In today’s highly competitive digital landscape, businesses are always searching for more effective ways to reach their target audience. Contextual targeting is a powerful tool that can help brands achieve this goal by allowing them to reach their ideal customers based on their interests and behaviors. By identifying and selecting hand-raisers who engage with brands and content that is relevant to each brand, businesses can create targeted campaigns that are designed to reach their ideal audience. This strategy can prove particularly advantageous for smaller, niche brands seeking to expand their customer base, as well as larger brands with a mandate to acquire new customers.
Once the potential customers are identified, businesses can take a one-two punch approach by using personalized emails and digital advertising. By using data collected through contextual targeting, businesses can create custom-sequenced email flows and reach the same customer through social media advertising. This creates a consistent message that resonates with the audience across all touchpoints, leading to increased engagement and conversions.
Another powerful aspect is the ability to expand audiences into high match-rate lookalike audiences. By identifying individuals who share similar interests and behaviors as their existing audience and targeting them with similar campaigns, businesses can reach new customers who are more likely to be interested in their products or services. This approach helps brands grow their customer base and increase revenue without having to spend a fortune on traditional advertising methods.
In addition to being an effective way to reach target audiences, contextual targeting also allows brands to optimize their advertising spend. By focusing their efforts on reaching their target audience with precision rather than relying on algorithms to prioritize their interests, businesses can save money and ensure that resources are being used effectively.
In conclusion, contextual targeting is a powerful tool that can help businesses reach their ideal audience more effectively. By identifying hand-raisers and using data to create targeted campaigns, businesses can reach new customers, increase engagement and conversions, and optimize their advertising spend. This strategy can prove particularly advantageous for smaller, niche brands seeking to expand their customer base, as well as larger brands with a mandate to acquire new customers.
In an era where privacy concerns are at an all-time high, marketers are grappling with the challenge of engaging their audiences effectively while respecting their boundaries. This is where contextual marketing comes to the rescue. Contextual marketing is displaying ads and content to users based on the context of their online activity rather than relying on their personal data. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of contextual marketing in today’s privacy-centric world, how it addresses user concerns, and why it’s a critical strategy for marketers to adopt.
The Privacy Paradox: User Experience vs. User Privacy
As consumers become increasingly aware of data privacy issues, they demand more control over their personal information. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and other privacy regulations have emerged in response to this growing concern. Unfortunately, these regulations can severely impact how marketers collect and use user data, making delivering targeted and personalized experiences more challenging.
To address this privacy paradox, marketers must balance providing relevant content to their audience while respecting privacy. This is where contextual marketing comes in.
Contextual Marketing: A Privacy-Friendly Alternative
Contextual marketing offers a powerful solution that allows marketers to target users based on the context of their online activity rather than their personal data. It involves analyzing the content on web pages or within apps to identify relevant keywords, topics, and sentiments.
Advertisements and content are then displayed that match the context of the user’s current activity.
For example, a user reading a blog post about travel might see ads for hotels, airlines, or travel insurance. This approach ensures that the ads are relevant to the user’s interests without relying on their personal information.
Benefits of Contextual Marketing
- Privacy Compliance: Contextual marketing allows marketers to comply with privacy regulations without sacrificing the effectiveness of their campaigns. Since it doesn’t rely on personal data, it circumvents the need for user consent and other privacy-related requirements.
- Enhanced User Trust: Contextual marketing helps build trust between brands and their audiences by prioritizing privacy and avoiding intrusive data collection practices. This trust is crucial for long-term customer relationships and brand loyalty.
- Improved Ad Relevance: By displaying ads that align with the user’s interests, contextual marketing increases the chances of engagement and conversion. This relevance also leads to a better user experience, as users see genuinely interesting ads.
- Reduced Ad Fatigue: With an overwhelming amount of advertising online, users often develop ad fatigue, causing them to ignore ads entirely. Contextual marketing helps combat this by ensuring ads are more engaging and relevant to the user’s current context.
- Resistance to Ad Blockers: As users turn to ad blockers to avoid unwanted ads, marketers face the challenge of reaching their audiences. Contextual marketing can help overcome this hurdle, as it is less likely to trigger ad blockers than intrusive, data-driven advertising techniques.
Contextual marketing offers a win-win solution for marketers and users in a world where privacy concerns continue escalating. Focusing on user activity’s context rather than personal data allows marketers to engage their audiences effectively while respecting their privacy.
Now is the time for marketers to embrace contextual marketing and adapt to the evolving privacy landscape. It provides a privacy-friendly alternative to traditional targeting methods and enhances user experience, builds trust, and ultimately drives better results for your campaigns.
