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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistWed, Aug 17, 2016 5 min read

What Is Contextual Marketing?

{}We can probably all agree now that offering our audiences amazing content is helpful in our marketing strategies. And we can probably all agree that for that content to be amazing, it needs to be relevant and useful. But how are we supposed to know what’s relevant and useful to any given consumer?

Well, we use contextual marketing.

What Is It?

Contextual marketing allows you to provide targeted marketing messages based on user information, such as location, web-browsing activity, or recently used search terms. The goal of this marketing is to gather up intelligence on a user in order to learn about their preferences and interests. And based on these preferences, marketers can then present marketing messages and ads for products and services that are most relevant to their wants, needs, and pain points. All in all, it’s used to send the right content, to the right person, at the right time.

For example, if someone performs a Google search to learn about the importance of inbound marketing, they’ll then see an ad for an inbound marketing agency when they’re on their favourite social media site later that day. Because this user has already proven that they’re interested in inbound marketing, they’re more likely to click on the ad to check out the services being offered.

Search engines, news websites, social media sites, blogs, and many other sites use this type of advertising. They use keywords, comments, posts, or browser cookies to trigger contextual ads for their users.

Why Use It?

Using contextual marketing can lead to several huge advantages.

First, it allows brands to increase the number of clicks they get on their ads. When they’re not interrupting people who have zero interest in what they’re selling and are only targeting people who have been proven to be interested, naturally, their efforts are going to improve. These interested persons will be drawn in to click on the ad to check out the offer.

Second, because these people are more interested, they’re also more likely to convert. So, contextual marketing also improves brands’ conversion rate.

Third, using context for marketing reduces the risk of annoying consumers who aren’t interested in your ads. Poorly timed, irrelevant messages are typically the ones that annoy online users. But if those ads are highly targeted and actually relevant to the user’s needs, wants, and desires, they aren’t seen as interruptive because they aren’t misaligned with their interests.

The more context you can gain about your audience, the more likely you are to send the right message at the right time. Brands that leverage context about their audiences, their leads, and their customers while marketing are typically the ones who succeed above the rest.

When brands use what they know about their audiences, they can provide extremely relevant, targeted, and personalized messaging, which always works better than generic marketing. After all, this personalized marketing is the key to creating marketing that your audience will love.

How to Use Contextual Marketing

Want to try your hand at this whole context thing? Here are some of the ways that you can use context to improve your marketing initiatives.

Dynamic CTAs: One important contextual factor that you should be considering when delivering your marketing messages is the stage of the sales funnel that your leads are in. You don’t want to send top-of-the-funnel offers to people who are ready to buy, and vice versa. It’s pretty useless. Dynamic calls to action adjust depending on what user is visiting the page. Pretty cool, right?

Dynamic Emails: Using hyper segmentation can help you to group your email recipients in order to send them the most relevant content based on their preferences, actions, and needs. Using marketing automation, you can put the right people in the right email lists, in order to send them the right emails.

Smart Forms: You know that you can’t ask your web visitors to fill out five pages of form fields on your landing page. Having the right form length is one of the best practices for landing pages. But you know that you also want to learn as much as you can about them. Smart forms is the answer. Smart forms automatically fill out the fields that these users have already filled out on your website in the past, so they don’t have to keep typing in the same information over and over again. And when they don’t have to fill out those same old fields, they’ll have more time to fill out new ones, so you both win.


Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.