Contextual Marketing -How An Advertise Is Next To Your Digital Steps?

Have you heard about contextual marketing? Even if you haven’t heard about it, I am more than sure that you came up with such ads. Contextual marketing is all about delivering the right content at the right moment. Contextual marketing refers to providing targeted ads based on the user information, based on the things they searched and recent web history. The purpose is to offer products and services to those customers, who are already interested in them. For example, if you are searching for a smartphone on the Internet, you will see that after your search, there are many ads about smartphones. And as you are interested in buying a smartphone for you, you click the ad in order to see the offer.

I will show you later about Contextual advertising. 

Calling customers by their names and knowing a lot about them — their ages, genders, birthdates, interests, purchase histories — enables marketers to deliver more relevant, meaningful content that helps win new conversions and engender their long-time loyalty.

Contextual marketing refers to online and mobile marketing that provides targeted advertising based upon user information, such as the search terms they’re using or recent web-browsing activity.The goal is to present ads to customers representing products and services they are already interested in. For example, a customer performs an Internet search for commuter cars and fuel efficiency. Afterwards, they check their daily news website—and the ads which show up alongside the news are for hybrid cars. The customer, already thinking about saving fuel on their commute, clicks on the ad to check out the latest hybrids.

Who Employes Contex Marketing 

The textbook example of contextual advertising is Google’s AdSense program, which uses the terms entered into each Google search to select an appropriate advertisement for that user (See also Pay-per-Click Marketing). Run a few different searches on Google, on different topics, and see what kinds of ads pop up. You’ll find that all kinds of different companies use this type of advertising, from realtors to insurance agencies to technology companies to restaurants and hotels and more. Every business wants a higher return-on-investment in advertising, and contextual advertising gives them that opportunity.


By showing visitors ads they’re actually interested in, advertisers and websites:

  • Increase the number of clicks per ad
  • Increase conversions of sales leads to actual sales
  • Decrease customer annoyance at ads
  • Eliminate unprofitable ads (showing low or negative return on investment)

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, can 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 accessible and integrated. Meanwhile, a new type of contextual marketing is being developed around mobile devices, as more and more people carry such technology with them everywhere they go. Such devices can use your geographic location to provide the context for ads, showing only local businesses and promotions. Mobile devices can also apply information about their 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 does involve billboard advertising. Some companies are making plans 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.

Types of Customers in Contextual Marketing 

Contextual marketing becomes more effective the more customers spend time online, or otherwise connected to the Internet through mobile devices. It is through interacting with networks that customers provide the information that makes contextual marketing work. Of course, providing this information is not always (or even often) a conscious decision; when people use a search engine to get information about a particular person, place, or product, they’re probably not thinking about the fact that they’re also providing information for contextual marketing. As long as the contextual advertising is doing its job without being invasive, they simply go on with their online activities—and perhaps click on a few more ads, since they find them more interesting. The more comfortable a customer is with online shopping and media, the more responsive they are to contextual advertising.

However, the fact that contextual marketing collects and stores information about users does bother some users, who feel their privacy is being compromised. Apple found themselves embroiled in controversy when people found out that the company’s iPhone and iPad kept a record of the geographic places they’d been, and that the information could be retrieved to map their [approximate] movements. Apple was not actively tracking people’s movements; the devices simply added data to Apple’s Wi-Fi hotspot and cell-tower database, for improving wireless service—and triggered contextual ads through the iAds system. Nevertheless, many users became concerned about their privacy.

An important lesson learned from this is that Internet marketing needs to be transparent, so that customers can know exactly what is going on and how it involves them. When customers have the knowledge and power to choose participation, they no longer feel like their privacy is being violated.

Online advertising typically involves three components: creation of the ad, planning where the ad is to be run, and arranging how the ad is paid for. Contextual marketing replaces the middle step; instead of advertisers deciding which websites should host their ads, the computer software enables the ad to be placed across thousands of websites, and triggered by users’ keyword searches and other online activity.


