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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

Why prioritizing personalization can build trust between consumers and brands

January 10, 2022 | By Jürgen Galler, CEO and Founder — 1plusX@1plusX
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The pandemic era has altered consumer behavior like never before. With lockdown restrictions mandating stay-at-home orders and closing physical stores, every company — big and small — had to rethink its customer engagement strategies. This digital transformation and the mobile shift were quicker than expected. But consumers’ expectations have also radically changed in that time frame.

In an instant, consumers wanted brands to offer an enhanced user experience, especially when it came to mobile usage and ecommerce. To meet this demand, they expect companies to know who they are, what they like, and everything in between, regardless of which channel they came from. This anticipation of a more value-added exchange will only continue to rise. It’s therefore paramount that brands are ready to deliver a more personalized experience — and that publishers are empowered to help them deliver.

Start with first-party data

With first-party data, a more personalized experience can become a reality. The average buyer is becoming increasingly aware of how companies collect and use their personal data. However, they’re also demanding the highest level of privacy and security. And this trust is crucial in maintaining customer loyalty and retention.

When deciding on which brand to choose, 55% of consumers say trustworthiness and transparency are the most critical factor. Finding the sweet spot between convenience and privacy is therefore important to nurturing that relationship for a long-term future. After all, 48% of consumers appreciate the convenience of personalization as long as their data isn’t compromised.

We know that third-party cookies and comprehensive third-party data collection will most likely become obsolete. As a result, the businesses that invest and implement first-party data strategies will stay ahead of the pack.

But this isn’t necessarily straightforward. The average person touches their smartphone 2,617 times a day. They switch between an average of three devices to finish a task. And, 86% of shoppers regularly hop between two channels.  However, with data silos and poor infrastructure, the necessary context to bridge these channels and build a more complete picture is missing.

Personalization for omnichannel experiences

Fuelled by the pandemic, omnichannel shopping grew by 50% in 2020. This means that consumers have become more savvy about where and how they shop online than ever before.

Nielsen also found that consumers use online channels to purchase goods, research and identify physical stores. When examining levels of engagement across channels, 56% of online shoppers put careful consideration into each purchase at the point of sale in September 2020, compared with 51% of brick-and-mortar shoppers. In addition, the average buyer is now more used to going between the physical and digital world.

Consumers now expect a seamless transition across every touchpoint they have with a company. Therefore, prioritising creation of an omnichannel experience will help increase overall ROI. This is especially true when behavioral data is used. Behavioural data provides a more personalized experience online and offline, as well as giving a boost to brand loyalty and engagement. By tracking online data and leveraging it across all channels, a better user experience is entirely possible.

Enter data management platforms

In an increasingly privacy-driven and restrictive data collection environment, the proper data infrastructure can supercharge a company’s first-party data, all while staying privacy compliant.

This is where marketing needs to get deeper into single properties. For example, richer, more granular profiles for audience targeting allows for better personalization. So often, when we do a data interview with customers at 1plusX, we realize that typically they only have robust, deterministic data or attributes that are targetable for a fraction of their use. A data infrastructure with intelligent AI and predictive capabilities can enable brands to enrich and enhance their first-party data.

By expanding their dataset, companies can better personalize services and experiences. They can offer better advertising. They can understand which user might want a subscription or be more inclined to add a product to the cart. This behavior then feeds back to brands to better understand their customers. These data insights will prove valuable to optimize and enhance their marketing efforts.

Prioritizing personalization for the future

When companies use a data management platform that puts the control of user data in their own hands, they empower the consumer. This helps build the trust and transparency needed to maintain loyalty and engagement.

As a result, companies that can bring a more personalized experience to their customers without compromising privacy will thrive. Those that don’t will inevitably fall behind.

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