2015 is the Year of Online Personalization

Similar to the social & mobile revolutions, personalization is a wave that’s building in the world of online marketing and you need to be paying attention. It’s often talked about as this futuristic idea. But, I’m here to say that in 2015 you need to start thinking about how you can leverage data and insight to find, and more effectively engage, your audience by creating personal online experiences that are tailored to their interests.

We live in an attention economy. Just creating content online doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be able to command someone’s attention for very long, if at all.  The players that have been able to stand out and succeed are the ones that are leveraging consumer data to show their users the things they care about, where everyone else is giving a one sized fits all experience.

Example: Advertising

One of the biggest areas that you’ve likely heard or seen the the transformation of personalization play out is in the world of online advertising.  The plethora of data on consumer behavior has allowed advertisers and marketers to identify audiences that are the most likely to buy their products or take a desired action. The advertisement can then be showed to that specific audience.  Previously, advertisers bought advertising space based on where they thought a person was going to spend their time.   Now, advertisers can pay to get in front of a specific audience regardless of the what website it’s on.

As an advertiser, the ability to put the right ad in front of the right set of users based on their interests and context is incredibly exciting.  Otherwise, there’s too big of a chance that I’m wasting my dollars on someone that doesn’t care or isn’t ready for what I’m trying to tell/sell them.  For consumers, they care a whole lot less that it’s an ad if it’s relevant and targeted.

Example: Pandora

But personalization has been able to transcend beyond advertising and transform consumer content experiences as well.  One of the most popular examples is the personalized radio app Pandora.  There they’ve cataloged hundreds of thousands of songs and can match that music to the listener, based on how people have said they like, or dislike, different artists and genres of music. This creates a radio station specially tailored to the type of music you like and want to hear at that moment. It’s made Pandora incredibly successful in capturing and sustaining a massive user base.  Amazon does something similar with online shopping and has created a superior commerce experience.

Finding and Engaging Your Audience

As mentioned above, you live in a world where everyone has a mega phone.  In order to be successful, you have to leverage data to make sure you’re creating a compelling experience and reaching the right audience.  Otherwise, you’re just going to waste a lot of money and get lost amongst the noise.

At AddThis, we were at the forefront of the social and mobile revolutions. Now, we’re excited for 2015 and the year of online personalization.  We’re coming into it with an exciting and growing product suite that can help marketers, agencies, and website owners to find and engage their audiences online in a personal and relevant way that drives meaningful business results.  It all sits upon the world’s biggest data co-op of consumer behavior, which makes it all possible.  Sign up for our website tools or contact us in regards to our advertising products.

  • Pandora and Amazon knows me better than my wife. Cool…

  • Don’t you find that a bit scary…? I do.

  • Sure, Lisa. If you think about a privacy. But if you think about this technology – it’s cool.

  • Sure, Lisa. If you think about a privacy. But if you think about this technology – it’s cool.

  • Well, as a consumer, you’re always in control. If you feel uncomfortable, you can do things like opt out of targeted advertising, clear your cookies, or surf the web in incognito mode in your browser.

    As a publisher, you can choose to not use the tools but I think the ability to leverage the platform will give you a strategic advantage to more effectively further engage your customers.

  • DWJTravel

    There is a flaw in this thinking.
    How are people supposed to be exposed to new things and challenges, if they are always shown the same thing.
    How is someone supposed to develop and grow in experience like this?
    It’s not only advertising, It’s also Google, Youtube and more services like that.

  • Well maybe “not important” isn’t the right word. Let’s say “not contextually relevant.” Saying that, I don’t think what you’re saying and what we’re saying are mutually exclusive. You can still challenge someone with something new but in order for it to be well received it has to be connected in someway to that person’s situation or current context in order for it to be properly received.

    I have a lot of friends that have been telling me about how electronic music is so amazing. I was always so fascinated by how into it they were. They’d suggest I’d try this swedish trance club dance whatever music. It gave me a headache. It was too far of a jump from what I knew and liked already.

    Well, I recently stumbled upon artists like Calvin Harris or Tiesto. They’re more electronic pop. It’s similar to what i know but different. It’s helped act as a gateway to more so fully appreciating the genre of electronic music. You can introduce something new to me but if you want me to be receptive to it you have to tailor it to what my current interests are.

    Another example or situation… sometimes personalization can help you not see content that’s just not appropriate. If I’m a university, my website has content that’s for prospective students, students, faculty/staff, alumni, and sports fans. If I’m a current student, i don’t care about campus tours. I know the campus. I don’t care about when staff will be receiving their W2’s. Those are relevant to other audiences but just noise to me if I’m a student that’s standing in the way of me getting what I want. There’s no benefit to pushing that on me in the “one-sized fits all” approach that websites use now.

  • Hmmm I do too…

  • Max

    until the Skynet robots take over

  • Max

    most people are creatures of habit and too much information oveload may look like spam to them. this method focuses on their repetitiveness to give them what they look for on a regular basis. I know when I go to my favorite Chinese restaurant, I usually order the same things I like that they make even though I know there are lots of other great options to chooses from.

  • DWJTravel

    I don’t like anyone else filtering stuff for me and I’m quite sure most other people find that uncomfortable as well. But in the restaurant – at least – you get TO SEE the other options.
    How about Google and Co. would offer to turn off personalisation as an option?

  • DWJTravel

    I don’t want any algorithm or person decide for me, what I’m supposed to find important. We are from democracies and willingly reduce our freedom and options of choice day by day. It starts with music and other not so important things, but it won’t stop there.
    At least these features in AddThis are not doing this, as you can still use the regular structure of a website, but Google certainly does it by changing your search results for example.

  • Roman Ripa

    Than you too☺

  • jfutral

    I disagree. For all these services, Google, and even Facebook know about me, their suggestions and targeted ads rarely if ever make sense. Seems to me they would be far better than they are for all they (supposedly) know. In tech all the rage is trying to work out predictive experiences. So far it has been a huge bust.