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Spotting Opportunities to Personalize the Consumer Experience

If you’re in the digital marketing space, even with just a toe in the water, it’s likely that you’ve heard something about personalization. There’s been a lot of coverage of personalization in the digital ecosystem over the last few years, and why it can be an important component of a digital marketing strategy.

In a nutshell, personalization is simply the act of using data about a consumer in order to customize that consumer’s experience with your brand. This could be anything from using a consumer’s first name in the salutation of an email newsletter to including a search keyword in the copy of a landing page so the consumer knows they’ve arrived at a page that is relevant to what they searched. There are certainly more, and more extreme examples, but hopefully that gives you the general idea. The promise of personalization from the consumer perspective is that it can lead to more relevant, and therefore less annoying and intrusive, marketing messages and, ultimately, a more positive brand experience. The promise for advertisers is that it can lead to more effective, and efficient, marketing efforts.

Some personalization efforts are straightforward, and just worth doing in order to provide a positive brand experience. Going back to our example of using a consumer’s name in order to personalize email, dynamic field insertion (probably looking something like {Firstname}) is table stakes for any modern email platform. But once you’re done with the low-hanging fruit, where do you go next with your personalization efforts? There isn’t a single answer, but I like to look for opportunities that would have improved my own personal experience with other brands, and then see how those might be applied to our own business.

We run Facebook campaigns for many of our clients, and Facebook is an ever-evolving platform. As such, it pays for us to keep up on changes to the platform and stay on top of best practices. One of the (many) ways we do that is by subscribing to Facebook IQ, which is a terrific collection of information about how the platform works, how people use it, research papers, etc. Here’s a shot of the home page as found through Google search as I write this:

As I mentioned, I subscribe to their newsletter because I like getting a heads up when new content is added to the site. Here’s a shot of the most recent newsletter in my inbox:

I like to see what’s new, so I click on that first “view insights” link in the email, here is the page I am taken to:

It’s the default home page. To be perfectly clear, that isn’t a bad thing. But, it is a missed opportunity - both to improve my experience as a customer and to increase the value Facebook could generate from this marketing effort.

The primary call-to-action on the home page is to sign up for the newsletter. Since I already subscribe to the newsletter, that CTA is 100% irrelevant to me. That’s the wasted opportunity. Facebook knows I came to the site through a click from the email newsletter – I know they do because I can see the extensive tracking parameters they’ve appended to the click-through URL, a sample of which you can see below:

Everything highlighted in blue is essentially tracking information – so I know that Facebook knows how I got here. Since they know how I arrived, and therefore know the CTA is redundant to me, they could have replaced the newsletter sign-up button with a link to their recent report on incrementality testing, which is probably something I’d be interested in reading. That would have provided more value for me and would have given them some valuable data about my content preferences, which they could then use in future communications.

So again, it isn’t that this interaction damaged my experience or harmed my perception of the brand, it simply represents a missed opportunity. Although, it did provide me with the opportunity to write about spotting potential improvements in personalization campaigns. Hopefully, this will help you build and improve your own personalization efforts. Drop us a line if you want to chat. Thanks!