Using the Power of Context in Real World Advertising

There’s a lot of hype around online “contextual advertising” these days. Basically, contextual advertising is when user data and algorithms are used to place online ads in front of a particular individual when and where they’re most likely to be contemplating a purchase.

For instance, someone searching online for a new pair of sneakers might see an ad for a shoe brand when visiting a running blog they frequent. The effect is that the ad is presented precisely when they’re trying to make a purchasing decision, so that they’re more likely to make that purchase.

Context comprises the target audience, their needs, and the environment they’re in. Rather than be only in the realm of online advertising, it’s something that factors into all forms of marketing — both online and in the real world.

The following is a billboard for Toronto public transit on one of the city’s major commuter expressways, Allen Road:

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An ad for public transit displayed on a traffic-clogged road is a good real world example of contextual advertising because at the moment that drivers are stuck in traffic, they see an alternative way of getting around that could be faster.

It all comes down to the importance of placing an ad when and where people are looking for a solution to their problem. When it comes to real-world ads, this isn’t figured out using an algorithm, but rather comes down to understanding who your customers are, where they are and what they see, and what they’re in need of. This can produce some very effective advertising.

Contextual advertising requires thinking about how your advertising is seen from the perspective of the customer, imagining how they see it within their context.

Thinking of using the power of context to amplify the power of your ads? We’d love to help you out. Phone or email Finesilver Design + Communications today!

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