Breaking the myths of personalization

Moustafa Khairi

Junior Data Scientist

thought leadership

Do you like cooking or are you perhaps following YouTube channels for cooking inspiration? Maybe you appreciate good movies or indulge yourself with your favorite series on Netflix? Do you listen to music on Spotify while commuting? Or maybe you like making use of every single minute of your time and prefer listening to podcasts? Whatever type of person you are, it is likely that you use one of the services above on a daily basis. Now the question is, what is common for all of these? A valid answer could be content recommendation systems and personalization.  In this blog, we will tackle personalization myths and how personalization can contribute to successful business growth. This blog post is based on a personalization chat between Mikael Gummerus, CEO at Frosmo and Thomas Granelund, Head of CRO at dentsu Finland.  

Myth #1: Personalization is not critical for your business success

Many of nowadays quickly growing businesses such as Netflix, Spotify and more, use data-driven solutions and personalization to provide a best possible customer experience. This tactic aims to achieve higher conversion rates. There are various specialized tools that can provide personalization features for websites, such as Frosmo.

Myth #2: Personalization has no impact on advertising Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)

Many companies spend a lot of money to attract people to visit their website. A main challenge for companies is to retain engaged users; a strategy that should be seen equally important as attracting them in the first place. Personalization is a key solution to this challenge as it can bring an added value to the customers.

Myth #3: Personalization = Recommendations

While recommendations and personalization share many common factors, they are not the same thing. To simplify, we can say that personalization is a more generic term that includes recommendations. Product recommendations, personalized search, digital sales assistants, shopping carts and many more, represent different types of personalized experiences.

Myth #4: Personalization is only possible for recognized users

Providing a personalized experience for new users is a common obstacle, but luckily there are different workarounds to overcome this challenge. The challenge is based on the lack of data or info about those users. Data such as device types, time of the day, geography, traffic source, and third-party data, can be used to identify new customers’ preferences and interests.

Myth #5: We don’t have the right tools and skills for personalization

While having some technical competence is required in order to get the tools up and running, the technology aspect is not the main factor that should be considered. Consulting a professional with domain expertise may be necessary to create a success out of the personalization development process. This, in order to guide the process in the right direction. At dentsu, we have experts who can help with asking the right questions and utilizing the companies’ resources to match personalization needs.

Myth #6: Personalization is possible with e-commerce platform’s features

Having one tool that does everything regarding content, personalization etc. is not realistic by any means. While most Content Management Systems (CMS) or e-commerce tools have built-in personalization features, they may not fully be suitable for long-term or large-scale projects. Using AI-driven personalization solutions designed specifically to fit business purposes is our suggestion.

Myth #7: A/B testing = Personalization

It is understandable that people confuse A/B testing with personalization. However, they are not the same thing, but rather work hand in hand. A/B testing is one of many tools that can be used to test a personalization feature by running an experiment for a for a shorter period of time, targeted to a specific user segment. So, a key difference is that personalization usually is an ongoing process.

Myth #8: The results of personalization initiatives are hard to prove

‘Figures do not lie but liars figure.’ Once you have the data in place and metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs), you can simply compare results between the personalized and no-personalized experience. Personalization influence should be clear.

Myth #9: Getting started with personalization requires a large IT project and a lot of resources

Personalization should not be that difficult to start with, especially if you have professionals with expertise to give you guidance in this area. Instead of being a headache, personalization actually automates a lot of manual work in the long run. As mentioned previously, personalization is an ongoing process which means it requires monitoring. On the other hand, the more you invest in it, the better the customer experience gets.

Myth #10: Personalization messes up the SEO ranking and the visibility on organic search

Google encourages constant optimization of your website for a better customer experience. Frosmo did extensive experiments using different personalization approaches to monitor its impact on search engine visibility and Google Lighthouse scores. They found out that when it is executed using the latest browser technologies, it has a positive impact on ranking scores and the metrics above.

If you would like to hear more about personalization or customer experience optimization, please feel free to reach out!

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Henri Maunuksela

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