Contextual Marketing: Where Messages Make An Impact

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By: Dr. David Bridwell, People Scientist 

Google and Apple are phasing out user tracking through third-party cookies, and many marketers are thinking about alternatives. One interesting alternative, that we haven’t discussed yet, is contextual marketing. Contextual marketing refers to the context surrounding where your ad appears and how that relates to the psychology of the audience. 

One example of contextual marketing here at Intermark Group comes from our work with Alabama Tourism. In a recent campaign, we wanted to help tourists see the great food that they can find when they visit Alabama. To increase engagement, we also wanted to make sure this message reached them when food was on their mind. In order to do this, we placed the advertisements on the Food Network TV station. 

Placing our savory messaging on air when people were thinking about food helped ensure that the messaging reached them when they were most likely to be receptive to it. Because we all know that when food’s on our minds, we’re much more likely to respond to food-related cues that we stumble upon. (If you’ve ever gone to the grocery store hungry, you’ll understand).

Contextual marketing can be a really powerful approach to marketing when you want to bring your campaign idea to life. A great example of this comes from the Dare Iced Coffee “head all over the place” advertising campaign. The main idea behind the campaign was that their coffee helps you focus when your head is all over the place, so they wanted to pair their product with instances where people had a difficult time focusing. 

Dare Iced Coffee creatively played this idea out through Google search ads. They set up search ads for whenever people misspelled certain search terms into the search bar, reminding them that they can get their head back on straight by drinking their iced coffee. It’s a great example of a campaign message and an execution coming together to help customers think about the product when they might need it the most. 

Research shows that placing your ad in the right context can result in an increase in engagement by a multiple of four to ten. So, marketers should be on the lookout for instances where the consumer is ready to think about their product category or campaign idea and make sure those ads show up in those places. This really brings the point home and helps embed the brand or product in people’s memories. 

In some cases, contextual marketing can overlap with targeting based on demographics and interests to make sure that your marketing message appears to the right people at the right time. But if these targeting methods become more difficult as a result of changes in user tracking across platforms, contextual marketing can step in to overcome many of the gaps. After all, targeting customers based on interests is great, but if you can reach them when they’re in the right frame of mind, then your audience will be even more receptive. 

Give us a call at 833-578-1314 or email us at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to discuss your challenges surrounding reaching the right customers, with the right message, at the right time.