In the Battle of Content Personalization Vs. Segmentation, Individualization Wins


A consistent theme for today’s marketers is the significance of content that is both personalized and timely.
Historically, reaching customers where they are and with content that interests them is easier said than done, as most so-called personalization engines need a real living person to outline relevant segments and content sequences, based on that marketer’s interpretation of the customer journey. However, these segments and content sequences are based on the marketer’s view and not the customer’s, so it’s not actually personalization, it’s segment marketing.
Organizations have segmented everything from email and website experiences to direct mail, focusing content, offers and messaging on smaller audiences based on demographic, geographic or behavioral characteristics. But this method is neither precise nor effective. However, when marketers hone in on behavior triggers, response rates significantly increase. It takes time for marketers to set up and optimize these segments, not to mention the difficulty of getting to 100 segments and managing 100 different sequences. Most marketers max out at 8 segments. Add in optimization and the workload quadruples, making real-time personalization a pipe dream.
Actual real-time personalization delivers content that is as unique and personalized as a human fingerprint, based on a person’s content consumption history across multiple channels…delivered in real-time.
However, as true personalization has gained traction and visibility in recent years, many marketers still confuse it with segmentation.

Segmentation Constraints

While segmentation helps marketers increase the relevancy of emails and website experiences and raises general engagement, the drawback is that the level of personalization is limited in order to ensure the content appeals to the entire audience. Segmentation is also labor-intensive. The more segments marketers create, the greater the workload. And, since content delivery is based on campaign management time, segmentation also restricts a marketer’s ability to deliver content in real time, thereby limiting its relevance to users.

True Content Personalization

Even though marketers have been mistaking segmentation for personalization for years, customers these days still expect personalized content experiences from brands. True personalization means content is:

  1. Personalized to a segment of ONE
  2. Refreshed in real time based on individual characteristics or profiles
  3. Updated based on a user’s behaviors and preferences

This is what OneSpot calls “individualization.” Current marketing technology enables marketing organizations to understand customers as individuals, including their unique preferences and behaviors. Based on these individualized insights, marketers can provide meaningful content experiences for users.

Individualization Works

When it comes to ROI, delivering individually personalized content leads to significantly higher engagement and conversion rates.

For example, 150 year-old soup brand Campbell’s used personalization technology to deliver individualized content experiences on Campbell’s Kitchen’s website and in email campaigns, creating the optimal content experience for every individual on their homepage, recipe pages, product pages and weekly newsletter. As a result, Campbell’s saw a 21% increase in engaged pageviews, which are defined as a visitor viewing content for at least 30 seconds and scrolling at least 25% down the page. In addition, they saw a more than 19% increase in engaged time with content and visitors who interacted with the content were 34% more likely to consume 3+ pieces of content per session, growing the number of highly engaged readers for the site.

Leading faucet company Delta is another brand that focused on tailoring content experiences to drive engagement. Once website visitors were exposed to individualized content recommendations, Delta tracked a 49% lift in overall pageviews and a 45% increase in engaged pageviews.

Individualization not only drives ROI, but greatly reduces production time by eliminating manual management of segmentation undertakings.

As the data shows, marketers should not have to settle for salutation or segmentation-based campaigns. Modern automation equips marketing teams to master real-time personalization. Or as we like to call it – individualization.

Contact us today to find out how OneSpot’s personalization platform can personalize content-driven experiences across digital channels. Or contact us about our strategic services to discover how we can help you further your content programs.


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