Although the internet has afforded us with more innovative ways than ever to sell our products and services, marketing has become so accessible that no one is standing out in the crowd. So how do you break through the clutter? It’s not an easy task, but one that can be simplified by building content with context. Contextual marketing is a model in which people are served targeted content or advertising based on recent browsing behaviour or other factors, such as search terms, location or time of day.

The Digital Fingerprint

Every time you visit a website or open an app, you leave behind a host of attributes like what region you are visiting from, what device you are using or the time of day you chose to browse. This is what we call our Digital Fingerprint. Effective marketers are using these attributes to craft content experiences that are highly relevant to each user.

Context in Daily Life

Google, a search engine used 3.5 billion times a day, is perhaps the most well known example of contextual content we can all relate to. Google takes your search term and in a fraction of a second, provides you with the most relevant web pages that relate to that keyword.

 

 

Spotify, a music streaming service serves its listeners with the most relevant playlists based on the time of day (among other attributes) a user decides to open the app. Spotify suggests workout playlists in the morning, playlists to help you focus during the workday and playlists for the long commute home.

 

Marketing with Context

You might think that the digital fingerprint is creepy, especially when we think about marketers spying on our online activity. But contextual marketing is thought to better for both businesses and consumers—because marketers are delivering content that is aligned with consumers’ interests or position in the sales cycle. Content you’re more likely to want.

There are a number of ways businesses can incorporate context and the digital fingerprint into their marketing practices. For instance, an organization who segments their email lists and sends unique content to each of their audiences rather than sending the same content to their entire distribution list is demonstrating contextual marketing. Companies who segment their email marketing lists are proven to receive higher open rates, lower unsubscribe rates and increased revenue. Nothing creepy here, just effective marketing that benefits both the business and the consumer.

Rather than advertising on television or in a national magazine, a company that uses geo-targeting to serve Facebook or Twitter advertising to consumers in specific cities or regions has been able to ensure their advertising is seen only by people the company wishes to market to or are able to serve. Companies that use geo-targeting in advertising have seen increases in conversion at a lower cost per acquisition. Again, no trickery—just smart marketing.

Getting Started with Contextual Content

You’re probably asking how you can get started with creating content with context. More than 80% of the work is done upfront through the development of a digital marketing strategy. The first and most important step is for us to identify who your ideal customers/audiences are and craft user personas that detail the demographic information, motivators, pain points and your goals for each audience.

From there, we can begin the process of crafting a journey of contextual content that will bring each audience from the awareness stage to your end goal, whether it be to buy your product or service, download a resource or sign up for an event. Once your strategy is in place and you have the content developed, we can go the market and measure the results—iterating as we gain no insights during the conversion process. We recommend reviewing effectiveness against your measurement plan each month and making small changes to content to improve conversion over time.

Contextual content has the power to improve our daily lives and our bottom lines. Whether you’ve already started or have yet to jump into contextual marketing, I’d love to answer your questions and help you understand how to leverage the digital fingerprint in your digital marketing strategy.

Always open to comments and conversations!

-Andrew

Ps – Want to hear more about what we  here at bv02 have to say around content in context? Check out our Espresso Shot podcast.

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