Think about the last time you really paid attention to an ad. Chances are that you didn’t click on any of the generic banner ads that you’ve seen today, in the last week, or even the last month. You likely didn’t act based on widely a generic broadcast either, but there is a chance you responded to a very targeted message aimed specifically at you.
We are living in an age where marketing activities have become completely customizable to specific users in a large target audience, even when deployed on a large enterprise scale. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, even to someone outside the marketing department. But how are companies actually customizing their campaigns to super targeted audiences or individuals?
They are using new technologies and tools for sending super customized messages, and the ‘customized content revolution’ can now touch nearly every aspect of a marketing strategy.
The Customized Content Revolution – #1 Research
Long before content is created, it is planned –by way of an editorial calendar in the PR world, research and competitive intelligence. While it’s not particularly challenging to gain superficial information by way of Google or deep searches, tools such as SimilarWeb provide deeper website intelligence than available ever before.
But in an age of targeted ads across multiple disparate platforms, where you will not likely see the same ad your friend sees, blanket marketing intelligence isn’t enough. BrandTotal, another US and Israel-based startup, allows marketers to uncover targeted ads in the dark web, not available publicly to everyone on the internet. With roughly 90% of ads on the internet served on the dark web (90%!), this could be particularly valuable.
The Customized Content Revolution – #2 Cross-Platform Insights
Google/Facebook/LinkedIn ushered in a revolution of targeted advertising, based testing and research, but companies lose track of trends they’re seeing and the ads they serve, especially when multiple teams run campaigns simultaneously. Managers end up missing the forest for the trees.
While companies like Tune and Adjust tackled these issues in the past, Appsflyer is part of a newer wave of startups providing insights into advertising activity taking place across different platforms and channels, providing marketers with a holistic view of the effectiveness of any ad. These solutions also help advertisers measure the lifetime value of any given member of a target audience, and ROI of a campaign.
The Customized Content Revolution – #3 Personalized Video
Personalized video is now gaining traction. SundaySky and Idoomoo (which stands for ‘I Do Movies!’) allow video creators with and without experience to create personalized movies that are rendered instantaneously based on data. No two movies would appear exactly the same, even when millions are served at one time. This is particularly pertinent nowadays where four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.
But personalized video isn’t limited to short movie clips, it’s moving to mainstream television with the advancement of connected TV (CTV). Innovid is another company leading the emergence of targeted, personalized video marketing, by focusing on helping the largest global brands (think Apple, Nissan, P&G, etc.!) deliver more effective and targeted marketing messages in a new CTV world, vs. traditional linear TV.
The Customized Content Revolution – #4 AI Solutions for Conversions
Personalization doesn’t start and end with advertising though. There are new industry-specific tools touching the entire marketing mix. In Fintech for example, startup Personetics applies AI to help enterprises serve specific banking solutions to any specific customer based on what’s best for them, and helps guide customer habits.
BounceX automatically recognizes website visitors through their devices and matches them back to an email address instantly, allowing marketers to increase the relevance of a sites messaging on an individual level, and based on their company. Verbit.AI, an AI-based transcription solution, actually learns the specific dialects, accents and slang used by people in specific industries (as well as locations and groups), providing extra accurate personalized transcriptions.
The Customized Content Revolution – #5 User Generated Content
Research continues to highlight that consumers across the board prefer to act based on the thoughts of their specific peers, regardless of whether they’re purchasing for themselves or a business. Call it peer-pressure, social pressure, or just plain network effects, great brands are built on happy customers sharing their experiences. Yotpo is another growing startup that created a platform to help companies grow their products’ presence by way of customer generated content and referrals from ideal influencers. With 97% of consumers reading online reviews for local businesses and similar numbers across industries, this is critical.
As a venture firm with fund of funds, secondary funds and direct co-investment funds with exposure to thousands of startups, we are seeing this trend of customization growing in importance to corporations and individual customers across the board. AI has helped move marketing customization further, and marketing technology will continue to get smarter as we demand more personalized, tailored content.