  • Search engines
  • Social media
  • News websites
  • Mobile devices—which in addition to providing ads can generate contextual electronic coupons
  • Spontaneous networks, such as those created by certain photo- and music-sharing applications
  • Video games? So far, attempts at contextual advertising here have backfired.
  • Billboards? Maybe in the not-so-distant future, John Anderton.

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. As a result, sometimes embarrassing errors can result. For example, a news article on celebrity “croc-hunter” Steve Irwin’s death triggered an ad on life insurance—which tended to be perceived as bad taste on the part of the advertiser, hurting their reputation. In another particularly unfortunate case, a news article about severed feet washing up in a Canadian province triggered an ad for a moving agency called “Put Your Feet Up.”

Writing a computer program to recognize language context, as opposed to simply keywords, is quite difficult. The word “bank,” for example, can refer to a financial institution, the side of a river, the act of counting on a particular event, or even a bank shot off a wall. But an ad about financial banking is probably not interesting to someone searching for a good fishing spot on the banks of the Ohio River.

Contextual advertising software can also be written to exclude certain words or websites. For example, since advertisers typically don’t want to be associated with negative events, they may wish to avoid appearing in the crime sections of news websites.

Meanwhile, developed contextual marketing campaigns will use more than just search terms and browsing behavior. They should be considering not only the context of words, but also location, purpose, and mobility. Someone at home will find different advertisements relevant than the same person at work. Someone checking Facebook is probably in a social mindset, and would find ads regarding social events and food more relevant than they would have an hour earlier, when they were checking their stocks. The effective campaign needs to be able to adjust to these moment-by-moment variations in context—particularly as Internet access is becoming more common through mobile devices.

Contextual advertising

Contextual advertising is a form of targeted advertising for advertisements appearing onwebsites or other media, such as content displayed in mobile browsers. The advertisements themselves are selected and served by automated systems based on the identity of the user and the content displayed.

How contextual advertising works

A contextual advertising system scans the text of a website for keywords and returns advertisements to the webpage based on those keywords. The advertisements may be displayed on the webpage or as pop-up ads. For example, if the user is viewing a website pertaining to sports and that website uses contextual advertising, the user may see advertisements for sports-related companies, such as memorabilia dealers or ticket sellers. Contextual advertising is also used by search enginesto display advertisements on their search results pages based on the keywords in the user’s query.

Contextual advertising is a form of targeted advertising in which the content of an ad is in direct correlation to the content of the web page the user is viewing. For example, if you are visiting a website concerning travelling in Europe and see that an ad pops up offering a special price on a flight to Italy, that’s contextual advertising. Contextual advertising is also called “In-Text” advertising or “In-Context” technology.

Apart from that when a visitor doesn’t click on the ad in a go through time (a minimum time a user must click on the ad) the ad is automatically changed to next relevant ad showing the option below of going back to the previous ad.

Service providers

Google AdSense was the first major contextual advertising network.It works by providing webmasters withJavaScript code that, when inserted into webpages, displays relevant advertisements from the Google inventory of advertisers. The relevance is calculated by a separate Google bot, Mediabot, that indexes the content of a webpage. Recent technology/service providers have emerged with more sophisticated systems that use language-independent proximity pattern matching algorithm to increase matching accuracy. is the other major contextual ad network competing with Google Adsense. 


Contextual advertising has made a major impact on earnings of many websites. Because the advertisements are more targeted, they are more likely to be clicked, thus generating revenue for the owner of the website (and the server of the advertisement). A large part of Google’s earnings is from its share of the contextual advertisements served on the millions of webpages running the AdSense program.

Contextual advertising has attracted some controversy through the use of techniques such as third-party hyperlinking, where a third-party installs software onto a user’s computer that interacts with the web browser.Keywords on a webpage are displayed as hyperlinks that lead to advertisers.

Agency roles

There are several advertising agencies that help brands understand how contextual advertising options affect their advertising plans. There are three main components to online advertising:

  1. creation — what the advertisement looks like
  2. media planning — where the advertisements are to be run
  3. media buying — how the advertisements are paid for

Contextual advertising replaces the media planning component. Instead of humans choosing placement options, that function is replaced with computers facilitating the placement across thousands of websites.

