8 Examples of Context Marketing Done Right

16 July 2020

Think about the last marketing message you received. Was it delivered at the right time, and did it offer you something you actually wanted? If the answer is yes, that’s successful context marketing.

Today, customers are fed up with impersonal approaches to marketing – they want to know they matter. Companies can show them that by sending relevant, timely marketing messages. Read on to read about eight real-life examples of context marketing done right.

Google’s AdSense

The most prominent example of context marketing is Google’s AdSense. It uses search terms entered into Google to select the right ad for that user.

Let’s say you’re interested in buying new CRM software. You type in ‘CRM software’ into Google, and you’ll most likely see a Wikipedia article explaining what CRM software is, though you’ll also see websites that allow you to compare various CRMs. At the top and bottom of the search results, there will be a number of ads for CRM software solutions, which will probably pique your interest.


Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you: you join a group on Facebook, and then you start seeing ads for products (or even organisations) related to that group. Marketers can take advantage of Facebook’s advertising platform to put context marketing into play.

We’ll illustrate with an example. Let’s say you join a group for surfers in Raglan. Within a day or two of directly at you, because they think that joining, you start seeing ads for surfboards, wetsuits, and board bags. Advertisers are targeting their ads at you because you’re interested in surfing, and there’s a chance that you’re in the market for new gear.


YouTube is another site that allows marketers to put context marketing into action. Marketers can tailor their content based on what a viewer watches.

Here’s an example: Jim bought a new bike, but it doesn’t have reflectors on it. He wants to take the old reflectors off his other bike and put them on his new one, so he finds a YouTube video on that very topic. Before the video starts, YouTube displays an ad for a bike frame bag, which would be quite handy for Jim, as it would be a good way to store the things he needs when he’s out for a ride. The bike frame bag complements Jim’s current purchase (a new bike), and he’s in the right frame of mind to listen to that message, making this a context marketing strategy win.

Mobile Devices

This is another familiar scenario: you’re planning a night out with your mates, but you can’t decide where to eat. You open up Google on your cell phone and type in ‘restaurants near me.’ A list of restaurants appears, including several ads for restaurants nearby. Even better, some of those ads contain coupons for that new curry place you’ve been wanting to try.

Mobile devices are a new avenue for context marketing, because they allow marketers to use your geographic location to send you targeted ads. With targeted ads, you can see the right ad at the right time (such as when you’re trying to find a place for dinner).

Partnerships between Brands and Mobile Applications

Mobile apps are another important tool in context marketing strategies. As mentioned earlier, they take advantage of your smart phone’s technology to share your location information with brands.

While a brand could offer its own app that leveraged location-based technologies, there’s an equally valuable opportunity to partner with other applications. We’ll use an example: a fast food company could partner with a mapping/navigation app, so when a user gets closer to a restaurant location, the app would alert him or her that there’s someplace to eat ahead. For drivers who have spent a while on the road, it’s welcome information, because they’re most likely hungry.


While Amazon is less popular in New Zealand, the e-commerce giant represents an excellent example of how to succeed at context marketing.

Its famed recommendation engine suggests products that complement what we’ve put in our cart. Amazon will send email reminders when there’s a sale on for the item that we’ve been considering. Also, if you’ve purchased a book from a particular author, Amazon will alert you when he or she publishes another book.


16Handles is a soft-serve yoghurt chain in the US. Market research revealed that their target audience is 16 to 25-year-olds who use Snapchat. The firm developed a context marketing strategy that catered to that very demographic.

Customers had to snap a photo of themselves at a participating 16Handles location tasting a yoghurt flavour, then send the photo to the brand’s Snapchat account. Once 16Handles received the picture, the person handling the Snapchat account would send the user a coupon for 16%, 50%, or even 100% off. Customers loved the campaign because it rewarded them for doing something they were planning on doing anyway (buying frozen yoghurt).

Johnson & Johnson

The American pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods company Johnson & Johnson sells a line of skincare products called ‘Clean & Clear.’ The target market for Clean & Clear products is teenaged girls. Today, teenaged girls don’t really respond to a website or blog posts. They’re more likely to engage with visual, highly shareable content.

Johnson & Johnson’s Clean & Clear context marketing strategy revolved around creating shareable electronic postcards that teenage girls could send to one another. These electronic postcards contained links to a free skin analysis as well as samples of Clean & Clear. The context marketing strategy had viral results: it encouraged girls to send the postcards to as many of their friends as possible. For Johnson & Johnson, the ads were an inexpensive way to position the brand’s product to the right audience at the right time.

Enlighten Designs: Helping You Bring Your Context Marketing Strategy to Life

Since 1998, Enlighten Designs has been delivering delightful customer experiences. Our knowledge and expertise enable us to shape your successful context marketing strategy to deliver the right message at the right time to the right person. Contact Us

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