I’m willing to bet that the ads that you find most annoying are the ones that have nothing to do with you.

Context is a large reason digital marketing revolutionized advertising. In addition to getting a better idea of the ROI of your ads (via data on how many people saw an ad and clicked on a link), advertisers were given more contextual data about their audience and target ads based on that data.

What do I mean by that? Where advertisers create and target ads for TV and print based on who they think watches a certain program or reads certain articles, search engines and social platforms serve ads based on what people are actively looking for or indicate as one of their interests.

Using that contextual data to create targeted ads increases the likelihood of relevancy to consumers, and thus of eventual purchase.

Amazon’s search advertising platform adds another valuable layer of context: How, where, and when people shop. B2C marketers are now able to target consumers when they are actively looking for a product, on the platform that they are shopping on.

In this way, Amazon allows brands to take a constant surround-sound approach along the full extent of the marketing funnel:

  • Awareness. Sponsored placements take up a majority of the real estate above the fold on the first page of search.
  • Consideration. Content including images, specs, and reviews give shoppers researching products plenty of data to make an informed decision.
  • Conversion. Consumers can purchase the product they decide on directly on the site.
  • Loyalty. Prime membership benefits, subscribe-and-save, Amazon dash buttons, and the sheer number of products and product information keep consumers going to the site more than search engines for their product search.
  • Advocacy. Reviews are easy to leave, as there’s no need to create a login for each brand’s website to contribute.

Further, the retailer unveils context around shopping behaviors. So with certain categories, having time-of-day considerations is really critical.

For example, a CPG brand might recognize that serving ads in the morning when people may be in need of restocking toothpaste or shampoo might not actually be as effective, since they’re also rushing out the door to start their day. However, retargeting them in the late afternoon when they’re browsing Amazon could lead to more purchases.

Without the context of when “add to cart” is most likely to be pressed, the timing (and ROI) could be off, and brands can miss out on sales.

Context is crucial, and trying to operate without it will become increasingly difficult in today’s marketing ecosystem.

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