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How contextual advertising helps IT companies market themselves

Communication with buyers in the IT industry is built early on by drawing attention to the solution or service, informing them about its features and capabilities. You can’t sell a product that potential customers don’t need. But they can be offered contextual advertising and content that can enhance the professional experience.

What is contextual advertising for IT and why is it needed?

When a user has an enquiry or interest, they search for information on the internet. Contextual advertising is shown for a specific need or situation. It is tied to search queries and pent-up demand (queries entered by users earlier).

Contextual advertising for IT

18 steps on how to promote yourself in the IT marketplace

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    Contextual advertising for IT

    18 steps on how to promote yourself in the IT marketplace

    Context is based on search query frequency, user interests, audience characteristics. It is often the first point of contact between the client and the brand, and when using a marketing plan – a tool for building loyalty, attracting and retaining customers.

    The task of contextual advertising is to catch the “hot” CA, redirect to the landing page, stimulate an application or call. The more competition, the higher the need to be at the top of the search results, which means a high cost of clicks and leads. Advertising is needed to collect bids, increase awareness of the IT brand.

    Effective mechanics for getting traffic from contextual advertising

    Mechanics 1

    The first mechanics consists of three steps: registration, getting a confirmed phone number, using the number in a look-a-like service. How to do this, if it is difficult to sell a product that is unknown in the market, relying solely on contextual advertising. In this case, mechanics are used to attract traffic to the initial registration on the web resource. In this case, the product is given in a limited functionality, and the primary task is to obtain customer contacts.

    Let’s consider an example when a company sells a complex product. At the first level of the funnel there is an attraction to the product website. On it, it is important to get the registration of a customer who doesn’t understand what the product is at all, but who could potentially become a paid subscriber. That is, the first step to get into the sales funnel is to get the customer’s contact details. This will require making optimisations on registrations and coming up with marketing bundles that will drive registrations.

    At the first level of the funnel it is not about sales, it is enough to attract those who will simply register on the website. How can you motivate the customer? Add gamification elements to the funnel. For the first step – registration – the client is awarded 1000 virtual points.

    The second step is to motivate the client to take additional actions. Let’s assume that once on the site, the user goes through registration, during which he is asked to leave his email address. At this stage he has a choice. It is possible to pay and leave no more information on the site except the registration email, which is the login.

    But there is another option – to add more detailed information about yourself (email + phone number for sms-messages), and get additional accrual of virtual points. And if for the left e-mail address he gets 1000 points, the detailed information brings already 5000 points. He can spend them on studying the functionality of the service.

    Gamification closes several problems. The company receives a confirmed mobile phone and email address in the database and at the same time gets rid of unwanted spam registrations, because if you enter only by email, the functionality will be limited, not allowing you to use the service with full efficiency. Therefore, the user either deliberately pays for the service and does not leave contacts, or tests it for free, leaving contact details.

    It is good to use artificial intelligence in filtering spam registrations in order to attract users to advertising and determining the optimal mechanics in order to enrich the customer database for targeting. This, in turn, will come in handy for other marketing systems.

    The mechanics seem simple, but later on it has a strong impact on the results. It collects a database, which is then thrown into a look-a-like service that searches for users with interests similar to the owners of those phones whose numbers are collected in the database. In this way, the base from one channel contributes to the “learning” of another advertising channel.

    This method works equally well with both Russian and foreign advertising, but only if audience targeting is not prohibited. For example, in the US and Europe, there are a number of topics that are closed to these functions.

    Mechanics 2

    Cool expert content that focuses on a specific topic. These include complex analytical articles that are interesting to the target audience. In this case, contextual advertising is chased not only by search queries, but from a wide targeting via contextual/media/targeted advertising.

    For this purpose, an expert review is written – for example, for a finance service, it could be an article about comparing several stock portfolios. Access to the beginning of the material is opened for reading (up to 1/5), but you can read it to the end only after free registration on the site. As a result, the company retains the client’s contacts, which they target with an email chain, where they sell the service itself or services in direct or related segments, and build up a base of email addresses.

    Both the first and second mechanics for the sales funnel are long-term. They involve advertising, user registration in the service, warming up with expert emails and various tricks, for example, on how the service can be used, etc.

    Mechanics 3

    Industry solution bundles and hyper-segmentation are great for registering with SaaS services. Bundles are an advert + key + meanings on the landing page. Due to well-chosen bundles you can get much higher conversion rates (higher than the market average not by per cent, but by orders of magnitude).

