Targeted Advertising vs. Personalization

Although targeting and personalization might sound like the same thing, they are actually quite different. Targeted advertising uses segments based on specific qualities and personas so you can speak to a collective audience, such as athletes, fashion connoisseurs, or new visitors versus existing customers. However, with personalization, your advertising adapts to a specific customer’s journey in real time while they visit your site. Here, we look at the differences between the two, as well as how they can work together.

1. What is targeted advertising?

Targeting is a marketer’s tool to help them meet specific business goals. Marketers use insights from customer experiences to create customer segments. Then, they apply rules that determine the type of content, offers, and products they wish to share. Segments are based on customer groups, such as new versus loyal customers. The content you share with them is based on expected actions you’d like them to take. Targeting makes it easier to create content that makes sense to each segment so you can meet specific goals.

For example, a marketer’s message to a new customer is much different than a loyal customer they know will come back again. One needs a value incentive to make that first purchase, while the other understands the value but would appreciate learning about new products that align with items they’ve already purchased. You plan how you wish to optimize each interaction by targeting segments with special content.

What are the benefits?

When you work with targeted advertising, you can basically use a set-it-and-forget-it approach.

You understand the segment, set the rules, and enable the content to work for you.

It uses less technical sophistication yet enables you to ensure each target has a better experience because they see what they need based on their group.

2. What is a personalized experience?

Now, when we look at personalization, it’s all about the individual consumer’s needs. It shows the customer the most relevant products or information based on real time. Advanced personalization engines gather information to understand the visitor. The engines aim to understand where visitors came from. They also use the search they made to reach the page as well as what they are looking for. The information shown is also related to past behavior, as well as the segment or group they fit into for your targeted marketing, if customers have visited your store before.

The content and products shown change in real-time using machine learning to adapt to visitor behavior. Machine learning picks up on subtle changes in customer intent, enabling the engines to provide the right information at the right time. This is not something planned, set, and forgotten, but instead creates an intuitive experience that makes a visitor’s journey easier.

What are the benefits?

You remain 100% responsive to a visitor’s every move, so they always see what they need without effort. The customer has real-time engagement enhancing their experience because machine learning continues to adapt to each new move. However, to do so, you need a deeper level of technical expertise and sophistication.

3. The Key Differences

To put it in simple terms, targeted advertising is built by rules set in advance to speak to a select demographic, while a personalized experience adapts to an individual’s actions in real time.

How Can They Work Together?

Targeting and personalization work together with the help of a personalization engine. You can input segments from your targeted marketing into the engine so the engine can adapt content based on the rules for each segment. On the flip side, you can use targeting on individuals to meet your goals.

Together, you leverage content on your site and adapt it to meet either your goals or make it easier for the individual to meet theirs. Either way, you are encouraging people to buy more and frequent your site to increase sales.

With the right Product Information Management (PIM) software, you can optimize both strategies to cater to customers on their own terms. Your product information is enriched to make it more appealing. All your product information assets are contained in a central hub that easily and seamlessly feeds content to a customer throughout their journey. Whether a customer is part of a segment or aligned with your personalized experiences, a PIM provides the agility to rise to each occasion with high-quality content.

Although targeted advertising and personalized experiences have their differences, their similarities are that both work together to create effortless customer experiences and increase sales. When working in tandem, you gain the advantages of advanced targeting and the agility of real-time personalization that always meets the needs of your customers.