Marketers have their work cut out for them in today’s world, where people see more content in a day than they can remember and brand blindness is the norm. But there is one common solution to this – content that’s so relevant it’s impossible to ignore.
Personalisation is nothing new for marketers, it has been on their agendas for some time now. But unfortunately, it’s not so easy to achieve. This is something marketers need to figure out, as we’re reaching a point where personalisation at the individual level is the only way to connect with an audience, be it via the use of unique offers, experiences, or messages.
All of this presents us with a question – can machines help us to connect with our audiences in meaningful ways?
Personalisation at Scale
To achieve a truly personalised social media strategy, hundreds of man hours would have to be spent on each campaign, every follower would have to be tweeted and a Facebook ad for each person would have to be created.
Because of this, manual personalisation isn’t a sustainable approach, and this is why companies are starting to use digital platforms to personalise marketing communications.
Adoption of personalisation technologies is split, 34% of 459 marketing executives surveyed by the IDC, said that they are using personalisation technologies to a moderate extent, with 32% claiming they’re using them to a great extent, and 10% having completely digitised marketing communications.
Some of the more common tactics for the use of personalisation include emails related personal events such as birthdays, re-engaging based on individual behaviour, communicating new products based on customer preferences and re-targeting campaigns.
It is believed that the next step in personalisation is leveraging machine learning to personalise not only the usual areas but content and design as well. Figuring out how machine learning can impact content in real time is a tricky process, as data must be turned into an experience as soon as a user loads a page or video ad.
It was found that the most commonly personalised element used by marketing executives was images, with 58% of them automating the personalisation of them in marketing communications. More than half said they were also personalising taglines, naming, formatting and colour palettes. At 46%, personalised calls to action led to the greatest satisfaction among respondents.
Many of the personalisation tactics that marketers employ today can only go so far, soon marketers will have to think about how to do this at scale as the demand for a personalised experience on every channel goes up.
Creativity with Machine Learning
Machine learning is a necessary part of true personalisation. Algorithms drill down into relevant data and customise the experience as users engage with content or advertisements. This helps to create a cohesive user journey. For example, if someone clicks on a Facebook advertisement, the next touch point (call to action, colour, etc) could be customised around that product.
Just 14% of marketers are using machine learning applications for personalised communications today. This is number is expected to explode as interest in machine learning grows. Marketing executives believe that personalised content can lead to increase brand awareness, sales revenues, and website traffic.
In time, machine learning is looking to be used for media planning and execution, personalised adverts, and multichannel campaigns. Going from being a point solution to a broader platform that informs every aspect – both tactical and creative – of marketing.
In other industries, using machine learning for content has become the norm. Spotify, for example, creates playlists for each listener using it and Netflix uses specialised genres and media selection.
This means that your audience is already used to personalised content recommendations, so the pressure is on to catch up and supply them with it in every other area. Learning how to incorporate machine learning and data into segmentation and the creative process this year is going to be critical to success.