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The proliferation of digital device ownership in the UK, and the subsequent rise of the buzzword “personalization,” paints this lovely image of brands learning things about their audience and serving up content tailored to them on a device convenient to them. It’s not as easy as that, of course, and delivering on this promise of personalization is a delicate balancing act, with UK consumers ready to rail against any missteps.
A March 2015 survey from YouGov, commissioned by digital media agency One Two Four, asked UK internet users what types of content would make them think less of a brand. The No. 1 response cited by half of the survey sample was an obvious one—intrusive content. Barge your way in front of folks, and they’re going to be turned off your brand, of course. However, the second most popular response was more subtle, and perhaps speaks to the fact that personalization is very often not working—content that assumes things about me, cited by 43% of respondents.
A November 2014 study conducted by Redshift Research for Teradata and Celebrus Technologies went some way toward supporting this notion of personalization either not working or simply not being done. When internet users in Germany and the UK were asked why they disliked personalized messages, offers and updates, one of the most popular responses among the UK respondents was that they suggest things that are of no interest, cited by 41%. Personalization efforts are clearly going awry, or else they aren’t even off the ground.
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