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Contextual Marketing and How It Can Grow Your Business

Contextual marketing addresses the number #1 challenge for both publishers and brands today; capturing the attention of users without disrupting their online experience.

While many consumers ignore ads, there’s actually an effective method you can apply that will help you capture their attention…and keep it.
It’s called contextual advertising.

What Is Contextual Marketing?

Contextual marketing is an online and mobile marketing method that provides targeted advertising based upon user information, such as search terms consumers use while surfing the internet. The goal is to present ads to customers representing products and services they have already demonstrated an interest in.

For example, a customer performs an internet search for cars that are known to be fuel efficient. Afterwards, they go and browse their daily news website, and like magic… the ads which show up alongside the news they are reading is all about hybrid cars. The customer, already thinking about saving fuel, clicks on the ad to check out the latest hybrids.
Clever… You bet! Brilliant… Absolutely!

Who Are the Advocates and Providers of Contextual Marketing Services?

The undisputed leader in contextual advertising is by far Google’s AdSense program, which uses the terms entered into each Google search you do (as well as everyone else) to select an appropriate advertisement for that.

You can see this in action for yourself: run a few different searches on Google, on different topics, and see what kinds of ads pop up.
You are sure to have an ah ha moment after you do.

You’ll discover all kinds of different companies who use this type of advertising. Why?

For the simple reason it works, and every business wants a higher return on their investment in advertising and contextual advertising achieves that for them.

In addition to search engines like Google, many other types of websites use contextual ads.

News websites, such as CNN or The Wall Street Journal, also run contextual advertising to match ads to the articles being viewed.
Social-media websites and blogs can use keywords in members’ posts and comments to trigger contextual ads. Any website with a variety of content can use contextual advertising, and match the content viewed with the ads displayed.

Meanwhile, websites with a smaller variety of content can still take advantage of contextual marketing by using tracking cookies in order to show advertisements based not on the current website content, but upon all the websites the user has recently visited.

Internet contextual advertising has been developing over the past decade, and continues to become more specific as the internet becomes more sophisticated, user-friendly and integrated.

Mobile Devices

Meanwhile, a new type of contextual marketing is being developed around mobile devices, as more and more people carry their devices with them everywhere they go.

For instance, devices like your cell phone or tablet can use your geographical location to provide the context for ads, showing only local businesses and promotions.

Your mobile device can also apply information about your use to provide contextual ads. For example, by delivering a special offer on an unlimited data plan to a customer who’s nearly used up his or her monthly allowance.

Meanwhile a near-future development in contextual marketing involves billboard advertising.

Some companies are planning to embed cameras in certain well-populated billboard locations (such as bus terminals or malls) that will track how many people are in front of the advertisement, and how long they’re looking at it, triggering different ads.

Additionally, software that recognizes the gender of the viewer can be used, so men and women are presented with different targeted ads.

What Kind of Customer Does Contextual Marketing Work Best On?

Contextual marketing becomes more effective the more customers spend time online, or are otherwise connected to the internet via their mobile devices. It is through the interaction with internet networks that consumers provide the necessary information that makes contextual marketing work so well.

Take this for example:
When you use a search engine to get information about a particular person, place, or product, you probably are not thinking about the fact that you are also providing information that feeds and contributes to the contextual marketing system.

As long as the contextual advertising is doing its job without being invasive or overtly obvious, you simply go on with your online activities, not giving it a second thought.

The more comfortable you are with online shopping and media, the more responsive you are to contextual advertising.

How Is a Contextual Marketing Campaign Developed?

Online advertising typically involves three components:
• Creation of the ad
• Planning where the ad is to be run
• Arranging how the ad is paid for

Since contextual marketing is 100% automated, it completely replaces a past requirement where an advertiser would decide which websites should host their ads.

Today, computer software enables the ad to be placed across thousands of websites, and is set in motion by a users’ keyword searches and other online activity.

This makes the choice and development of contextual advertising software particularly important, as no computer program is as capable as a real person at identifying appropriate context.

A developed contextual marketing campaign will utilize more than just search terms and browsing behavior. Location, purpose, and mobility will also be taken into consideration.

Someone at home will find different advertisements relevant than the same person at work.

A person checking on Facebook is probably in a social mindset, and will see ads regarding social events and food more relevant than they would have an hour earlier, when they were checking the stock market or reading news.

Contextual marketing is (and will be for a very long time) an effective way to connect with consumers as well as convert and sell your products and services over the internet.

What if you could generate an increase in email subscribers and client inquiries from some simple changes to your website? You could make more money from the website visitors you already have. This is the basis for conversion rate optimization– the idea that small changes can stack together and create better results from your existing online presence.