Why Prioritizing Personalization Is Paramount

September 18, 2020

This piece originally appeared on The ANA’s Forward 

It would be an understatement to say that for the modern consumer, personalization has become a table-stakes expectation. From Facebook feeds and Netflix queues to brick-and-mortar retail floors, the average consumer is living in an increasingly customized world in which every experience is tailored to their unique needs, expectations, and preferences using data.

Whether it’s a coupon app that knows one’s exact location or a sales associate who can easily call up an online purchase history in the store, customers are becoming accustomed to being known. This is creating an opportunity for marketers — and a challenge.

Studies have shown that customers prefer an advertising experience that’s relevant to their specific needs. Advertisers who lag on personalization run the risk of having their broad, impersonal messages feel out of place in an increasingly customized world and of being bested by competitors that are personalizing ads. Fortunately, the emergence of connected TV as a prominent part of the media mix provides an opportunity to bring new levels of personalization to what has historically been one of the least personal channels: television.

Consumers Crave Relevant Experiences

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that ad experiences customized to a consumer’s interests are well received.

According to a study published by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), 71 percent of consumers say they prefer to see ads targeted to their specific interests and shopping habits. The same study found that three out of four consumers would be willing to see more ads if those ads were more tailored to them. Just under half of those surveyed (49 percent) say they find tailored ads to be helpful rather than disruptive to their viewing experience. Just as many favor tactics that reduce the volume of irrelevant ads they encounter.

But it’s not just that consumers say they prefer personalized ads; those ads are also dramatically more effective.

While it’s important to know that consumers value brands that offer personalized experiences, the proof for modern marketers is always in the metrics. A recent study by Innovid found that personalization in video advertising is driving tangible results for brands. Across a sample of more than 100 million impressions, data-driven dynamic video — customized by location, demographics, weather conditions, customer name, and other first- and third-party signals — produced a substantial impact on marketers’ KPIs. Across all campaigns, personalized ad content on video and connected TV enjoyed a 78 percent lift in engagement over standard pre-roll.

At the macro level, it’s clear that personalization is working for advertisers across connected TV and video, but individual campaigns can provide further proof.

Location and Personalization Drive Sales Lift for Volvo

Personalization can be particularly effective when applied to a high-consideration purchase. Innovid recently partnered with Modi Media and Volvo to build a campaign that used location data to get new-car shopping consumers to not only consider Volvo but also find a local Volvo dealership so they could easily see the product up close. 

Targeting based on household income ensured that the population exposed to the campaign was likely to include individuals who could purchase a luxury vehicle. In addition to promoting the details of Volvo’s latest offering, the ads featured a dynamic geo-targeted map that revealed the location of the Volvo dealership nearest to the viewer’s location, creating a connection to local business. An SMS unit then allowed viewers to sign up for a test drive at their local dealership, simplifying the car shopping process.

The results of the campaign were impressive. The brand saw a 67 percent sales lift among the targeted audience, composed primarily of affluent households, compared to a non-exposed control group, as measured by Experian. Volvo also saw a 212 percent lift in sales compared to a random sample outside the control group. Ultimately, Volvo saw a 7.35 rate of return on ad spend over the course of the campaign.

Furthermore, because the campaign ran on connected TV, the brand was able to reach its desired audience with personalized creative on television and tie results directly to the campaign in a medium where exact impact has traditionally been difficult to measure.

Personalizing the Big Game for Pringles

Personalization isn’t just for big-ticket items like luxury vehicles, as a recent partnership between Innovid, CBS, and Pringles shows.

The Super Bowl is one of the most highly viewed and highly priced live events on television. In an effort to maximize the value of its 30-second spot among connected TV viewers, Pringles used interactive units and dynamic data-driven personalization to enhance its existing creative. One of these spots contained a dynamic greeting that displayed the name of the city based on the user’s location. Users who engaged with the ad via clicks or swipes on connected devices were presented with a personalized Pringles chip flavor combination that highlighted Pringles’ wide variety of flavor options and the chip’s stackable shape. The campaign produced more than 4,224 unique creative pieces delivered concurrently with dynamic creative for the city name. It was the largest execution of its kind during the premier live event in U.S. sports.

Brands Are Embracing a More Personal Future

The results above are impressive, certainly, but they’re also just the beginning. In an increasingly personalized world, advertisers owe it to themselves and their brands to ensure that their ads keep pace with the rapidly accelerating trend. The rise of connected TV, which now touches slightly more than half of all American households, provides a perfect opportunity to infuse personalization into a formerly impersonal medium.

The campaigns noted above are just early examples in what will be a dramatic shift toward personalization across the television landscape, one that can drive performance and build connections for the brands that are ready to embrace it.