case study

preparing for a cookieless future with contextual targeting

programmatic case study


Privacy concerns and regulations are leading to the phasing out of traditional cookie-based tracking. As we move toward a cookieless future, advertisers will have limited access to data collected by third-party cookies, affecting their ability to track and target users based on browsing history and behavior across the web.

A leading healthcare system wanted to rethink how it reaches relevant audiences in its programmatic campaigns. With the availability of third-party targeting declining, the team turned to Fathom to help them test alternative targeting methods and enhance performance performance.


To solve this challenge, we collaborated with the healthcare system to initiate contextual targeting tests for its programmatic campaigns. Contextual targeting is a cookieless solution that involves placing ads based on the content of web pages or blog articles and utilizing keywords to match ad placements with relevant topics.

For instance, if the keyword is “sports injuries,” ads will be placed on web pages discussing sports injuries. This approach allows us to reach a qualified audience while they browse or engage with web pages similar to our ads without relying on cookies.


The contextual targeting test yielded promising results. It showed a significant 35% decrease in CPM ($2 lower) compared to the behavioral campaign average. Additionally, impressions increased by 2.5 million.

While the primary campaign goal was awareness and impressions, the engagement rate and clickthrough rate (CTR) remained similar—indicating that we helped the healthcare system continue to effectively reach its relevant audience without using third-party targeting.