Contextual advertising is one of the most powerful forms of digital marketing. But what exactly is it? And how does it work? This post discusses contextual ads and provides examples to help you understand how this form of marketing can be used in your own business strategy.
What is contextual advertising?
Contextual advertising, also known as behavioral targeting, delivers advertisements that are related to a user's specific context or situation (e.g., location). These ads are usually more relevant and interesting than other types because they show up when someone might actually need them! They're like the best friend who always knows what you want before you do!
Pros and cons of contextual advertising
Contextual ads also have some downfalls. These ads can sometimes be a nuisance, especially when they show up at the most inopportune times! Also, contextual advertising is usually more expensive than other types of advertisements
It's also important to note that Google and Facebook have their own versions of contextual ad serving systems for mobile devices. However, some marketers prefer using independent platforms such as AdRoll because these companies are specialists in generating conversions through targeted online marketing campaigns
Types of Contextual Advertising
There are several different kinds of contextually-targeted ads you may see while browsing on your phone or computer. Here are just a few examples:
Mobile App Install Ads - As soon as someone looks into downloading an app (e.g., travel planner), they may see an ad for a similar app (e.g., trip planner)
Location-Based Ads - As soon as someone is in the vicinity of your business, they may get ads on their phone or computer that relate to local businesses and services!
Social Media Promoted Posts - When you're scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, you'll often come across promoted posts from brands that match your interests and needs! For example: If I'm liking pictures of cats all day, then I might start seeing more cat-related content pop up in my feed. This includes other people's photos with cute kitties followed by advertisements for related products such as toys and food! And if social media isn't enough... don't forget about targeted ads that appear on your search engine results page!
Google Ads - When you're searching for a product or service, Google will show related advertisements at the top and/or sides of their search pages.
Facebook Ads - Facebook uses many different forms of online advertising to target users based upon demographics, interests, behaviors etc. You may notice other types as well such as Promoted Posts in Groups and Marketplace posts.
Let's say I'm shopping for a new car because my old one is falling apart (again). Suddenly while scrolling through Amazon app deals, I see an ad from BMW showing me pictures of some amazing cars with discounts if I buy now before midnight tonight! Now THAT'S contextual marketing done right!! Shout out to BMW for being so on point!!
How to use context in your marketing strategy: The first step is identifying a target audience. This could be people who already know about and like your brand, or it could be new users you want to attract! Next, identify what kind of content they might be looking at when they're going online (e.g., social media sites such as Facebook). Then start creating ads that are related to the type of things you think would interest them! In order for this strategy to work well, make sure the ad matches up with something someone was already actively searching for - don't just randomly throw an advertisement into their face because you can...that's spammy and annoying and does not foster trust between your brand and customers.
Lastly, just because someone searches for something doesn't mean they're necessarily in the market right this second! For example: if you run an ice cream shop, it wouldn't make sense to serve up ads about popsicles on a hot summer day when people are actually looking for new air conditioners...that's just weird!! However, at another time of year - say during wintertime - that would be PERFECT timing to show off some cold treats like snow cones or ice-cream sandwiches (and get more business through increased online visibility). If nothing else works though - don't forget about traditional forms of advertising such as billboards or flyers stuck into random items sitting around town. You never know where someone might see it and what could happen if they do!
Benefits of Contextual Ads
Better results, more conversions - Because you're targeting users who are already actively searching for specific types of content related to your product or service, this can lead to a better return on investment (ROI) as well as higher conversion rates. So don't be afraid to try out different forms of advertising from time-to-time...it's the only way you'll ever know which method works best with your target market!!
More traffic/visibility online - Being able to show up in search engine results pages is always a great thing! It means that people looking for things relevant to your business will find YOU first instead of going somewhere else.
Increased brand awareness - Now that your target audience is seeing more of you online, they'll start to recognize the name and logo. This can help drive people toward making a purchase by reinforcing their decision with familiarity instead of having them look for another company without being able to recall why they didn't choose yours in the first place!
More opportunities for customer engagement - Having an ad on someone's screen isn't just about getting clicks...it also opens up new ways to have conversations regarding your service or product if it sparks interest from other users who see it too!!
Greater chance at getting sales leads - Things like surveys are all well-and-good but there really aren't any guarantees when you're handing out free coupons because not everyone might redeem them. With contextual advertising, you can serve up ads to people who are actively searching for what your business has to offer and it's a one-for-one transaction (you give them something they want in exchange for their contact info).
How Contextual Ads Work: Let's Talk About the Types, Strategy and Benefits The first step is identifying a target audience. This could be people who already know about and like your brand, or it could be new users you want to attract! Next, identify what kind of content they might be looking at when they're going online (e.g., social media sites, search engines, etc.) Then you can decide which ad types will work best for your brand (contextual ads are highly targeted to the interests of people who already like what you're offering). Once that's established then it's time to get creative! Don't be afraid to try out different forms of advertising from time-to-time...it's the only way you'll ever know which method works best with your target market!!