How to Strike the Balance Between Content and Context

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Shweta Khodade
Associate Account Manager

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In one day, the average consumer is bombarded by thousands of ads, each competing for their awareness and consideration. But how many ads are making an impact on the user? How many ads are providing the right information in the right place and at the right time?

We all know the age-old adage that content is king, but when all marketers use the same strategy by leveraging content to promote their product or service, the question remains: does this strategy still work? With millions of options available and thousands of alternatives in place, what can make your brand stand out as the most memorable? The answer to both questions lie in context marketing, a crucial strategy for helping your content resonate with audiences—and one that has enjoyed renewed interest and attention due to recent conversations about privacy and cookieless marketing.

Cut through the noise and drive memorability for your brand.

Context marketing provides the right meaning and insights to maximize relevance between people and your brand. Too often, brands focus fully on the content of their creative and not enough on the context in which people view them—the channels, cultural trends and other variables that shape their behavior online. But modern marketers know that there’s often a need to strategically balance content and context depending on their marketing goals. When building a content or context marketing strategy, there are a few factors that brands and marketers can consider. 

Frequency. How frequently will users see the ads? Too high a frequency can lead to ad fatigue. But if the ad frequency is low due to your budget or if your audience pool is smaller, there will only be a few chances to make an impact at speed. When users decide within a matter of seconds where to devote their attention, context can at times take priority over content. In Uni’s rebrand, focusing on enriching lives by inspiring creativity and connection, our paid media team worked closely with the creative team to ensure the media strategy was in line with the campaign’s creative vision. This approach enabled us to capture audience attention quickly through creative.

Shifts in preferences and trends. Over time, trends and shifts in consumer attitude will ebb and flow. For example, a particular skincare product is not useful for me in summer due to my skin type, but I did find it to be good for winter. Unfortunately for the brand, they never targeted me in the off season, which makes me wonder how things would have turned out differently had they re-evaluated audience targeting over time. Because trends and needs change, it’s wise to continually test audience targeting and exclusions over time. This will help you strategically adapt your marketing plan, its content and its context to meet changing tastes and preferences throughout the year.

Channel and vertical. The channel determines the format of creative and the content that will be delivered to the audience. For example, some channels favor video content while others are focused on images. Some are good for longform content, while content on others is more snackable. Some might even be interactive. Keep in mind how the channel may influence audience expectations, and also consider how your vertical may guide the approach to content. 

This is a strategy we used in helping Hatch, a fast-growing wellness and health brand, win over the hearts of countless people hoping to improve their sleep. We built a constant flow of fit-for-format content bespoke for each channel, each with narrative arcs that told the deeper story of Hatch Restore, the brand’s latest sleep assistant. The focus on format returned a 220% increase in click-through rate and 120% increase in view-to-completion rates.

Target audience. When it comes to your audience, it’s important to achieve the desired sentiment. This starts by selecting the right audience. For Hill House, a lifestyle direct-to-consumer brand, we analyzed audience signals from previous buyers to identify current and would-be customers. These insights allowed us to build data-driven creative we could optimize for this audience. These efforts not only drive performance—Hill House saw 80% higher ad engagement—but also enhance brand recall.

Maximize your marketing efforts with context marketing.

The above factors, while not all inclusive, offer a way to begin tapping into audiences more effectively through context marketing. Context marketing lets you deliver the right ad, at the right time, with the right message and format. By testing your creative relative to the variables above—frequency, trends, channel and audience—you enhance personalization and boost the strength of your marketing. This is especially useful as brands seek new strategies to adapt to a cookieless, more privacy-focused marketing landscape.

Ad fatigue is real: with so much content out there demanding our attention, it’s all too easy for audiences to tune things out. When it comes to building memorable creative, a strategic mix of content and context is key. That said, how will you build your next marketing strategy?

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