3 Personalization Pitfalls to Avoid

By Celtra


Would you rather spend the day reading a book by your favorite author or one about a topic that puts you to sleep?  The former of course. And this is why personalization matters. The average American spends 24 hours a week on the internet. Ads are an inevitable part of this environment, so relevancy is not only beneficial to advertisers but to your experience as well. 

IAB reports that consumers want fewer, yet more personalized ads. Likewise, Epsilon found that ⅘ of consumers are more likely to make purchases following a personalized experience. Not only is this the preferred method, it’s the expected one. As such, Segment’s survey reports that 71% of consumers express frustration that their shopping experiences are too impersonal.

As a marketer, you already know that personalization is crucial. Yet, before applying this approach to all of your campaigns and efforts, there are a few risks to be cautious about. Certainly, a personal touch is one of your best strategies for catching the attention of your audience. What you need to be mindful about though, is what type of attention you’re attracting. Here are the biggest errors to avoid when looking to inspire the right kind of awe in your ads

1. Invasion of the data collectors 

Everyone is concerned about web privacy. It’s easier than ever for companies, individuals–really anyone to obtain your personal information. Understandably, this makes internet users uncomfortable, 17% of them in the US and Europe say it’s unethical for online activity to be tracked for personalizing ads. 

Clearly, ads which are overtly using this data will be met with aversion. However in contrast, ads which are tactful with this information will be able to still reap the benefits of personalization without spooking their audience. Unsure what that looks like? Check out these hilarious “Creepy Marketing” examples. In these instances marketers definitely missed the mark on balancing how much data should be revealed and applied. 

2. Reemergence of the recently bought item  

Everyone’s had an experience like this–you just bought a new pair of boots and you log onto Facebook to see that exact pair in your feed. Such incidents make technology seem laughably simple. It’s evident that your browsing has been tracked, thrown back towards you, and now it’s essentially haunting you. Of course, this doesn’t make for a compelling ad experience. 

This phenomenon reveals the reality that personalized advertising is still in the early stages. Luckily, a Demand-Side Platform (DSP) software can help avoid this type of retargeting while enhancing your overall Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) plan.  

3. Personalization doesn’t equal best interest 

In a report titled Five Fears About Mass Predictive Personalisation in an Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Karen Yeung, an Interdisciplinary Professorial Fellow at the University of Birmingham, points to a significant concern when assuming preferences. 

“Because the individual has not explicitly stated her preferences and interests about the service in question (indeed, she may not want the service at all), predictive personalization techniques may not be in the interests of the customer. Predictive profiling systems employ ‘nudging’ techniques which intentionally seek to exploit the systematic tendency of individuals to rely on cognitive heuristics or mental short-cuts in making decisions, rather than arriving at them through conscious, reflective deliberation.”

Yeung calls attention to the fact that consumers might reject predictive personalization because it doesn’t give them much liberty in the decision making process. Meaning, ads that actually empower consumers with choice are likely to elicit a positive reaction, while a presumptive approach likely won’t perform as well. Marketers can accomplish this messaging by abstaining from being overly-specific, even when speaking to a very specific group. Or, they may offer more thought-provoking and value-based, rather than nudging, content. 

Putting your best personalization forward 

Personalizing digital ad campaigns has become a necessary, albeit challenging, practice. Only with the right mix of technology, tactics, and messaging, can marketers truly find the sweet spot which captivates their audience. Achieving the right level of personalization takes continuous upkeep. But you can begin by avoiding palpably data-driven messages, engineering sophisticated retargeting, and nudging maneuvers.

Ready to find the right balance of personalized content? Contact us today.

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