Please contact us if you want to learn more about how contextual-based advertising can accelerate your business.
Introducing Alive Context™ – our revolutionary digital media product poised to transform how businesses acquire new customers. We have unlocked the power of context, intent, and interest in social media and opened access to previously unattainable audiences within walled gardens.
With Alive Context, brands can now create new first-party custom audiences, expand them into high match-rate lookalike audiences, and communicate directly with them via custom-sequenced email flows. This means businesses can now reach audiences they never thought possible and engage with them more personalized and effective.
Alive Context identifies and selects hand raisers that engage with brands and content relevant to each brand. This allows our clients to create targeted campaigns specifically designed to reach their target audience.
By leveraging context and intent, businesses can tap into a vast network of potential customers previously out of reach. This means that brands can now grow their customer base and increase revenue without spending a fortune on traditional advertising methods or relying on algorithms to prioritize the brands’ interests. Our product is easy to use and comes with a range of powerful features designed to help businesses achieve their customer acquisition goals. Alive Context puts the brand back in the driver’s seat. Whether you are a small start-up or a large corporation, our technology can help you unlock social media’s full potential and take customer acquisition to the next level.
Book an appointment now to get started growing your customer base!
In recent years, privacy concerns have become a significant issue in the digital world, especially for Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT). With Apple’s latest update, iOS 14.5, AppTrackingTransparency requires apps to obtain explicit user consent before tracking their data. This update is a significant shift for marketers, advertisers, and app developers who rely on user data for targeted advertising. Here are the top three tactics to combat Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency:
- Use first-party data
The first tactic to combat Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency is to use first-party data. First-party data refers to data businesses collect directly from their customers or users. This data includes user behavior on a website, app, or product usage. By collecting and using first-party data, businesses can create personalized and targeted experiences without relying on third-party data.
- Invest in contextual targeting.
The second tactic is to invest in contextual targeting. Contextual targeting is the practice of delivering ads based on the content on a website or app. Instead of relying on user data to target ads, contextual targeting delivers ads based on the context of the page or app the user is on. This approach allows businesses to target users based on their interests and behavior without tracking their personal data.
- Use alternative advertising channels.
The third tactic is to use alternative advertising channels. With the rise of privacy concerns, businesses must explore alternative advertising channels beyond social media and display advertising. Some examples of alternative advertising channels include influencer marketing, email marketing, and podcast advertising. These channels allow businesses to target audiences without relying on personal data.
In conclusion, the recent iOS 14.5 update has made privacy a top priority for Apple users. As a result, businesses need to adapt their advertising strategies to combat Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency. By using first-party data, investing in contextual targeting, and exploring alternative advertising channels, companies can create targeted experiences without relying on personal data. It’s time to think outside the box and explore new advertising channels that offer value to businesses and users.
I spent most of my career working in corporate marketing, with multiple stints as a chief marketing officer for major retailers. People often ask me what the biggest difference between the two experiences is, and while the day-to-day is certainly different—juggling multiple brands’ needs rather than a single entity’s—I’m still grounded in the same purpose. We’re solving business problems and meeting opportunities.
There’s a unifying factor with every challenge and opportunity, too, and it’s the most important one. Whether you’re managing multiple businesses or a single brand, everything comes back to the customer.
Creative marketers make and do and create, but to really be customer-focused, you have to be great at (and committed to) listening and observing. That’s what helps you determine who your customers are, what they need, how they communicate, and how they behave. Their behaviors offer valuable feedback that can dictate where you steer your marketing strategy.
Many businesses, surprisingly enough, skip right past this. Executives decide on a particular direction with products or services, not knowing (or asking) if their customers want those things. I’ve seen it in corporate marketing and with agencies I’ve worked with in the past, and it’s led good teams into frustrating spirals. The only way out is finding your direction in what your customers want and need.
When you have firm customer data, you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your brand. You see your customers’ entry points and learn where your brand becomes sticky. You get detailed insights into that inflection point where they go from loyal customer to brand evangelist. These data points are a full-color roadmap that tells you where you should communicate with your customers, how often they want to hear from you, and to what degree you’re successfully immersing them in your brand.
One of Alive’s special attributes is that our leadership comes from the other side of the table—brand marketing and marketing technology.
Our past roles gave us valuable perspective on the importance of discovery—a perspective we can extend to the teams we lead here. Lots of agencies talk about discovery, and some clients have a hard time seeing its value. We’re always ready to give voice to that value.
There are universal truths, like “it’s always about the customer.” But mapping the customer journey and understanding the customer experience, each to the last detail, is the foundation of our work.
