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Personalization Is Just Step One

February 9, 2017 at 11:32 AM by Caroline Watts

If you’re just getting started with personalization, you’re not alone. Many marketers are aware of the growing trend, but most are only beginning to implement it into their advertising strategies.

According to eMarketer, consumers are expecting apps and websites to become more and more tailored to their individual interests and preferences. Consumers also want ads to be valuable, timely, and unobtrusive. Fortunately, as advertising technology evolves, it's becoming easier and easier to create a personalized experience for each member of your target audience.

Personalization is necessary to create relevant, tailored ad experiences, but it's only half the battle. For those of you who have been working on personalization in order to drive higher engagement and more conversions, you’re on the right track. But your work isn’t done just yet.

Personalization Is Important...But It's Only the Beginning

Marketers are starting to take notice of the numerous benefits of personalized ads.  “Personalization can help drive engagement and conversions,” the aforementioned eMarketer report states. “Data from the CMO Council revealed that higher response and engagement rates are the No. 1 reason to use personalized content.” It’s no surprise, then, that 57% of U.S. marketers are interested in leveraging personalized marketing (if they aren't already).

Personalized advertising is extremely effective across industries and products. A retail company, for example, can retarget consumers and serve ads featuring specific items they've recently viewed or are likely to be interested in. A travel company or airline can serve ads based on recent search terms or the user's location. A software company can target unique ads to various cohorts looking at different types of software.

In each example, ads change dynamically based on both first-party data (such as browsing history) or third-party data (such as demographics or location).  It’s an exciting application for programmatic technology especially since we now know that consumers are expecting relevant digital experiences. Still, checking the personalization box is only half the battle.

What's the Next Step? Optimization

It’s not enough to create personalized ads and hope that they’ll engage audiences. Just because an ad is personalized doesn’t mean it’s the best ad you could serve, nor does it guarantee that the ad will lead to brand recognition, recall, or conversions. In order to secure new customers, drive more revenue, and increase brand impact, it’s essential to optimize these personalized ads—and their various components—through continuous experimentation.

Ads contain many elements, but if you aren’t testing all of these elements against each other, it’s impossible to know what’s working and what isn’t. Sure, it’s important to personalize the text of an ad, for example. But many marketers get stuck only focusing on the text. This makes all other components static. In other words, if you don’t personalize the ad concept in addition to the ad text, no one will notice the subtle changes you’ve made to the text, which may be highly personalized but still ineffective.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Personalization is quickly becoming a requirement among marketers hoping to keep up with noisy online and mobile channels. However, it’s only step one. To have an effective audience-based advertising strategy, you also have to think about optimizing and experimenting with different ways to personalize ads, including layout, concept, text, location, etc.

Only once you’ve implemented experimentation into your audience-based advertising strategy will you fully see the benefits of personalization.

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