Five Common Mistakes in Ad Personalization

Ad Personalization
Escola Santa Anna, Flickr

According to a Yahoo survey of 6000 respondents about benefits of a personalized web, they found:
49% thought it saved time
54% thought it was more engaging
52% found it to be more educational
45% thought it was more memorable
“Despite a desire for control and some privacy concerns, fully 78 percent of consumers expressed a desire for some kind of content personalization, with the majority (62 percent) interested in viewing a mix of algorithmic and curated content for a unique experience.”

What is ad personalization?

Ad personalization collects information about website visitors like pages they visited, how long they spent on each page, ads they clicked on, products they browsed, and the search words they used to get there. All of this data can be compile to get personalized ads based on the user’s information. (Learn more about the basics of personalization here).

Here are 5 common mistakes in ad personalization

1. Letting yourself get overwhelmed with the data

When you start thinking about all of the data from ad personalization, you will quickly realize there is a LOT of it. You can easily collect data from thousands of visitors to your website. The data might include shopper’s intent, what products they buy, which pages they visit, and so much more. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the massive amount of data.

With first generation ad personalization services and products, the data was quite overwhelming and frequently IT staff had to be called in to set up the software, databases, website integration, and more.

Like most things, the software and services for ad personalization have improved over time. Now the software does the data collection and heavy lifting for you so you can focus on using the data rather than getting overwhelmed by it.

2. Focusing on profiles, rather than customer intent

If you are doing your job right, the website will be getting a steady stream of new visitors. You typically won’t have any profile information on these people. However, each time they visit your site will give you more information about their intent.

This knowledge of customer intent can be more valuable than knowing their demographics, name, address, and other profile data. By focusing on the visitor’s intent, you can add the additional profile data later. Knowing the visitor’s intent will add depth to their eventual profile and give you a better understanding of your customer.

3. Not learning from search behavior

It’s funny how search can give you great insight into customer intent, but most websites completely ignore it. The search phrase brings the person to your site. This should be the primary driver for the personalized content on your page. Once you know the keyword, make sure that the page is personalized with a metaphorical sign that says, “You’ve found what you are looking for! This is the right place!”

4. Focusing too tightly on website personalization and not enough other channels

Companies spend a lot of time and effort making their website the best it can be. This is great, but not when it’s at the expense of your other ad channels. It’s important to remember that your website is not the only way people interact with their company.

Sometimes you have to step back and focus on the big picture. You need to keep in mind other methods of personalization strategies like email, mobile, and social media. You want to make sure that visitors see a single brand with each of these channels, so they get the same experience regardless of which channel they use.

5. Focusing too heavily on the past instead of today

If you spend all of your time slicing, dicing, and analyzing your data from weeks or even months ago, you’ll miss opportunities. In order to make the most out of ad personalization, you need to focus on real-time data. Modern ad personalization software harvests insight from behaviors that will allow you to see the customer intent on your website right now, instead of what happened weeks ago.

Internet users prefer to have relevant results. These results are mostly possible because of personalized data that is collected about their activities. By carefully avoiding these common mistakes in ad personalization, you can help provide the results they desire.