Contextual marketing or Behavioral marketing: Which one is more effective?

Contextual marketing or Behavioral marketing?

Digital marketing experts frequently discuss contextual marketing and behavioral marketing as two distinct terms within digital advertising. Both aim to deliver targeted ads; however, each operates under its own principles and can be effective depending on circumstances. Herein, we explore these differences while outlining each approach’s advantages.

Contextual Marketing

Contextual marketing is a form of targeted advertising that uses an individual’s current online behavior to determine which ads they should see. It operates on the principle that an individual’s interests can be inferred from what content they consume; for example, reading an article about healthy eating could result in ads for healthy food products and gym memberships being shown.

Contextual marketing can be very effective because it delivers ads tailored specifically to an individual’s current interests, making them more likely to interact with it and take action – for instance, if someone is actively searching for a car dealership ad that appears in search results, they might click more quickly on one than other advertisements appearing there.

One of the major difficulties associated with contextual marketing lies in its inability to accurately determine an individual’s interests based solely on their online behavior; for instance, reading about current events may not reflect long-term interests or preferences accurately. Furthermore, contextual ads can sometimes be perceived as intrusive if they do not add anything relevant or disrupt the user experience.

Behavioral Marketing

Behavioral marketing is a form of targeted advertising based on a person’s past behavior. This type of advertising utilizes data collected through prior interactions to determine which ads should be shown; for instance, if someone clicked ads for sports equipment previously, more ads featuring this product may appear later.

Unlike Contextual marketing, behavioral marketing can be effective by targeting people based on their established interests and preferences, creating ads more likely to be relevant and engaging, leading to higher conversion rates. Furthermore, as it utilizes past behavior as data points for prediction purposes, it may provide more accurate predictions for future decisions made by people.

One of the challenges associated with behavioral marketing is its potential to come across as creepy or intrusive. Suppose an individual feels they are being monitored online, and their online behavior is used to deliver targeted ads. In that case, they may become less inclined to engage with these ads and engage. Furthermore, privacy and data security issues arise when collecting personal data for advertising purposes.

Contextual Vs. Behavioral Marketing Strategies: Which Approach Is More Successful

Both contextual and behavioral marketing strategies offer unique advantages and drawbacks. Contextual marketing refers to an approach used to target ads to users based on their keywords or web actions. In contrast, behavioral marketing collects user data from previous online activities across the web. Contextual advertising may be more cost-effective for brands that haven’t yet amassed enough audience data; however, behavioral ads can often more successfully capture users’ attention since it targets users based on past behavior and interests. Research indicates that 69% of consumers engage more with contextually relevant ads and content. Ultimately, whether contextual or behavioral marketing should be chosen depends on a business’s goals and target audience. For example, if a business’s objective is to reach users actively searching for specific products or services, contextual marketing may be more efficient. Conversely, behavioral marketing could prove more successful at reaching consumers with specific interests or preferences.

How to Start Contextual marketing?

Here are a few examples where you could use “context” to your advantage in marketing with marketing automation software.

1. Offer specific deals for specific pages and posts.

What is the easiest way to start using contextual marketing? First, create offers that enhance the value of your site. Bonus points are awarded if the offers address a particular pain point or issue that customers were trying to solve when they visited that page.

Create content offers for your website and readers that are relevant to the page they are visiting. For example, if you write a blog about solo hiking and sell hiking boots, you could offer a checklist for solo hiking.

2. Contextual marketing: Add smart Calls-to-Action (CTAs) to your website.

You can make your personalized offers even more effective by using call-to-action. You have a range of offers that you’d like to use to convert visitors into leads, qualified leads into customers, and traffic into qualified leads.

To improve your lead conversion rate, you don’t want your leads to visit a case studies webpage (which would be an action that you would perform later in your buyer journey) and find a CTA that takes them to a post on a blog (which is intended for people who are earlier in their buyer journey).

Not everyone who visits your case study page is ready to speak to a salesperson. A CTA that is too aggressive can turn people away.

Smart CTAs allow you to create a CTA that is aligned with the visitor’s current stage in the sales process… or with any other criteria you choose. For example, think about the type of business, the location, and previous activities/behaviors.

If you’ve already downloaded a HubSpot offer, you may see this CTA in certain social media posts.

If you have never downloaded an offer, the default CTA will appear:

Smart content is a great way to capture the information of your audience at every stage of their buying journey.

3. Create smart forms to shorten conversion cycles.

Smart forms can tell if someone already filled in the fields that you are asking them to. Smart forms will prevent your visitors from seeing “First Name” or “Last Name,” for example, every time they complete a form. Instead, they only need to answer these questions once.

You will be able to gather new information each time a lead fills out a form instead of repeating the same data. This helps create a seamless and personalized user experience by leveraging previous interactions with your site as context.

Here’s an example from HubSpot Academy. Here’s what we see after logging into HubSpot CRM:

The firm recognizes that we are a HubSpot client and does not require us to open a new HubSpot account. There is only one button to click: “Start the Course.”

Smart forms can help you collect more information about your leads, customers, and visitors. They will also help to increase conversion rates.

4. Use dynamic email content to streamline workflows.

Dynamic email content can be an excellent way to streamline workflows for contextual marketing. By tailoring each recipient’s emails based on their interests, preferences, and behaviors, dynamic emails become more personalized and engaging; more likely to resonate with your target audience and drive conversions.

Here are a few strategies for using dynamic email content to streamline your contextual marketing workflows:

  • Segment your email list: Break your email list down into segments according to factors such as demographics, past purchase history and engagement level in order to deliver more targeted and personalized email content for each segment. This allows you to deliver relevant and targeted communications for each group.
  • Use behavioral triggers: Set up email campaigns that send emails based on certain actions taken by recipients, such as abandoning their shopping cart or clicking a particular product. Triggered emails can provide targeted recommendations and personalized messaging that increases conversion rates.
  • Use Dynamic Content Blocks: Add dynamic content blocks into your emails that change based on factors such as recipient location, past behavior or preferences to make emails feel more personalized and increase engagement and conversion rates. This strategy can create emails that feel tailored specifically to each recipient leading to more engagement and conversion rates.
  • Make emails more personalized and engaging by using personalization tokens: Personalization tokens allow for automated insertion of recipient names, locations and any relevant details into email content – thus increasing open and click-through rates and click rates.

By integrating dynamic email content into your contextual marketing workflows, you can generate more targeted and personalized communications that are likely to resonate with your target audience and generate conversions.


Conclusively, contextual marketing and behavioral marketing are powerful tools businesses can utilize to reach their audience and drive engagement and conversions. While both approaches have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, businesses can maximize advertising effectiveness by employing both approaches simultaneously with other targeted ads – providing transparency about data collection practices while meeting relevant privacy regulations so as to build trust with their target audiences and craft successful advertising campaigns that drive results. Of course, don’t forget about manual link building. You need to build quality backlinks to your site in order to achieve the best results for your business.

Outreach Bee has what it takes to do it on your behalf. Contact us to get a personalized plan to rank your business on search engines.

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