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How marketers are seeing value in a proven standard: The Drum and GumGum release a report on contextual advertising

September 12, 2018 | 3 min read

Download the complete study, "Contextual advertising: the new frontier"

The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than it does textual. In an increasingly competitive space, marketers are turning to a proven practice to better grab people’s attention.

In the midst of an ever-shifting media landscape, advertisers are trying to find the best ways to reach the right person with the right ads. Now, with advanced forms of semantics analysis and computer vision, companies are employing a modern approach to contextual advertising.

This is the top finding of a recent report on contextual advertising by The Drum, in association with GumGum, according to which contextual advertising has evolved and now includes more advanced forms of semantics analysis and also computer vision.

GumGum, in association with The Drum, conducted a survey to explore the current state of contextual advertising to understand how it’s seen by advertisers and agencies. The report surveyed 116 senior executives in the U.K. and U.S. with responsibility for digital advertising within their company.

Contextual targeting was the most widely used form in the US, being used by almost half (49%) of the respondents. In fact, executives on both sides of the Atlantic found contextual targeting gave them the ability to increase the relevance of their advertising. Gone are the days of pulling one key word to deliver an irrelevant ad; marketers now scan text and images of entire pages to provide more precise content.

Download the full report

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Computer vision—or a machine’s ability to receive and analyze visual data on its own, and then make decisions about it—is a key innovation as consumer content becomes increasingly visual. The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than it does textual, so the ability to contextualize images can give marketers a leg up in an extremely competitive space.

The research also suggests there’s an upturn in investment in contextual advertising. 59% of our UK respondents told us they’d kept spending on contextual constant last year, while 18% said they’d increased it. But looking forward, 26% said they planned to do more contextually targeted advertising next year. The figures were similar in the US. There 61% had kept spending on contextual constant last year, and 24% had increased it. Next year 31% said they planned to do more. Also, there is a sense that the demand for contextual targeting has jumped post-GDPR, with some respondents saying that the implications of the EU law on data protection and privacy will be felt across the Atlantic.

Those surveyed also acknowledged that they don’t use contextual advertising on its own. However, they did recognize its usefulness in the face of inconsistent global regulations on data collection and brand safety concerns, as companies plan to continue investing in contextual advertising in the future.

The report can be downloaded here.

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GumGum is a contextual-first global advertising technology company that captures people’s attention, without the use of personal data. We believe that a digital advertising ecosystem based on understanding a consumer’s active frame of mind rather than behavior builds a more equitable and safer future for consumers, publishers and advertisers alike. Founded in 2008, GumGum is headquartered in Santa Monica, California and operates in 19 markets worldwide. For more information, visit

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