Contextual advertising & real-time marketing in the age of ad-blocking

Last week we looked at how the rise in ad-blocking affects advertisers, and some of the strategies they can employ to continue reaching their audience. As part of our series on contextual advertising in the ad-blocking era, this week we’re looking more in-depth at one area of contextual advertising – real-time marketing.

Photo by Unsplash

According to shoppers globally, advertisers are increasingly not creating relevant, meaningful content; 77% of brands sold globally could disappear and consumers wouldn’t care. Ad-blocking also continues to rise, and it’s predicted that 27% of the US population will have installed some form of ad-blocker by 2021.

We’re living in a time where customers are becoming more apathetic towards advertisers and their ads. It’s not really surprising, when they’re swamped with 1,700 online ads a month. Advertisers need to find a way to stay relevant to their audience and stand out from the crowd.

Right place, right time

A subcategory of contextual advertising, real-time marketing, sometimes known as moment marketing, refers to the creation of an ad that is relevant to an “event” going on at that particular time. We use the term “event” widely – it could be a particular day in the calendar that holds some special meaning, a sports event, or even a TV campaign that’s running offline. 

Traditionally associated with social media marketing and search marketing, there’s no reason why real-time marketing can’t also be used in a rich media context. On a basic level, you already do real-time marketing. Your Christmas campaigns are a rudimentary form of real-time marketing – you are targeting timely messages to your audience based on events going on around them.

Taking a more sophisticated approach, you could break your 12-month marketing calendar into the events that are the most relevant to your brand. Take for example the World Cup. Yes, you could simply do as you’ve always done and go with one or two generic creatives that you use throughout the tournament. So far, so boring.  

But, what about viewing the World Cup through the eyes of your customers? They don’t see it as one event, but instead a series of moments – from the group stages, to the knockout stage, to the finals – a mixture of anticipation, celebration and commiseration. If you’re able to update your creatives as those events happen, you’re showing your audience that the content you’re producing is highly relevant to them, and you’re able to foster much more engaged communication.. 

This is exactly the approach Adidas took with their ambitious 2018 World Cup campaign. Their Vice President of Brand Communications, Ryan Morlan, claimed to have “re-engineered the traditional advertising campaign.”

“We are co-creating our story of sport and creativity with our consumers by reacting and responding to their preferences, attitudes, passions and geographies. Athletes in New York will get a different experience from those in London.”

The results of real-time marketing speak for themselves. Real-time has a positive impact not just on standard marketing goals including word-of-mouth, attention, preference, and likelihood to try or buy, but it also has a lasting effect on other marketing initiatives.

Connecting offline with online

How about viewing your TV ads as an opportunity for real-time marketing? 66% of smartphone users turn to their phones to look up something they saw in a TV ad. What if you greeted them with a rich media ad that complimented the messaging they just saw on TV, and took them straight to the page that gave all the information they needed?

OSN succeeded in connecting their offline and online activity using a solution that monitored OSN’s TV ads and launched their online display campaign.  In this way, OSN was able to engage their audience with creative digital rich media during key TV moments. Not only that, they increased their online sales, and saw a higher engagement rate resulting in a 57% decrease in their CPA.

Why rich media for real-time marketing?

Real-time marketing is so effective for advertisers because it provides timely messages to users who are much more likely to pay attention, resulting in a higher engagement rate. You might even go so far as to say real-time marketing is “helpful advertising.”

Whether incorporating video, movement or other interactive features, rich media is all about using a format that drives higher engagement rates, better brand recall, and greater awareness. By combining a marketing strategy and an ad format that both lead to higher engagement rates, you really do have a winning combination.

If you haven’t yet tried rich media, why not consider Nexd’s Campaign Manager for your next ad campaign? It allows you to easily create highly engaging ads in various different formats and layouts.  Even if you don’t currently have rich media formats, you can easily use static assets to create interactive rich media ads without writing a single line of code.

Worried about your ad campaign in this age of ad-blocking?

As users become increasingly cynical about advertising and turn to ad-blocking, it’s not enough for advertisers who want to continue to thrive to continue with the status quo. This month we looked at different strategies in contextual advertising that drive engagement among users. Our next focus will be on location-based advertising.

Related content: