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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - August 2017

The Trend of One: Can We Ever Do Personalization?

Personalization is one of those topics that we keep coming back to. I have had more discussions about this with media executives than I can remember, and even though there are many good suggestions and even attempts, nobody has ever really been able to make this work.

At the same time, we also see that tech companies wouldn't succeed without personalization. And while there are plenty of missteps and conflicting goals, imagine what sites like Facebook would be like if they didn't personalize your News Feed.

So, on one hand, personalization doesn't work, but on the other, it is an essential element of digital success.

This is the dilemma we all face, and in this article we will explore why this is, and what trends and behaviors either help or get in the way. We will also look at some of the new trends, which might make this more successful in the future.

Let's talk about personalization, and let's start with all the problems.

Two major obstacles that you face if you don't have scale

Personalization often fails because of two major problems that kind of appear as one. Both of these problems are to do with why publishers want to personalize in the first place.

The first problem is about the content that we end up with when we personalize it, and the other problem is about scale.

Imagine that you are a publisher, like a men's magazine, and every single week, you cover about 20 different topics. You talk about cars, fashion, gear, tech, etc.

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Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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