What Is Contextual Marketing?

The world of marketing is a constantly changing landscape, with a new approach for promoting a company’s products appearing every few years. And with the internet playing a more and more important role in a consumer’s life, it’s no wonder that contextual marketing has taken the front stage in the advertising industry.

In its essence, the goal of contextual marketing is to help a business advertise its goods or services exclusively to customers that are actually interested in them. This is achieved via the implementation of search engine based algorithms and software programs aimed at establishing a mutually beneficial relationship between an enterprise and a client. However, before we discuss the additional benefits of this strategy and the examples of its usage, let’s come up with a definition of this term first.

Contextual Marketing Definition

There are dozens of contextual marketing definitions that can be found in various business dictionaries, but in its basic form, this term stands for an Internet and mobile marketing approach that gives an enterprise the opportunity to create and run targeted promotional campaigns by using user-related information received from their online search history and Internet-browsing activities. In this scenario, “the context” is the advertisements that are shown to a consumer based on what he or she has previously viewed or searched for.

Due to the ever-increasing variety of what the Internet has to offer, there are a lot of opportunities for contextual marketing that a business can take advantage of. Thus, the venues, where such advertisements can be shown, include:

  • search engine websites;
  • social media networks;
  • websites dedicated to providing news and information;
  • mobile applications.

The specific place where a company should focus its marketing efforts on is determined by its target audience and the items it produces.

Benefits of Contextual Marketing

This approach offers the same advantages to all enterprises regardless of which venue they decide to use. Among the most prominent benefits of this strategy, industry experts name:

  • Behavior-based advertisement targeting

This method grants enterprises the opportunity to tailor their marketing efforts and select which demographics their promotional materials will be shown to, as they can increase brand visibility and engage new consumers exclusively within a pre-selected audience.

  • Improved consumer experience

Since users are only offered those products they’ve already shown interest in during their web-browsing activities, the chances of them being uninterested in a contextual ad are far less than if it was a random advertisement unrelated to their current needs.

  • Cost efficiency

Unlike TV or mass-targeted commercials, contextual marketing enables enterprises to save costs, as such campaigns don’t require substantial funds to be launched and supported. Most tools of contextual marketing allow a business to choose its own specific program according to its budget, which later can be adjusted based on the campaign’s performance.

  • Non-distracting nature

In contrast to random pop-up ads, contextual promotions don’t interrupt or annoy people that see them. Such advertisements are usually displayed when a user is searching for something related to the product and is far more likely to treat the ad as a solution to his or her problem.

  • Increased revenue

The sum of all the previous factors logically leads to an increased chance of a contextual advertisement resulting in a sale. Evidence supports this statement, as contextual marketing has proven to present one of the highest viewer-to-sale conversion rates.

The Rise of Contextual Marketing

This marketing approach has risen to prominence because it represents the perfect response to the ever-decreasing attention span and patience demonstrated by modern consumers that now have higher quality standards than ever before. Tired of being exposed to mass-aimed advertisements, consumers positively reacted to the appearance of contextual promotional materials, and that led to the popularity this approach has today.

According to marketing experts, this strategy will continue to be on the rise as long as the ads will remain relevant to the consumer’s desires and won’t be invasive or disruptive in their nature.

Examples of Great Contextual Marketing Campaigns

Now that we’ve established what contextual marketing is, what benefits it brings, and how it gained popularity, let’s briefly examine two examples of successfully implemented campaigns.

M&M’s had performed such a campaign when the company realized that a substantial portion of its target audience has stopped purchasing its sweets. The enterprise’s marketing department decided to let the customers choose a new flavor for their candy by using social media polls on Twitter and Facebook. The response to this initiative was amazing, and M&M’s has experienced a massive boost in sales.

Johnson & Johnson demonstrated another brilliant example of how to use contextual marketing. The company understood its inability to reach a broad audience by using only its website, and so it branched out to social media networks. To gain trust from their teenage female consumers and widen their brand exposure, the enterprise offered them free deals and discounts, as well as bonuses for clients that acted as referrals. This campaign went viral, and the company enjoyed huge financial success.

In conclusion, this marketing strategy represents a cost-saving approach for advertising an enterprise’s products to its target base and consequently increasing its sales and revenue. To create a successful contextual marketing campaign a company has to tailor its advertisements carefully, choose the right population segment, and provide a high-quality product or service at a competitive price.