The Psychology Behind Personalization

 Why do we care about personalized content ?

Overcrowding on the Internet has enhanced the need for personalization!

As individuals, it is human nature to expect that our needs will be met by those we interact with. In this vein, personalized content is nothing new. In fact, marketers, advertisers and retailers have been hard at work for many years tailoring their offerings to individuals as best they can. The overarching objective is to increase sales by engaging the customer on a more personal level. That personalized content is able to generate a higher conversion rate is a given.

Oversaturation of the Internet Presents Real Challenges

There are myriad challenges facing marketers seeking to personalize the content. For starters, the Internet has created an infinite virtual domain of advertising possibilities. This invariably means that consumers are being bombarded from every conceivable angle with banners, pop-ups, advertisements, messaging and suggestive content at every opportunity. Companies walk a fine line when they saturate webspace with marketing material that is generic and unfocused.

The overcrowding of the Internet has spawned a new generation of savvy marketing strategies aimed at dividing the market up into segments and targeting each of those segments as effectively as possible. This laser focus allows marketing companies to drill down ever deeper into specific demographics, using customer tastes and preferences in the most effective way possible. Nowadays, customers have a reduced tolerance for marketing material than they did a decade ago and it is purely due to the overwhelming volume of impersonal content flooding the Internet.

What many folks fail to realize is that personalization goes far deeper than automatic recommendations about shopping behavior, trends and preferences. There is far more to personalization than meets the eye, and it encompasses things like technology, psychology and scientific analysis. The needs of shoppers need to be taken into account, but their motivation for needs to be tapped into as well. It’s just as important to understand the psychology behind the scenes as it is to understand the technology driving the personalized content.

Understanding the Factors that Motivate Human Beings

Overall, the goal is to create an interactive experience that engages the customer with the advertiser, content or service being offered. While many of us may believe that personalized content is impossible because there are so many people on the planet, that’s not entirely true. People can still experience personalized content even in the absence of one-on-one personalization. The rationale behind this thinking is that we are driven by many similar motivating factors and because of this one-on-one personalization is no longer the strategic objective. Algorithms are an effective tool used by marketing departments to better understand human behavior, decision-making and need fulfillment. There is a very definite set of rules that governs demographics, group behavior and impulse satisfaction. This can then be focused on individuals and how best to satisfy their needs.

Prediction technology is ineffective for the purposes of satisfying customers, as is one-on-one personalization. What is important is to use demographic data in such a way that a greater degree of accuracy can be derived from groups of shoppers, thereby enhancing the likelihood of conversion from browser to buyer. All in all, psychology is paramount and the decisions that consumers take is largely guided by the suggestions made by marketing companies. An interesting paper was written by Dr. Scott Brave, titled The Human Need for Personalization: Psychology, Technology and Science. This groundbreaking white paper effectively examined technology, science and psychology vis-à-vis personalization. Everything was conducted from an e-commerce perspective and it took things like human/machine interaction into account.

Our Past Behavior Provides Bread Crumbs that Lead Marketers to the Cookies!

Nowadays, we know that marketers, advertisers and content management specialists focus their attention on what they know to be a given: our past buying behaviors. This is easily understood by way of our browsing patterns on the Internet our past purchases, the content that is of most interest to us and so forth. By knowing all of this information, they can effectively target us in a way that is considered personalized. This is possible across the spectrum with things like your preference for food, movies, theme parks, clothing, banking, vacations, literature and the like. There is no limit to the level of personalization that advertisers and consumers can enjoy with effectively managed marketing campaigns in the e-commerce realm. Consider for example that television cable boxes and Internet television networks are now able to monitor your TV behavior and provide you with suggestions for programs that you are likely to enjoy, and commercials that you are likely to respond favorably to based on your Internet browsing behavior.

Personalization goes deeper than we ever thought possible, to the very heart of what we search for on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and the like. Every time we run a query, trace evidence is left behind and aggregators of content and search engine mechanics utilize these crumbs to lead us to the cookies that are used by marketing agencies to better understand the demographics of their client base. The software is so advanced today that it is possible to delve into the deepest recesses of our subconscious, and provide content that is so personal in nature that it resonates with our very core. For example, personalized content could take the form of a jersey of your favorite sports team with your name and your birthdate on the back of it. That’s how precise personalized content can become on the Internet. Personalization is a top priority of companies like Treepodia which recognized the merits of video content as an interactive, immersive and engaging tool for users. Text-heavy content is boring so marketers are increasingly turning to the audio-visual stimulation to generate the buzz that is needed for an immersive experience.