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Will hyper personalisation survive the rise of data privacy?

Hyper personalisation is broadly defined as a technique of using an individual's current context as well as personal detailed to create individualised messaging and offers. It's 'extra' personalisation which aims to make it easier for marketers to grab a consumer's attention and move them toward conversion.

Yet, currently, the world is heading towards more data privacy which will make it more challenging for marketers to collect and use data for hyper personalisation.

  1. Apple has implemented Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) into its Safari browser making it more difficult for marketers to use personal data for advertising on Apple devices

  2. Google has announced that it will phase out 3rd party cookies over the next two years, which will have a similar effect on most other platforms

  3. And the EU passed General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) long ago, which requires websites and other digital services to be transparent about how they are collecting personal data, how they will use it - and allow people to opt-out with the click of a button

Under this new data privacy paradigm, then, how will marketers be able to recognize and target users in a hyper personalized way?

To find out, ClickAcademy, in association with Amazon Web Services, held roundtable discussions with client-side marketers in Bangkok, Thailand. At the Hyper Personalisation table, hosted by Kla Tangsuwan, CEO & Founder, Wisesight, attendees discussed how their brands were trying to personalise messaging and offers in the face of the challenges presented by an increase in consumer data privacy.

Below are highlights from the day's discussion.

1) Personalising without personally identifiable information (PII) is already a problem for most brands

When discussing the potential problems brands face with hyper personalisation, attendees pointed out that there are already many situations where they are unable to collect and use personal data. For example, website visitors are usually anonymous and so digital touchpoints are notoriously difficult to personalise to any great extent. In-person events, too, such as concerts or giveaways often involve brand interactions with thousands of potential customers, all without any exchange of personal information.

Moreover, in many industries, noted delegates, personal data is strictly regulated and often cannot be used for marketing purposes. This is particularly the case for B2B companies and for brands in the healthcare sector.

Finally, even when companies do collect customer data which could be used for hyper personalisation, the data is often fragmented across many non-integrated systems making it difficult, if not impossible for marketers to use for targeting, messaging and offers.

2) Potential solutions lie in redefining hyper personalisation

To provide hyper personalisation without collecting PII, marketers, suggested attendees, need to think in terms of customer segments instead of individual consumers.

By changing how they think of personalisation, marketers can be more creative about ways that they can effectively personalise their communications without precise knowledge about the individual they are targeting.

One participant suggested that brands could provide contextual offers through knowing what was in their shopping basket in a marketplace or by using the consumer's physical location to make an educated guess about who they were.

With these more public pieces of information, marketers could make an offer based on what was effective for previous consumers who had a similar profile.

In this case, hyper personalised marketing would be less personal but more context-sensitive.

3) Questions remain about what hyper personalisation will mean to brands - and consumers

Finally, attendees asked themselves whether consumers would respond to marketing which relied less on personal data and more on a person's current circumstances - or whether more cues are needed to build a meaningful segment.

One participant suggested that marketers could add other information when targeting consumers using contextual data. They could, for example, make generalisations about what type of consumer might be visiting a particular website or using the social media platform on which the brand was advertising. Then they could include educated guesses about the age group, language or geographical location of the audience and 'personalise' using this information.

To some, however, this type of personalisation sounded like interest targeting which, many agreed, was not as effective in the past as one-to-one personalised marketing. With the current upcoming changes, though, it was suggested that marketers remain open to this option as there were likely to be big changes to existing personalisation techniques, such as remarketing.

From the day's discussions, it seems that there are still major hurdles for brand marketers to overcome when implementing hyper personalisation technology in an age of increasing consumer data privacy.

A word of thanks

Click Academy would like to thank Anand Jain, CEO, Clevertap for hosting the Hyper Personalisation table and Abhinav Gupta, Head of Channels - Data Analytics | Machine Learning, ASEAN, AWS for providing subject matter expertise for the day.

We'd also like to thank all the marketers who attended the event and shared their thoughts and experiences about how hyper personalisation will be affected by new data privacy initiatives. We hope to see you all at future Click Academy events!


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