What really is contextual video? And what makes it different from personalised video?

There’s a simple answer. Although contextual and personalised video have a lot in common, there is a crucial difference – contextual video draws on a much broader range of data.

While personalised video utilises information about individuals to create content that addresses them personally, contextual content also pays attention to the circumstances that surround them – such as the weather, temperature, day of the week, local events, nearby locations, trending topics, and so on. In fact, the range of contextual variables that can be drawn on is limited only by what data is available – so brands can tailor their input depending on their campaign.

Why is contextual video important?

When it comes to marketing, brands and agencies are always looking for the best way to connect with their audiences. As in real life, stronger connections come about when brands get to know the people they want to reach – which is where data comes into play.

Contextual video takes that all-important data, combines it with powerful narratives and high-impact creative assets, and provides consumers with the information and product recommendations that are most likely to meet their immediate needs.

Contextual video in practice

Say you want to promote a sportswear brand online, but want to do more than just advertise the same item to everyone in the same way.

A personalised video will take into account individual demographic information and purchase history to customise the product recommendation (and sometimes also the narrative for delivery).

Contextual video, on the other hand, goes a step further; adapting to also reflect your users’ contextual information. This can be done in a multitude of ways. For example, someone in a rainy part of the country will get a narrative and a product recommendation that are tailored to keeping warm and dry in the rain – while someone in a place that’s warm and sunny will see content based on keeping cool and enjoying the outdoors.

In other campaigns, ads may feature directions to consumers’ nearest stores, promote upcoming local events, or integrate trending data.

The benefits

With contextual video, people don’t just get adverts for things that data suggests they’ll like – but also things that they are likely to want or need, based on their immediate circumstances. Which means creating an instant connection between brand and consumer – as well as connecting with them at a time when they have an increased motivation to purchase.

What’s more, as the data changes, so do the ads. So people will see different content from one day to the next – again, always tailored to address who they are and what’s happening around them.

Reaching audiences in today’s crowded market is all about understanding what matters to them. Contextual video allows brands to leverage today???s most essential content format, while drawing on more data than ever to connect on a personal level.


At Spirable, we’re pioneering the use of contextual video to serve high-performing ads across CRM and social channels, at scale. Get in touch for more information on how we can help you.