Personalisation – a summary of Together We’re Better, September 2015

A summary of key points from an event hosted by Together We’re Better.

Personalisation is adapting a digital experience to a user’s attributes and presumed interests or needs.

Personalisation isn’t necessarily a good thing – it can come across as good or creepy

A reminder that you should start by understanding your goal, and then work out how to deliver it. Personalisation won’t necessarily be the tool/approach you’re looking for, so don’t ever pursue it for its own sake.

Good personalisation:

  • Marie Curie created a mobile-specific text-to-donate ask because they noticed that mobile users rarely converted on their normal responsive donate page.
  • L.K. Bennett found that UK users were unusually keen on finding out the returns policy, so they highlighted this for UK users

Creepy personalisation:

  • Target predicting when a person becomes pregnant, by looking at their browsing behaviour, and marketing to them on this basis.
  • The well-intentioned Samaritans Radar ran into trouble because of concerns about privacy, stigma and consent.
    There’s sometimes a question about whether to talk about the fact that you’re doing personalisation. Would explaining it make it seem creepy? e.g. saying “We think we know how many children you have.” Would not explaining it be underhand?

    Where can you get the data you need for personalisation?

    • 3rd party
    • From the user themselves, voluntarily (personal data)
    • User behaviour
    • Context

    Trust is important

    When thinking about organisations possessing and using their data, people are concerned about:

    • usage creep
    • lack of personal benefit
    • loss of data

    So to some extent trust is derived from user experience. That’s a interesting and unsettling conclusion, but one which explains why we seem so relaxed about giving corporations loads of personal data in exchange for easy-to-use free tools.

    Giving people the option to access/update/change their data and communications preferences is a better user experience and also good reputation management, as some users will be concerned about this.

    Start small

    It’s better to begin experimenting with personalisation on a small scale:

    • Easier to get the budget
    • Easier to get buy-in and sign-off
    • Easier to manage
    • Easier to track and measure the results – and therefore to prove success
    • Easier to manage data on a smaller scale
    • Easier to manage project risks, and to deal with unanticipated ones that emerge
    • Some things you can do to get started with personalisation

      There’s a lot you can do without carrying out heavy engineering on your website:

      • Video personalisation
      • Email personalisation – and A/B testing to verify the effectiveness of this approach
      • Social personalisation. I’d didn’t get much on this in the presentation and would like to explore this a bit more.

      A useful morning session – I expect to attend the next Together We’re Better event.

Learning from corporates? – a 10 tweet summary of NFP tweetup 28

Anthony Leung, Social Media Manager at Just Eat

Just Eat base their social strategy on engagement. Reach and audience size arise out of this. Anthony advises against doing things the other way round: focusing on growing follower numbers can be self-defeating as you under-invest in engagement and lose followers in the long-run.

So how do you ensure engagement? Having a clear tone of voice is crucial, so that you avoid being plain and uninteresting.

Don’t ask ‘What content is right?’ Instead, ask ‘How does my brand behave?’

Imagine your brand as a person, and ask:

  • What makes them excited, frustrated?
  • How does this person speak – funny authoritative?
  • How does this person react to subjects that matter to your brand?
  • How does this person handle a bad situation?

Decide what behaviour you want to be known for, and encourage this behaviour in your supporters too.

Bringing marketing and customer/supporter care teams closer together allows you to harness the strengths of both. They’ll be responsive and on-brand, and you’ll all increase your understanding of your audiences.

Alex Goldstein – Senior Social Media Manager at TMW

Alex found that the corporate sector has more visible silos, whereas the often under-resourced charity sector tends to require individuals to take on a wider range of tasks. This can be empowering, and help charity sector workers get things done faster, but it can mean that they don’t always have the required expert support. And having to hold all those disciplines in your mind at once can cause confusion.

Broadly speaking, Alex has found that the corporate sector has more money, and is more courageous with risk. The charity sector has better stories and passion.

Endangered Emoji – Adrian Cockle, Digital Innovation Manager at WWF International

WWF wouldn’t say how much money the campaign raised, but the primary objective was awareness not fundraising.

Adrian summarised some observations on what makes for effective social sharing material:
To be effectively shareable on social media, a campaign/action should follow the NUDES approach:

  • Networked. e.g. social nomination mechanic.
  • Unexpected.
  • Dumb. Be easy to understand.
  • Exhibited. Involve a shareable behavior. Make it aspirational.
  • Stories. Enable or include stories?

This innovation was something new and untested. Charities tend to want to minimise risk by following the successful actions of other organisations.
But that aversion to risk holds charities back from innovating.

WWF encountered problems while innovating…

… but were able to overcome these because of pro bono support. Had the additional unanticipated costs of innovation not been borne by a third party, how different would this case study have been?