How to Use Contextual Marketing for Affiliate Program Work

With Google’s announcement that it intends to phase out the use of cookies on its browser by 2024, affiliate program members have been looking for new ways to manage targeted advertising. There have been a number of options suggested. Including Google’s own Privacy Sandbox. But one of the options gaining most traction at this point is contextual marketing. So, what is contextual marketing? And how can you use it for your affiliate program work?

How Can Affiliate Program Members Use Contextual Marketing?

What is contextual marketing?

Contextual marketing is a strategy that involves matching ads with webpage content. Essentially targeting people based upon their current search terms. Rather than tracking people’s online activity. Preserving user’s privacy while avoiding annoyance through pairing ads with search intent. Also known as behavioral targeting.

How could contextual advertising work for online affiliate program members?

The aim of contextual advertising is to increase clickthrough and conversion rates by linking ads to user’s current interests. So, if you’re searching for dating advice, you may see ads for dating offers. Rather than for the pants you were searching for yesterday. The aim is to increase engagement through relevancy at the time of searching.

What this means for you, as someone who works with dating affiliate sites, is that your ads are reaching a receptive audience. At a time when they are most open to your services.

What are the benefits of contextual advertising?

We’ve already mentioned the primary benefit – the ability to get ads in front of an interested audience. But there are other advantages worth mentioning.

  • The public are becoming suspicious of cookies. People don’t like being tracked or sharing data. Contextual advertising removes that risk of annoyance.
  • Contextual advertising can also limit reputational damage to the affiliate program brands, products and services. Because with contextual advertising, your affiliate network’s products are only seen in relevant places.
  • The developments in artificial intelligence (AI) mean that the placing of contextual ads is much more accurate than cookie based advertising. Saving you the stime and effort of direct targeting and segmenting.
  • Contextual advertising is much easier to implement than the use of cookies.

What are the disadvantages of contextual advertising for affiliate program members?

Right now, the use of contextual advertising is limited. It is only really being used by the big brands and high-stake players. Because they have the most access to first-party data. So, the broader roll out is going to take some time.

Also, because it’s a new area, there is no form of standardization for contextual advertising.  This means that a lot of people are going to have to find their way through a very steep learning curve.

What are the alternatives to contextual advertising?

There are a couple of cookie-free alternatives to contextual advertising. But most of them aren’t ideal for affiliate partnership program members.

Page signals: On and off page signals – keywords, titles, meta descriptions, image optimization, domain authority – can be used to match content to search intent.

Email: Email is a great advertising tool for affiliates. And if you use it well, email marketing can provide you with a LOT of information. But it will rarely work well alone.

Device type: It is possible to target audiences based upon the type of device they’re using. But this is extremely loose targeting. And it would likely waste your marketing budget.

Like it or not, the cookie ear is coming to an end. And anyone wishing to continue their affiliate program work will have to find new ways of targeting their advertising. In our view, contextual marketing will be one of the greatest affiliate trends for 2023. But only time will tell if we are right!