In 2012, Netflix released some stunning statistics detailing the impact of personalization on its business. The subscription video company said that three quarters of the content viewed on its service was found through its recommendation engine, which suggests content to users based on their past behavior.
Over the past decade, the rise of personalization has extended far beyond Netflix, impacting everything from video and news to ecommerce. But as mobile adoption nears ubiquity, brands, marketers, and technology companies face a new challenge in personalization: They must tailor content not only to the “who” and “what” in consumers lives, but the “where” and “when” as well.
Now, a new technique, called “contextualization,” aims to solve that problem.
A new white paper from Street Fight Insights, “Contextualization_Leveraging Location-Based Technology and Mobile to Drive Success for Brands,” offers a step-by-step introduction to the technique, outlining the strategy and use cases for contextualization. The research, which was sponsored by Artisan Mobile, a Philadelphia-based mobile experience management platform, details the opportunities and implications of the technology for a range of industries from consumer packaged goods to brick-and-mortar retail.
A new “relevancy” on mobile
Today, the smartphone is creating a data boom, yielding an unprecedented wealth of information about our day-to-day lives. Developments in data storage and computing capabilities — often packaged as ‘big data’ — provide marketers, developers, and other stakeholders with a unique opportunity to tailor the digital experience to the atomic realities of their users. Each screen view, user interaction, tap, or purchase leaves a distinct footprint that never before existed.
At the same time, consumers have never been more distracted. Mobile consumers in particular are extremely sensitive to irrelevant content and are willing to change services.
“Online, personalization has been an opportunity. On mobile, it’s a necessity,” report argues. “While it’s never been easier to reach consumers and understand their behavior, it is more difficult than ever to capture their attention. The mobile consumer is constantly in flux, always willing to look elsewhere for a better opportunity.
To combat attrition by consumers on mobile, relevancy is paramount, and that’s where contextualization makes the difference on the bottom line. In a 2013 study, 60% of respondents said they expected a business promoted on a mobile ad to be within walking or driving distance of their current location. Additionally, data shows that mobile shoppers routinely spend more than desktop consumers, making relevancy on mobile even more critical to a firm’s bottom line.
Moving beyond targeting on mobile
The promise of contextualization goes well-beyond tailoring ads to a user’s location. The report argues that developers need to consider multiple data points in addition to location, building weather, traffic or historical behavioral data into their models. Used in conjunction, these data points can allow developers to build experiences that adapt and anticipate the moments — not just the places — we go throughout our day.
In practice, the technique offers developers an opportunity to wield greater control in the way they design mobile applications. In one scenario, a developer could create a separate store mode that appears when a user is within a given geo-fence. Then using a combination of inventory data and beacon technology, the application could provide notifications to users about nearby items as they move throughout the store .
In many ways, the “Five Pillars of Contextualization” presented in the report — audience segmentation, targeting, testing, analytics, and a RESTful API — tie together the emerging capabilities allowed by mobility and data analysis with key learnings from the web. But it also points to a wider maturation of the mobile industry, in which the smartphone has moved from an emerging device that needs to be learned to the driving part of a digital strategy. Whether it’s GPS, big data, or beacons, new technologies are a means to an end — not an end in itself.
Click here to download the report: Contextualization: Leveraging Location-based Technologies to Drive Success for Brands