How Contextual Email Marketing can help you in your next campaign

2018/04/20 09:27

contextual marketing

Lately, we have seen many marketing trends come and go. However, one that proved its worth is contextual marketing. With the advent of mobile devices, customers can be anywhere when they read your emails. As a result, emails have to be able to always adapt to the ever-changing context of your customers. To put it shortly, contextual is by now the new reality of email marketing.

What is Contextual Email Marketing

Contextual email marketing is a specific category of email marketing where you customize the content provided to your customers using several criteria such as their current location, time, history of purchases and many more.

In the last couple of months, more and more brands started to use contextual emails. They provided advanced personalization, animated GIFs, video in email, etc. Hence, it is now clear that, in order to succeed as a digital brand, you need to combine a solid strategy with the right technology.

How can I apply it to my campaigns?

Contextual marketing can help your business stand out and, even if the possibilities are endless, we come up with few examples:

Package tracking

Nowadays there is a strong competition in almost every industry. With so many similar products on market, customers are finding very hard to differentiate between the available options and decide which product or service should they spend their money on. By providing them value added services such as real-time shipping information, you will relieve them from the burden of checking other specialized tracking websites. Hence, your company will provide a unique advantage that will differentiate yourself from the crowd.

Embed Video in Email

You can gain more engagement from your email subscribers by embedding a video directly into your email messages. By doing so, you can provide them with in-depth information about your products or services without asking them to follow a link.

Live countdown timers

Another good method to foster customer’s engagement is to include an element of time in your email messages. It is a simple technique that is proved to incite action on behalf of the recipients.

Types or examples of Contextual Email Marketing

The last couple of years brought us important changes on how we deal with our email messages. For example, Apple’s iOS 10 update introduced support for video in email. Also, Google added responsive design for Gmail. As a result, more companies embraced contextual emails to provide their customers with highly personalized messages.

Let’s have a look at a few examples that could provide you with inspiration for your next campaigns.

Personalization (Spotify)

Spotify used their data to create two personalized email campaigns. One was designed for their listeners and provided snapshots of their favorite artists, and the other one was aimed at artists themselves and showcased how much of their music the fans managed to stream.

Needless to say, both the fans and the artists enjoyed the idea and shared the images countless times on social media.

How to use this idea: You can connect with your customers by helping them build their unique connection with your brand. You can also make the most out this idea by using it as a reactivation campaign for inactive users.

Real-time Order Tracking (Philosophy)

All companies know that customers always anxiously await the delivery of their packages. But few of them have used this knowledge to their advantage. Philosophy is one of the first companies that provided live tracking in their email messages. With Philosophy, you don’t have to search on another website. Just re-open the confirmation message and enjoy the live tracking functionality.

How to use this idea: You can make your customer’s life easier by providing real-time order tracking in your email message. Let them know that it is as simple as just re-open the email and see an up to date status of their last order.

Short Video (Vidyard)

By adding a video with the customer’s name in the email message, Vidyard surprised its subscribers and delighted them at the same time. This was one of the most attention-grabbing campaigns we know of in the last couple of years.

How to use this idea: Just try to embed a play button over a still video in your email messages. Once clicked, it will open the full video.

Up to date content (E-Bay)

In order to drive even more customers to their products page, the company decided to send smart emails that automatically pulled information from their website. When opened, the email always showed prices and product details that were always up to date. Also, E-Bay managed to personalize the messages to contain the user’s name and their location.

How to use this idea: You can make sure that your email content is always consistent with your website offering by using smart emails that pull content from your server and update the message automatically when it’s opened.

Animated GIFs (Headspace)


Headspace, a meditation app, come up with the brilliant idea to promote one of their New Year deals with a GIF that was bot unusual but also right to the point. Instead of listing many benefits of their products they choose to focus on a simple and eye-catching message.

How to use this idea: You can also easily benefit from animated GIFs. For example, use them to depict a product in action or an app update. Just don’t forget to keep them simple to avoid confusing your subscribers.


As we have seen, there are endless opportunities to use contextual email. It is important to always keep in mind that contextual email marketing always creates new opportunities for personalization that will allow your business to differentiate from the crowd. Even with a filled Inbox, a user will open and read an engaging message that takes the interaction to a whole new level.