategy & Operations at LinkedIn), as well as Keystone Strategy’s team members Albert Zhang and Nitya Dixit.

Abstract. Increasing privacy concerns regarding online behavioral advertising have sparked a renewed interest in online contextual advertising. However, while giving up on behavioral advertising may cede economic gains, adopting novel methods of contextual advertising may not cure consumer privacy. In fact, as such methods often extend far beyond the traditional matching of ads to keywords on a web page, they allow ads to become increasingly targeted to consumer information which may also violate consumer privacy and trigger privacy concerns. Firms and regulators should thus be careful not to inflict economic costs while failing to protect consumer privacy.


Alexander Bleier is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. Prior to joining the Frankfurt School in July 2018, he was a faculty member at Boston College. Alexander Bleier received his Ph.D. from the University of Cologne. Before entering academia, he gained practical experience with two top-management consultancies and a major retail and banking system provider in Germany as well as the German-Argentine Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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