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Cannes Lion Preview: Driving Interest and Engagement In The Attention Economy

By Michael Nutley | Writer for The Drum

June 19, 2022 | 5 min read

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In digital advertising, attention is the new oil. If you don’t have your audience’s attention, then everything else you do might be a waste of time, energy, and resources.

contextual digital advertising

Marketers need to prioritize audience attention if they are to succeed

The problem is that attracting and retaining consumers’ attention online is about to get a lot more difficult. In the words of the great copywriter Howard Gossage; “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes that’s an ad.” But how will we know what’s going to interest someone in the cookie-less future? How can we tell what’s going to be relevant enough to catch their attention if we don’t have their online history to guide us?

These are just some of the issues that will be under discussion at one of The Drum’s Cannes 2022 events – Driving Interest And Engagement In The Attention Economy – in partnership with Seedtag, the leading contextual advertising company creating impactful and engaging solutions for relevant premium visual content.

Back to the future

One of the most powerful alternatives to the third-party cookie for targeting purposes is also one of the oldest. Contextual advertising has been around almost since advertising was invented; at heart it’s as simple as putting a car ad on the motoring page. But technological advances mean contextual advertising 2.0 is a good deal more sophisticated than that. Artificial intelligence can scan the content of a page to determine whether it’s a good fit for a particular ad, not just in terms of subject but also of sentiment.

Dal Gill is VP global partnerships at Seedtag. He acknowledges that, in a privacy-first world, it can be a huge challenge for advertisers to capture and hold their viewer’s attention, and to understand the true value of their impressions. Were their ads seen, for how long, and how viewable were they?

“As the advertising industry moves towards a cookieless future, brands are presented with an opportunity to optimize their advertising strategy and serve ads that capture the viewer’s attention while also building and maintaining their trust,” he says. “Contextual advertising allows advertisers to reach the desired consumer without disrespecting their privacy or betraying their trust. It also adds in a layer of brand suitability and is less prone to making errors than a human equivalent and can match contextual segmentation at scale.”

Beyond targeting

Contextual advertising experts argue that the approach creates further benefits beyond just targeting. Research carried out by Seedtag with Nielsen looked at whether consumers are more receptive to ads embedded in content in which they are already immersed. The study looked at three different approaches to targeting – no targeting, interest-based, demographic-based and contextual – across three industry sectors; automotive, food & drink, and beauty. The results showed that contextual targeting was the most effective method in generating interest across all three categories and was 32% more effective than demographic targeting.

“In most cases, contextual targeting outperformed the other categories throughout the study,” Gill said, “This demonstrated its effectiveness as a way for brands to create positive associations with high-quality content, while building valuable trust with their consumers. Adopting a contextual advertising strategy is one tactic to overcome the challenge of standing out and being remembered.”

Driving interest and engagement in the attention economy

The Drum/Seedtag session at Cannes aims to bring all these issues to life for all marketers or advertisers with an interest in the future of targeting and will be of particular interest to decision makers from agencies, creative agencies, brands and publishers.

It will bring together Danielle Darko, global programmatic director, Mediacom; Andrés Ordóñez, chief creative officer, FCB Chicago; and Michelle Sarpong, head of display and audio activation, The7Stars. Along with Seedtag’s Gill as moderator.

Gill hopes the session audience will come away with a deeper understanding of the role of contextual targeting in grabbing consumers’ attention online, and how it can help build a valuable relationship between advertiser and audience.

“Combining context, creative, and attention-grabbing placements is a winning formula,” he says.

For full details of The Drum/Seedtag session Driving Interest and Engagement In The Attention Economy, click here.

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About us: 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. allows brands to engage with consumers within their universe of interest on a cookie-free basis.

Seedtag was founded in Madrid in 2014 by two ex-Googlers who wanted to get the most out of editorial images and to this day it is a global company that has more than 180 employees and an important international presence with offices in Spain, France, Italy, UK, Benelux, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and United Arab Emirates.

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