    We advise you to use for hypersegmentation a landing page with substituted elements or a series of static landings. In this case, the client is severely restricted in registering on the landing page – there are no company phone numbers or emails. Only one big “Register” button is available.

    Imagine that the call centre takes calls, but it is necessary to get in touch with the client, performing a service function. There is a solution – communication via messengers, with automation of messaging, dialogues, hierarchies between operators. As a result, the product is one, but it was made industry-specific at the level of the branding, in this case it is designed for the call centre. And then the same product was adapted to automate technical support responsible for complex services or services.

    For example, a client has many questions when implementing an ERP system. When the implementation has already covered 1000 companies, questions are asked continuously. This requires automation of the technical support and communication system. At the initial stage of a company’s development, it is acceptable to use standard mechanics – to receive requests by e-mail or phone. When the company grows, it needs messengers, requests must be divided into different streams, and the history of correspondence must be quickly retrieved.

    As a result, the same platform used in the call centre and technical support is adapted depending on market needs and packaged differently, with different functionality and composition. As a rule, the “slicing” of one product goes to 5-10 industry solutions, causing an increase in conversions. When crowds of casual users come to the site for broad queries, the conversion rate is 5-7%.

    By dividing the product into industry solutions you can achieve conversion rates above 8%, reaching a maximum performance of 12-18%. That’s a huge increase for the same advertising spend! To achieve such figures, it is enough to create a dozen lendings, dividing traffic, sense and registrations.

    An excellent addition to this mechanics is SEO-strategy to write a lot of expert articles, close in subject matter, but with nuances. It involves creating targeted content about the product for each audience segment: how it helps, for example, to automate a call centre or technical support for an ERP system provider.

    Next, retargeting is set up for all the materials, which leads to landing pages. This is necessary to cover the entire range of information requests and use the mechanics of creating expert articles described above. An article is taken, traffic from paid advertising is poured on it, and the same audience is used for hyper-segmentation and sending it to a landing page.

    For example, an article about call-centres was launched, and targeted traffic about call-centres flowed to it, from which the audience was retargeted and sent to a web site dedicated only to call-centres. At the same time, the product is suitable for both call centres and ERP-systems, but it was fragmented into many directions to get a bonus – clients will come from both organic articles and paid traffic.

    Mechanics 4

    End-to-end analytics services are not only marketing services, but also selling DMP data as a result of actively parsing thousands of websites. Having permission to process data, services like Roistat resell this data to larger players in an anonymised format.

    Offloading involves only anonymised data – for example, “women who visit the metro and use an iPhone between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays”. Providers, including data providers and end-to-end analytics services, have such information. They store user data and know their behavioural patterns.

    From the point of view of IT marketing, this is a great opportunity to buy user slices – “SaaS users”, “IT people travelling around the world”. In this case, you are buying not just data, but a ready-made professional sample that you can load into marketing systems and make the necessary cut.

    These mechanics are the most expensive, as you have to pay the data provider, build the advert and test it, given that it is not a direct demand. In fact, it is a sub-species of targeted advertising.

    How context helps to attract traffic for IT services

    When it comes to services, you need a completely different approach to bundle solutions. Let’s look at the approaches in more detail.

    Attracting interesting chips in the mailing list and getting contact details in exchange for useful information. For example, you need to promote a complex service for creating mobile applications. The mechanics involve exchanging a contact phone number for a checklist that engages in the sales funnel. There are many variants of checklists, the main thing is that it should have a relevant topic.

    After the user receives information about how one should choose a contractor for mobile app development, the company’s internal processes, approach to work, client experience and the results of cooperation with the contractor for the client (growth of metrics, indicators, revenue). Broadcasting bare figures is an unsuccessful solution, you should always show the client’s profit.

    In this case, a wide range of bundles with contextual/media/targeted and search advertising are used. With the right setup, such mechanics brings good results – the cost of each subscriber inside the funnel is only a few dollars. How much it will bring in the future is a separate question: someone will give nothing, and someone will sign a contract for a year of development.

    Selling services by block. Let’s assume that there is a ready-made landing page or a quiz, where there is a specific task to sell a service with a certain cost. If the service is geo-linked (app development in Stockholm/Paris), then these geo-queries will work better than others.

