From Google’s sponsored ads to Amazon’s recommended reading lists and Facebook’s suggested ‘like’ pages, we are accustomed to — nay, expect — personalisation. And, after years of watching from the sidelines, print media may have finally caught on to the potential of the personalisation play.
In the March 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, for example, a full-page flier — or ‘outsert’ — was personalised with the name of 300,000 of the magazine’s subscribers.
The outsert encouraged readers to visit specific Neiman Marcus stores within 50 miles of their homes.
A result of a collaboration between Harper’s Bazaar’s parent company, Hearst, and HP (Hewlett Packard), this print personalisation method, dubbed ‘Project Match’, was made possible through a newly developed printing technology that enables faster (and higher quality) personalised printing.
Harper’s Bazaar’s foray into personalisation is seen as just the beginning of what’s expected to be a widespread print marketing shift based on customisation and personalisation. “The digital universe has gotten us used to personalisation. This is just another way that it’s manifested itself,” Targeted Media Inc president Rob Reif told AdAge.
The US is not the only country exploring this new advertising approach. French advertising agency Loyalty Expert recently created personalised covers for the12,000-subscribers of Action Commerciale. Using a positioning strategy called Intelligent Marketing, the agency “explores and uses data to drive ultra-personalised marketing campaigns, not only on the web but also in print campaigns,” says Loyalty Expert representative Herveline Davis.
After sifting through Action Commerciale’s entire subscriber database, Loyalty Expert created a new database containing the business interests and credentials of the 12,000 subscribers. Then, they developed 20 graphic templates, and after merging them with the new, personalised database, delivered 12,000 different copies of the Action Commerciale cover — all printed in-house with a new-generation digital printing press.
The personalisation has been an enormous success — besides countless enthusiastic phone calls from readers, more than 500 subscribers opted to download their individual ‘collector’s cover’ on Loyalty Expert’s website. Since then, the advertising endeavour was unanimously voted as ‘Best Project’ by the French Professional Press Federation, (FNPS) and a multitude of French magazines and publishing agencies have come knocking on Loyalty Expert’s door requesting similar ultra-personalised campaigns.
For Davis, this has been one of the most successful communication projects they have conducted so far, and magazine personalisation has become the new business model for their company. “Considering the number of reactions sparked by these ultra-personalised covers, it is very clear that personalisation is part of the [print media’s] future,” says Davis. “Like online models, imagine that tomorrow you will be able to segment your audience and sell pages depending on the profile of each subscriber. There is a huge potential to be explored.”
Personalisation is obviously both easier and more precise on digital platforms.
Remember that creepy, ‘Big Brother’ feeling you had the first time you ‘liked’ a band on Facebook and were suddenly invited to ‘like’ other bands as well — all of which just happened to be in your iPod? Well, prepare for more of those ‘Big Brother’ moments soon. Launched in September 2012, Facebook Exchange is a new real-time bidding interface that enables advertisers to target users based on their browsing history.
Facebook is now using cookies to track users via their browsers with third party applications. Those third parties match your browsing data from other sites to Facebook. For example, if you’re in the market for a new car, and you’ve been visiting automobile sites, you’ll now see ads for cars when you log in to Facebook — ads that companies have had to bid on for positioning in your sidebar feed.
How is that different from the normal ads that bombard you on Facebook on a daily basis? Well, this time, the ad is not coming just from inside the house — the ‘house’ being Facebook, which used to track only your Facebook browsing — but also from your overall web browsing data.
Drawbridge, founded in 2010 by Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan is using this same concept to develop advertising across mobile devices. Drawbridge is “using statistical methods that rely on anonymous data to track people as they move between their smartphones, tablets and PCs,” reported Jessica Leeber of the MIT Technology Review.
Sivaramakrishnan says that his ‘bridging’ algorithm protects individuals’ privacy while tracking the probability that two cookies from two different mobile devices are connected to the same person. By doing so, Drawbridge provides advertisers with the opportunity to market to the same individual across multiple mobile platforms.
Drawbridge just released its first product out of the beta testing stage and has already begun work with five top mobile game makers and three top online travel agencies.
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