Too many agencies think great creative or a great tactic will lead the way. What I’ve come to believe is that when the team understands a company, its customers, and its competitors—that landscape of discovery—you empower your account strategists and inspire your creatives. When account executives have their hands on deep and clear research, their strategies speak with confidence and authority. When creatives can see into the soul of a brand’s customers, magic happens.
Ultimately, you need to understand that each client is a unique opportunity, and each has unique problems and challenges that you’re there to help to solve. So you really have to take each opportunity as its own, put the right team around it and dive into it. Saying “we hear you” isn’t enough. You need to listen, understand, and guide clients with a strategy that has a foundation in who they are, authentically, and what their customers need from them.
This seems simple, but it takes focus and commitment to get it right each time, whether you’re a corporate marketer or working at an agency.
The Relentless March of Digital Transformation
One of the best things about being a dead-center GenXer is that I’ve witnessed and engaged with the most disruptive period of digital transformation in our society. It’s taken on so many forms, due to the ruthless efficiency of innovation in the tech sector. Think about it just from the hardware perspective: we’ve gone from computers the size of large rooms (or even entire floors of buildings) to desktops, laptops, tablets, and even mobile phone and watch-sized devices.
What that hardware revolution has done is open up an ever-changing array of channels–websites, apps, OTT broadcasting–that we all engage with each day. The power of digital has influenced so much, and I’m grateful for playing a leading role at times in an area that’s transformed society in a lot of good ways.
Tech: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Back in my chief marketing officer days, I was part of several major digital initiatives, including building the first e-commerce sites, apps, and CRMs at big box retailers. The great thing about technology is that it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Just when we thought we’d hit the peak of the mountain, such as with a customer loyalty program that tracked customer shopping patterns, we’d see something else that would at first interest us and then help us become more profitable once we figured out how.
As I’ve mentioned in this space previously, tech begins to really work wonders when you see where a customer-centric mindset can take you. When I was working with the great team at Michaels Stores, the arts & crafts retailer, we liked to focus much of our work on understanding our key customer demographics. Chief among these was working moms.
We were able to get into the mindset of this important group (not only to Michaels, but to society itself!). A typical working mom would be commuting to work, putting in a long day at the office, and then returning home. But upon their return, they would be working again, feeding their families and overseeing the bedtime routine. For those of you who’ve raised children, this is no small feat, and it’s like tacking on two to three hours of overtime to your already stressful workday.
Using Tech to Engage in Profound Ways
As a team, we had a lot of empathy and sympathy for these working moms. We liked to think of Michaels as one of their guilty pleasures. After finally settling down a bit at 7:30-8 o’clock, they might be turning on the TV and logging in to their laptops, phones, or tablets to go to our website and social channels. We thought of ourselves as a place of refuge almost, where working moms could come to us for ideas to make their lives brighter and better.
Another key element to understanding the relentless march of technology is that even when you land on something cool like building Pinterest and Instagram experiences for working moms, generational behaviors will take you to different places. And you need to get packed and ready to go, at a moment’s notice–when the data tells you that your key customers are migrating to different channels.
We’re experiencing this right now as a new group, Generation Z, has firmly entered the workforce and in some cases begun to build families. Gen Z may be our biggest challenge to date in understanding digital behaviors and preferences. Every generation can be a reaction to the previous one.
Heading in New Directions with GenZ
Behaviorally, GenZers are already taking us in some new directions. They’ve largely abandoned the remaining first-wave social networks like Facebook and Twitter, in favor of Instagram and TikTok. They are more visually oriented, as these channel preferences indicate, and innovation is mirroring their preferences to make content even more bite-sized than before (think: Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and of course, TikTok).
As a result of these preferences and behaviors, some revealing data is coming to light. They are accelerating and amplifying the importance of content–and LOTS of it. I read a fascinating article recently, one that contrasted the roles that TikTok and Google play in GenZ search activity. The article was diving into the reported phenomenon that TikTok was now Gen Z’s number one preferred search engine. Yet, their research showed that TikTok’s main purposes for Gen Z reflected the top-of-funnel and bottom-of-funnel content that’s effective on that platform. Think about how influencers expose their audiences to products and then often offer discount codes to buy them yourself.
So if you’re looking to increase your business with Gen Zers, some of whom are now in their mid-20s and have quite a bit of purchasing power. This TikTok and Instagram-led phenomenon isn’t just dictating purchases. It’s affecting how we’re reaching this generation for other purposes, including job recruiting. You’ve got to go where your targets are, whether you’re trying to sell products or fill jobs.
If the other eras of digital transformation are any indication, it’s going to be a heck of ride in the next 10-15 years, as Xers like me venture into retirement and both the workplace and the coveted 18-49 demographic is comprised completely of Millennials and Gen Z.