Why It Is Next To Digital Marketing?

Beyond one-to-one marketing

But personalization is no longer the be-all and end-all, as it’s now being overtaken by technologies that allow for the establishment of even more profound relevance and connection — both in marketing and in the overall customer experience.

These technologies provide marketers with insight into context — a largely untapped element that can provide such an in-depth understanding of customers that marketers may then begin to anticipate people’s needs, wants, affinities and expectations. These insights — which may take into account the device in use, the channel, the location and the particular brand — can then be put to work to power improved marketing in every situation.

Context, in other words, takes into account not only the Who, but also the When, Where, Why and How. Simply put, it’s deeper targeting and more on-point messaging.

It’s about so much more than just who

My soon-to-be-published current research looks at marketing beyond the right message, to the right person at the right time. Contextual marketing goes further by considering a variety of factors: the platform consumers are using; their physical location (perhaps, using beacon technology, down to the store-shelf level); real-time information such as atmospheric conditions (Is it raining?), or even geospatial movement (whether they are in a vehicle, and if that vehicle is stopped at a red light, for instance).

These types of campaigns aren’t just fantasy, they’re reality. Maille Dijon mustard used beacons to target customers who had food-related apps installed on their phones in supermarkets. Waze teamed with Taco Bell to send a coupon to drivers who were near a restaurant, but only when drivers were stopped at a red light (safety first!).

I recently talked to an audio technology manufacturer using Internet of Things (IoT) data to target offers to their customers based on the data related to how those customers actually use the product. That company boasts a five- to seven-percent conversion rate from its email marketing campaigns. This when email open rates often run in the minus-one-percentile range.

How to think about context

Contextual marketing raises questions around contextual content. What type of coupon should a customer receive? When, and for what offer? MGM Resorts makes these determinations contextually — sending offers to guests’ smartphones based on where they are on the resort property (which restaurant, shop, show or casino), as well as in the context of their individual loyalty member status, past purchase history and stated interests.

Context can also drive the strategy behind information and other types of content, whether it’s via smart packaging (Think nutritional information, which one CPG giant is looking into) or apps that are content-centric and location-aware, such as REI’s smartphone app that provides a brand-relevant concierge service for American National Parks.

Context in marketing can only be employed with the use of powerful integrated technologies. Its components range from semantic technologies to machine learning and predictive analytics, customer data, product/service data, flexible, dynamic content and journey-mapping.

Without a doubt, context is complex. Moreover, it is growing in importance, not only because it’s increasingly technologically feasible and effective, but also because newer technologies (the IoT and beacons, for example) will enable additional layers of context to meet consumers’ growing expectations for contextually relevant experiences and messaging from the brands they interact with in an increasingly digital world.

Start with baby steps

How best to get started in contextual marketing? Think small, say the overwhelming number of executives I’ve interviewed for my research. Begin with small pilot projects. Think about the data you have and how to leverage it. Often, brands find partners to team up with: retail outlets, cinemas, dealerships or other physical locations.

These partnerships, or even solo campaigns, can require a lot of back-end platform integration to join up disparate data sources — CRM, location, content and myriad other campaign elements — but, when planned effectively, the ROI can be great, and it can arrive very quickly. An entertainment conglomerate that teamed with a theater chain to send video offers to moviegoers saw ROI in only three months, and that after a significant platform build.

Teams, technology, privacy and permission concerns are other significant factors in contextual campaigns, as is a solid foundation in content strategy. But there’s perhaps nothing more important that creating a value exchange, especially given that you’re asking a customer to let you engage with them anywhere at any time. Without your offering consumers something of value — monetary, convenience, information, experiential — there’s no reason for them to listen. Or participate.

The time to consider contextual campaigns is now. Already, brands like Disney, Nestlé, GE and Unilever are developing programs. Consumers will soon expect brands to be there when they’re needed, not just in cyberspace, but increasingly in the “phygital” world we now inhabit.

Thank you.

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