Seedtag & Nielsen Research Finds Contextual Targeting Boosts Consumer Interest in Advertising by 32%

Seedtag the leader in contextual advertising in EMEA and LATAM, and Nielsen, the audience measurement expert, today reveal research that shows that contextual advertising boosts consumer interest by as much as 32%, versus the traditionally used demographic targeting.

For this research, Nielsen developed a methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of contextual targeting amongst consumers in the UK, leveraging a controlled media environment. The research surveyed 1800 UK based consumers across three different interest categories: Automotive, Food & Drink and Beauty. The consumers were divided into four groups based on the different targeting strategies used within the advertising industry - no targeting, interest-based, demographic-based and contextual.

The research showed that contextual targeting can boost interest in specific categories. These contextually engaged consumers were 2.5x more interested in the category when no targeting was employed. In addition, results demonstrated those who viewed contextually-aligned ads were 32% more likely to do something as a result of seeing the ad than those who were exposed based on their demographics. The ultimate goal of advertising is to drive higher interaction, which may include influencing purchase intent, and contextual targeting has proven to be successful at delivering on this, especially for niche or specialised products. This suggests that when ads are placed in a contextual environment, they are far more likely to make the consumer take action.

When contextually-relevant advertising is presented to consumers, those exposed were 85% more open to future advertising than when there was no targeting. This is especially true for niche products in the beauty category, which showed the greatest benefit from contextual ad placement.

Unsurprisingly, the research also showed that the user-friendly nature of contextual advertising influences positive perceptions and receptiveness. We saw ads delivered to contextually meet the consumer in content in which they are already interested in and this by default makes them feel positively about the ad.

Consumers targeted contextually felt 40% more excited about the category than those demographically targeted and 28% more so than those who were targeted based solely on their interest in the category. Additionally, those who were exposed contextually ultimately felt considerably less irritated towards the category; in contrast, those targeted based on demographic or interest parameters  or interest felt  60% more irritated on average.

Stereotyping was another facet that was explored during this research. It was found that contextual targeting enables engagement with audiences that may be otherwise overlooked with the traditional pre-defined audiences approach, which avoids missed opportunities due to stereotyping. This means contextual offers brands the capability of targeting outside the traditional means and often makes consumers want to look for further products. The beauty category for instance would traditionally target females, but results demonstrated that at least 70% of those men that were contextually engaged would consider purchasing sustainable or organic/natural beauty products.

Speaking on the results of the research, Paul Thompson, UK country manager at Seedtag said: “As we move towards a time where consumers are increasingly concerned about their privacy and the quality of ads they are being served, it is becoming more evident that traditional targeting strategies are no longer efficient for generating proper engagement, making contextual targeting more relevant than ever before. 

At Seedtag, it was important for us to carry out this research with a strong research partner such as Nielsen, to help marketers to better visualise the benefits of using contextual advertising, versus other forms of targeting. The study proves that consumers are more receptive to contextual ads and are more likely to follow through with an action when served with ads that are relevant to them at the right time.”

Maira Barcellos, country leader Spain and Portugal at Nielsen said: “We are delighted to have collaborated with Seedtag to carry out such outstanding research on the benefits of contextual targeting. Using our audience measurement expertise, we were able to develop a unique methodology to help marketers in multiple sectors to understand contextual targeting in order to service their clients better. The results are really impressive.”


Seedtag is the leading Contextual Advertising Company that creates highly impactful and engaging solutions for relevant premium visual content, powering targeting and returns for top publishers and the finest brands. The company’s contextual A.I. a...
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