Chasing down your audience has been a staple of digital marketing since the rise of social media and personal info proliferation. It makes sense – it is much easier to offer your product to people who are most likely to buy it, than shoot blanks into a large audience and hope for the best.
But targeting has faced various challenges along the way. The General Data Protection Regulation and similar legal documents now closely monitor how advertisers store and use personal data. Users have the right to revoke their consent at any time. They also gained more awareness about the importance of privacy.
The truth is – targeting has become a hassle. But what does it mean for your business? Does it mean you go back to old-school advertising? Of course not! All you need is a solid contextual marketing strategy!
What is Contextual Marketing?
Classical marketing and targeting seek to gather data about users by extracting public data from their social media profiles, planting cookies that gather info about their browsing behavior, and tracking how they behave on specific websites.
This kind of tracking allows businesses to create various customer profiles. Marketing messages are then shaped based on their interests, needs, and place in the sales funnel. So how does contextual marketing differ?
Contextual marketing allows you to show ads on websites and webpages that are related to your product or services. For example, if you sell Tupperware, contextual marketing is the strategy of displaying your ads on websites with recipes or web pages that talk about food preservation.
Contextual marketing is often mixed up with behavioral marketing. These two types of online marketing are both fueled by users’ search patterns, but contextual marketing actually doesn’t deal with users – it focuses on accompanying web content. Behavioral marketing displays ads in a similar manner, but its focus is on the user.
Contextual marketing can be based on targeting a group of keywords or entire categories or topics.
How to Start With Contextual Marketing
If you feel that contextual marketing is the right fit for your business, here are two ways to do it.
A creative way
Let’s start with the basics. Contextual marketing is not always an automated process that takes place inside display ad networks. Sometimes, it happens in the real-life context, and it can do wonders for your brand.
Take for example the Procter & Gamble “Thank you, Mom” campaigns. These contextual marketing campaigns have taken place for the past decade during the summer and winter Olympic Games. P&G target audience is women with families – and during the Olympics, they decided to place their loyal customers at the center of the story. In these tear-jerker ads, mothers and their dedication are the driving force behind the famous Olympians’ success.
This contextual marketing campaign was a tremendous success. It used the context of the greatest sports events to send an uplifting message to their core customer base, showing them they are important, appreciated, and valued.
Contextual marketing requires you to be up to date with the latest news, trends, and phenomenons. The right words in the right context can help you connect with your customers on a deeper level, portraying your business as trendy, in tune with their target audience, and empathetic.
An automated way
The other way to incorporate contextual marketing in your strategy is to employ it in AdWords (or on social media). You’re probably well-acquainted with this platform, so you know that creating campaigns in AdWords is a pretty simple and straightforward process.
With contextual advertising, AdWords enables you to target between 5 and 50 keywords or topics. This allows you to display your ads on websites and webpages that contain content related to your product or service. You can also specify negative keywords that will block your ads from showing in specific categories and websites.
While setting up AdWords campaigns isn’t complicated, understanding which context to target may be. While Google algorithm is getting better at analyzing web content, it still has miles to go when it comes to recognizing specific contexts. It may exclude certain websites from your display network based on out-of-context trigger words or images. It can also send your ads to web pages that aren’t actually relevant to your product/service.
This blind automation may burden your budget or hyper-focus your campaigns without any tangible results.
Just like with any type of marketing, contextual marketing requires its own auxiliary tools like Website Categorization API. It is one of the solutions offered by Whois XML API. Whois XML API is a popular domain and IP intelligence data provider with more than 1.2 billion of domains and subdomains in its database.
Thanks to the data and records it amassed for the past years, Whois XML API was able to create several tools that excel at context recognition. Website categorization allows you to assign websites to three out of 25 available categories based on the three-level analysis.
This analysis includes scraping website content, examining content using natural language processing, and verifying results by human supervisors. Imagine if thousands of people were manually going through websites of your choice at the same time. That’s exactly what this tool does.
By combining several categories, you can create a highly targeted list of websites that provide a matching context for your marketing campaign. For example, your Tupperware ad doesn’t have to show up on every website that belongs to the “food” category. You can assign it specifically to websites that also include “shopping.”
Contextual marketing is a great solution for businesses who don’t want to waste their precious time and resources on tracking their target audience’s preferences, habits, and online behavior. With contextual marketing, you have the opportunity to be in the right place at the right time, without the hassle of collecting and analyzing endless data. Instead of chasing customers, you meet them where they want.