Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Getting personalisation right in online marketing and commerce

Personalisation is still often seen as the ultimate aim of digital marketing, despite the shine coming off it somewhat recently. NDA is talking to experts in the space for a series of articles on effective personalisation strategies, new technologies and innovations, and best practice approaches.

Charlie Ashe, Creative and Client Success, Audience Store

These are our top tips for getting personalisation right.

1) Use 1st party data (benchmarked vs general population) to understand what your users stand out for. City/ postcode, publications they read, times of day they are active.

2) Combine this with some sound logic/ other data sources to understand their environment. e.g. Wednesday morning vs Saturday afternoon. Weather in that postcode. General mood (could be article they are on, analysis of news stories trending in that area, etc).

3) Create a content strategy that allows you to test what you as a brand say for scenarios on the above. Looking at some branding docs, your social tone of voice etc will help with this.

4) Test this against your metric of success (understand that your metric of success maybe wrong… so check first you’re happy with that).

5) Repeat this, with increasing granularity and speed until the effort outweighs the return, or your content costs get so high that you have no media budget left.

Technology will make this process more scalable without costs, but unless you’re starting to do this already, then you won’t suddenly do it just because you have a technology platform. People probably aren’t doing it currently largely due to a broken measurement model. And my hope is that that measurement model being a bit less rigid post cookie changes will actually open people’s minds to looking at what they want to achieve, not what they can measure.

Illuma Technology Co-Founder Peter Mason

Hyper-personalisation is definitely useful but for many privacy-conscious users, the idea that it’s even possible can be unpalatable.  

More subtle targeting approaches can achieve the same level of targeting relevance and also scale by learning from groups. For example, live contextual signals coming from a group of people that are engaging with a campaign can lead you to many others. 

A sports brand could target people individually that have consumed content about football (using cookies or IDs) as an indicator of likely relevance to the campaign, and try to find them one by one, which would represent personalisation. Alternatively, it could look at everyone engaging with its ads (be it while viewing holiday reviews, recipes or news) regardless of browsing history, and scale out in real time to find similar content, thereby finding similarly relevant audiences with a high likelihood of being in the right contextual moment for the campaign’s messaging.

By working in this way, modern contextual tools like Illuma deliver relevance without one-to-one personalisation, combined with almost-unlimited scale, which is continuously optimised by AI algorithms to maintain performance.

Ross Fobian, CEO of ResponseTap

Customers expect seamless, frictionless experiences. Yet call centres have for too long been stuck in the past, the last bastion of slow, manual processes. Until now the technology hasn’t existed that can personalise phone calls and join the dots between the highly optimised online channels and the offline journey.

A tool like Ember, from ResponseTap, means businesses can now connect the online indicators to the offline experience and create the personalisation people want. Instantaneously analysing multiple data points from the user’s online journey, callers can be automatically matched to the best handler to deal with their call.

So, if the user has been browsing family holidays to Florida, for example, they can instantly be routed to the Florida specialist with the background knowledge to help them complete their booking. This keeps the experience consistent across all channels for the first time. And the results show customers are craving this seamless, personalised experience; one major travel company has seen a 48% boost in call conversion rates since using Ember.