    Any abstract queries such as “development price”, “develop an app” are good, but in conjunction with geo their conversion rate increases dramatically. All transactional keys (“price”, “buy”, “estimate”, “turnkey”) and geo are at the top of the funnel. There may be many variations in the overall semantic core, but only 5-15 keys really bring conversion.

    A personalised bundle can be created artificially. In this case, a regional company can advertise for a larger city, buying a city code or a universal number and adapting the site to it. For example, the offer looks like a product for a large city, and the advert is launched for Frankfurt, appearing on geo-requests just for Frankfurt. As a result, it picks up more expensive customers by offering lower prices due to its placement in the region.

    The bigger the market, the higher its potential, the more competition, and the more money you have to spend on advertising. Geo-optimisation and personalisation gives high results for selling IT services. For large advertising campaigns it is necessary to buy a number for each big city, create a sub-lending with a unique address (at least a virtual one). It should be displayed on Google.Maps. This is only at first glance a simple job. In fact, under the tip of the iceberg lies a long and painstaking labour to pass moderation, confirm addresses in advertising systems, etc.

    The conversion rate will increase at least 2-3 times simply because there is a regional number. If personalisation is reinforced by automated chats, this brings an additional percentage of conversion.

    Further, all incoming calls are consolidated into a single call centre, PBX and CRM. In this case, the processing of primary customers will cost a little, for example, $0,54 per call. At the same time, pure qualified requests already come from the call centre to the sales department. Such a funnel collects clients from all over the country and runs them through the call centre, and the sales department already processes the client on the products and services of interest. According to such mechanics it is realistic to get 50-300 leads per day.

    What to pay attention to when launching contextual advertising for IT

    The launch of contextual advertising takes into account the following points:

    • IT products and services are described in simple language;
    • queries are divided by types of services;
    • low-frequency and conversion queries are prioritised;
    • IT companies (IT solutions) are chosen by specialists, while purchasing decisions are made by managers (there should be a presentation for managers on the landing/marketing funnel);
    • high competition or limited demand (and here alternative approaches should be found);
    • remarketing is customised for each segment of the target audience, taking into account the specifics;
    • queries, conversions and optimisation options are constantly analysed.

    It is not always possible to get a quick return from the moment of launch, instant targeted traffic, calls, sales. They will increase in any case, but stable growth is possible only months after the funnel is “filled” with users.

    For an advertising campaign to be effective, you need to find out the growth points and then collect data on them and analyse them. The cost of traffic in this case turns out to be considerable. Investments in contextual advertising when promoting IT companies, their services and products are justified if marketers understand the target audience, are able to come up with and select creatives, and find ways to motivate users to contact them.

    There are always many risks, as well as factors that affect the final result. Advertising should be launched with a comprehensive marketing strategy developed for the company (its product) as a whole.

    The return on advertising is related to the right set of keywords, adjusted communication with the target audience, GEO, the chosen bid strategy and taking into account the difficulties of promotion in the niche. Only in this case, a stable growth of incoming applications to the site for a long time is ensured. Conversion rates, cost and number of leads are evaluated to assess the effectiveness of the work.

    Features of contextual advertising for IT include:

    • Emphasis on a ready-made solution to the customer’s pain, rather than on the qualities of the IT product. The more needs that can be covered and problems solved, the wider the target audience will be.
    • High competition and cost per click. It is impossible to guess the cost per conversion in advance, but you can choose smart strategies when assigning bids.
    • Narrow target audience, low efficiency in contextual media and advertising search networks. The need to select semantics that reflect the problems of CA. Predominant work with search queries.
    • Minimisation of non-targeted traffic, constant expansion of the list of minus-words, rejection of irrelevant queries.

    Contextual advertising

    Conversion is not only counted by the last clicks, but also compares the dynamics of receiving applications since the launch of the advertising campaign. In some cases, context is a tool for distributing content, showing the target audience useful articles and cases, acting as one of the stages of converting a user into a client.

    In the IT sphere it is difficult to sell something quickly and spontaneously, outside of the budget and decision-makers’ attitudes. At the same time, good communication is built at the intersection of emotionality and rationality. Alternatively, running adverts emphasises the personalised value of solutions and products. Personalisation of communication shows how customer problems are solved according to their needs (one and the same product can cover different pains of different segments of the target audience, i.e. it can be “packaged” for 3-5 segments of CA without significant changes in the product).

