Social Media, Technology

Personalisation: The good, the bad and the ugly

Personalisation should be relevant, unique and convenient and it’s proven to be mutually beneficial for customers and businesses. Nevertheless, issues such as users’ privacy or data concerns and companies’ lack of experience and knowledge constitute the main barriers to executing personalisation effectively.

And as Blondie might say: “In this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend”…Those with a clear personalisation strategy and those who have no idea how to do it. Which kind are you?

The Good

An astonishing 94% of companies agree that personalisation is critical to current and future success but unfortunately just half of them are personalising the web experience for visitors.

The benefits are clear: companies who are personalising web experiences are seeing, on average, a 19% uplift in sales. Some companies are stating that they’re seeing up to a 25% uplift. And customers seem to be more than happy to share data if that means targeted offers and a better experience for them; 63% even say they would spend more money with a company that uses their data to create relevant offers and a good shopping experience.

Here some other stats for different digital channels:

– Personalised emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%
– Campaigns that used location targeting are twice as effective, with 80% of mobile internet users preferring ads relevant to them locally
– Social retargeting gets 21x higher CTR over web retargeting and CPC reduced 79%
– 32% reduction in channel tune away at ad breaks when people were shown addressable TV advertising

The Bad

Worryingly, 75% of marketers say personalisation across all channels in the organisation is still in the planning stages and it faces several barriers; the main ones being:

– Lack of knowledge (54%)
– Inability to translate data into action (51%)
– Lack of budget (44%)
– Lack of staff (44%)

In conclusion, there is still a skill gap within the companies to carry out effective personalisation across all channels and even in some cases e.g. TV, there is not enough market base to profitable targetable ads campaigns (there are not enough households that are enabled with Addressable TV, then companies won’t be able to make much of an impact).

The Ugly

Targetable ads imply big data and data is a sensitive subject. Consumer online privacy concerns are growing with six in ten internet users more concerned about their privacy online. 69% consider it creepy the way brands use their personal data and 36% would prefer it if their website activity wasn’t tracked.

61% of consumers say that if a company they deal with continually sends them irrelevant communications that do not take into account information that it should have, they would probably stop purchasing from that firm.

Moreover, nearly two-thirds of online consumers in the U.K. feel that they are targeted by excessive digital advertising and promotions, bringing a big challenge for marketers who understand the importance of personalisation but who really need to find a clever way to do it across all channels without being impertinent, stalking and making the customer experience another creepy unavoidable process.

Since the mainstream popularity of the internet at the turn of the century, it’s become inextricably linked with advertising and year on year a higher percentage of companies’ advertising budgets are spent on digital media, last year in the UK £6bn were spent on digital media advertising, where more than £1 in £4 of ad budgets were spent online. The Good of personalisation embraces this inevitability and helps ensure content is relevant to us all. The Bad of personalisation means that because it’s a still-developing tool, it may be some time before people really see consistently relevant content and companies may spend billions in a scattergun approach before getting it right. The Ugly of personalisation still leaves people unsettled as it’s one step a bit too closer to an Orwellian state of consumerism where privacy is no longer sacred.

So for you, today, is personalisation Good, Bad or just a bit Ugly?

Social Media

Who took my cookies?

If you are reading this, the chances are you could be worried about your privacy online. Nevertheless, I strongly believe the only time people in general are worried or conscious about it is when there’s breaking news like the “government of the USA spying on us” which happened 2 months ago.


If you use social media, you will have agreed to their “terms or conditions” which is basically them saying “we give you a free service and in exchange we’ll take your data”.


According to the Economist Intelligence Unit report “Mind the Marketing Gap“, some 21% of consumers say they are very concerned about the privacy of information contained in e-mail communications with vendors. My point of view is that people don’t actually seem worried about the fact that all online activity is being recorded by pages, search engines, even email providers. The cookies policy is well-established but according to a survey of 500 internet users by Sequential Media, only 11% percent of users block cookies.

Cookies monitor browsing behaviour. But are there more pros or cons of being monitored?

I have to think very carefully to come up with the pros of blocking cookies: yes, privacy, but what is privacy other than choosing to not share your personal data? If you are determined to be off the radar, simply do not engage in social media or do it anonymously.

My conclusion is that nobody is truly anonymous in the internet. No matter how hard you may try.


Finally, I’d like to ask: Do you feel like you’re being watched? Do you really care?