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Is personalization a fad? The Drum in conversation with Taboola

“People don’t think how they feel. They don’t say what they think, and they don’t do what they say.”

If David Ogilvy’s infamous quote is anything to go by, then constant personalization efforts might just be a fool’s errand.

In the second of three videos in a series produced by The Drum in association with Taboola, associate editor Sonoo Singh sat down with Taboola chief executive officer Adam Singolda and CBS Interactive senior vice president and general manager of global programmatic revenue, Jason White to ask is personalization is a fad… or future for marketers?

“I used to think that personalization was all about knowing who I am and what I want. My age, my gender, my preferences. I specify on Facebook that I like the Godfather – it’s a cool movie. But that doesn’t mean I want to watch it right now,” says Singolda. “That’s how we used to think about personalization – I’m not sure that is what it is.

“From a definition perspective, it’s who I am, right now. I’m different in the morning compared to how I am at the weekend. It’s the persona plus context that is needed. Once you marry those two, you are able to create a better experience.”

Relationships are a currency that all brands need to value. How can they get the right balance of ensuring they serve up relevant content without getting too… personal?

“Getting the personalization equation correct, is to understand the behavior of users in certain segments – not just what they tell you. It’s a process and it’s an investment,” says White. “Understanding the user, and then defining the right content strategy from there. Using data and observation to understand what sort of content they should be exposed to. What these folks like.”

According to Singolda, attention leads to relationships, which leads to revenue per visit and revenue over lifetime. People should feel at home when visiting a site, and that should mean that they want to stick around. Now more than ever, there are tools that can help advertisers get it right.

“If you compare publishers and media to what’s happening in the eCommerce world – they cracked the code on this years ago” he says. “They are thinking about the consumer over the next eight months. They can then able to create better experiences because they are thinking of the long-term investment over short-term monetization.”

CBS Interactive has been taking this approach in creating more experiences, trying new formats and importantly, not being afraid of making mistakes.

“That’s the only way you learn – that’s the digital way,” concludes Jason. “Test and learn and test and learn.”

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