    Communication with potential customers can be:

    • commercial (with a demonstration of the offerer), designed for a warmed-up audience, already loyal to the brand, studying cases and trusting the level of expertise;
    • informational, introducing users to cases and expert articles. This is a universal type of communication that allows you to reach a “cold” audience, fuelling interest with content.

    When setting up contextual advertising for IT businesses, end-to-end analytics are often used. Performance is assessed by associated conversions, multi-channel sequences, engagement and behavioural metrics. Collecting results and analysing them clearly demonstrates the volume, quality and value of customers gained before and after the launch of contextual advertising.

    The study of behavioural metrics (bounce rate, duration of views, micro-conversions, number of pages viewed) helps to assess the quality of the traffic received, advertisements, and content displayed.

    Frequent mistakes when launching contextual advertising:

    • preoccupation with broad targeting, high-frequency queries, resulting in a large number of irrelevant appeals;
    • excessive tendency to use only highly specialised queries, because there are niches for which the search demand is minimal and it is difficult to select targeting;
    • small budget volume, in which it is difficult to collect information on clicks, traffic, growth points;
    • lack of analytics, constant analysis of the launched advertising campaigns and the quality applications received from each of them;
    • poor or no “last click” optimisation, as setting up effective advertising involves constant work with bids and accounting for associated conversions.

    Mistakes of launching contextual advertising

    It’s a common mistake to try to expand semantics instead of web analytics. This is a wrong decision – you don’t need to have a million keys to drive traffic.

    Collecting semantics is obligatory, but to launch in search at the same time 15 topics found for the semantic core requires a huge budget. Therefore, it is recommended to start with transactional keys. You can scale up only after the bundles begin to bring tangible results.

    In contextual advertising, accuracy is always important! Sometimes it is better to get 100 conversions on one key than 1000 – on all the others. From bad traffic conversion will always be 0.3-0.5%, and from good traffic – 10-20%.

    We recommend analysing semantics on a short distance. If the information on sales comes to the analytics not earlier than in 1.5 months, it is impossible to manage context effectively. In practice, especially at first, management is done only on leads.

    It is extremely important that the sales department, working on leads from contextual advertising, give feedback on the client (how interested and adequate he is). Otherwise, in 1-2 months you can drain a huge budget on irrelevant applications.

    For example, when launching an advertising campaign there are excellent links and they instantly get 10 applications with a good average cheque. But tracking them over a distance of two weeks, it becomes clear that there are no sales. This means that customers have decided to get a free consultation on a service. In order not to drain the budget, you need to switch off almost 90% of advertising requests that bring empty requests.

    How to create an optimal contextual advertising strategy for an IT company

    Algorithm of work with contextual advertising:

    • determining a measurable result, setting a goal, creating a media plan;
    • conducting a site audit, setting up analytics systems;
    • collecting target requests, defining the target audience, positioning, creating creatives;
    • setting up test advertising campaigns, targeting;
    • control of campaign efficiency, prompt corrections;
    • evaluation of results by KPI, ROI, CPL.

    Context is one of the elements of marketing. Before an advertising campaign is launched, the IT market is studied, consumer problems are clarified, and a unique selling proposition is created for each segment of the CA.

    It is necessary to prepare separate landing pages and content, which are analysed with CRO in mind. In IT it is necessary to have a reputation of an expert, otherwise a potential client will prefer a competitor, as there are a lot of offers on the market.

    When collecting semantics and setting up targeting, traffic to IT services is always more, the queries are high-frequency. When working with narrow queries the cost of traffic increases, but relevance and conversions are higher. The choice of the optimal variant is determined by the results of testing. You should strive for the golden mean to increase conversion in IT topics. To attract leads, it is important to detail queries and create themes for landing pages.

    Contextual advertising for IT

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      Optimisation is constantly carried out, display conditions are checked, minus words are updated, ads are updated, and new hypotheses are tested. To refine data collection, analytics systems are regularly refined.

      Due to the fact that contextual advertising works to build a strong brand, it can also be used to attract prospective IT specialists to the company.

      When working with a complex IT product, it is necessary to provide the client with maximum information, removing many objections in advance. The timeframe for achieving results and the amount of expenditure on contextual advertising depends on the specifics of the company and the tasks set.


      Petr Dzyuba

      IT marketing expert

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