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What is contextual marketing and why is it important?



What is contextual marketing and why is it important?
Why do you need it?
What is contextual marketing and why is it important?
Where do the contexts come from?
What is contextual marketing and why is it important?
Where do context and behaviour targeting differ?


Delivering the right message to the right people at the right time is basically called contextual marketing. Providing context gives you a bigger and more conspicuous picture of every detail to give you more clarity on things that would otherwise be unspecific. Also, contextual digital marketing targets people with relevant advertisements based on their previous search history and preference. That is why you may see advertisements popping up on different websites, sometimes through sheer coincidence. Through this, marketers hope to negate the bombardment of irrelevant advertisements on different people which may help to increase conversion rates. The process also helps the marketers create a behavioural profile of the consumer churning out the relevancy from clutter. Hence, context is pivotal to your digital marketing strategy for two main reasons.

Why do you need it?

First of all, your brand needs visibility among your target group to sell its products. So, your customers will appreciate personalized and relevant contextual messages that can help them save their browsing time. It will align with what they are interested in. Along with this, targeting people at their point of need during the buyer’s journey will increase the overall likelihood of conversion. Going Forward, there are three ways you can use context in marketing strategy:

What is contextual marketing and why is it important?
  1. To begin with, implement smart and effective CTA’s into your content. It should be dynamic enough to change and adjust according to the visitor’s profile i.e., their page, industry, business type or their past activity. It makes the user ready for the next steps. For instance, the user will not see any generic blog post content which surely bores them to death, instead, they will see information to sign up for a meeting with a salesperson.
  1. Draft smart texts such as content that feature different form fields in different languages. The point is to refine and optimize default content to align with the need of a particular segment.
  • Finally, you could implement smart forms that are intelligent enough to ask for new information from existing or new leads. This is also called progressive profiling. It decreases consumer fatigue by allowing them to revisit an ad as many times as they want without asking them for the same information. In a nutshell, personalise the user experience based on what they are looking for. It not only makes the users happy but also gives you the conversions. This way you can go and help people find what they are looking for. 

Where do the contexts come from?

What is contextual marketing and why is it important?

In the case of search engines, we can understand the context through the understanding of Google’s AdSense program. The algorithm builds a profile for every user by using the terms they used for any relevant search.   

Similarly, social media sites also tap into the data provided by search engines and user-entered keywords to build an ad profile for the users. Furthermore, retail websites such as Amazon or Flipkart have been showing customers relevant ads based on their previous search intents to help people find the products, they might be interested in. Therefore, the context comes from the users themselves, from the kind of things they search on the internet which not only helps customers but also helps companies identify their target audience. 

Where do context and behaviour targeting differ?

The main difference between behavioural and contextual targeting lies accordingly in the behavioural analysis of the users and assuming where the users will end up eventually. 

For instance, placing an ad for antivirus software on a technology site, or an ad for a b makeup kit on a healthcare blog is contextual targeting. It’s like the digital equivalent of placing a print ad in a niche magazine.

Contextual Targeting

Furthermore, there are two kinds of contextual targeting:

One is called category contextual targeting, where the ads are targeted to pages that fall into pre-assigned categories, and the other is keyword contextual targeting, where ads are targeted to pages matching relevant keywords.

However, there is a third kind beyond these two. A novel technique that involves machine learning to understand the meaning of contents written on each page. It is called semantic targeting. It works by scanning the web with a spider bot to categorise the pages based on context and semantics. If a user visits a page, the content information of the page goes to the ad server. The information then is used to find relevant ads matching the keywords of the content.

Furthermore, the upcoming versions of contextual advertising can use first-party user data to integrate commerce and contextual signals to build product relevance scores for each URL. It can then help marketers identify the pages and products that will have the most impact on a visiting consumer.

What is contextual marketing and why is it important?

Behavioural Targeting

On the other hand, behavioural targeting (aka audience targeting) relies on cookies. It analyses the purchasing pattern and tracks user behaviour. It then uses the information to post personalised ads when someone is likely to make a purchase. Retargeted Ads are one example of behavioural ads.

Furthermore, if you consider mobile and physical store data, you also have to include things like location and in-store purchases. There, visitors with similar behaviours are then defined into specific audience segments, allowing advertisers to target them with specific, relevant ads and content, based on their browsing and purchase history.

With behavioural targeting, user behaviour and shopping intent are combined to deliver highly relevant, highly personalized ads just at the moment when a shopper is most likely to make a purchase. A super relevant example of behavioural targeting is retargeting ads. [When a person visits a website, searches, or starts shopping online, companies track the user data through cookies and induct the user into a personalised audience segment. Then advertisers can buy those segments and retarget the user with an ad that might be relevant to them.]

In short, they’re both worth testing as part of your digital marketing mix. As AI and Big Data continue to advance, the marketing landscape is changing with it. Each is evolving to offer more options to advertisers.


It is imperative in modern days of marketing to adopt the strategy of contextual marketing because it is hassle-free and precise and it brings conversions. However, marketers can take a more holistic approach using both contextual and behavioural targeting to reach users at different points in their journey. On one hand, the behavioural analysis brings a several-fold increase in the quality of customer experience and on the other hand, contextual ads establish meaningful relationships between the consumer and the brand to cultivate trust. It is like what director Fury said at the beginning of Avengers, “These days, trust is in short supply!” 

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