Consider these 3 dependencies as your media company pivots toward personalisation

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


Now you’re convinced that personalisation is the way forward. How do you actually start? From the conversations I have had so far, there are three main dependencies:

  1. Technical capabilities. The good news is you don’t need to build a personalisation recommendation engine internally. You can if you want, of course. It may give you more control, and there are plenty of open source software options to help this. But most of you are not tech companies and will likely prefer out-of-the-box solutions such as Google Rec AI.

  2. CMS. Presuming we are mostly talking about content personalisation, you will be limited to the capabilities of your CMS system. What is tagged? How is it tagged? Taxonomies of content are vitally important.

  3. Ability to test. Personalisation is a long game. It will need constant tweaking from your learnings. You’ll need to test, tweak, test, tweak over and over. 

Once you have taken stock of your main dependencies, you need to decide who you are optimising for. Some media organisations do it for all users, hoping to engage new and less frequent visitors more to move them down the funnel and engage them more.

For example, Mediahuis Netherlands found that if users engaged with a particular topic, they were more likely to sign up if you show them multiple articles on the same topic rather than show the breadth of your content. And Schibsted in Norway saw a 20% uplift in subscription sales by using their conversion maximiser ranker.

Many news organisations offer personalisation as an additional benefit to registered users and/or subscribers. You could optimise to build daily habit or for types of content. If you wanted to go deep, you could also optimise for business reasons such as showing more profitable content such as video, which carries higher CPM than text articles.  

Once you have been through these exercises, you can take your consumer problems, what you are optimising for, and your dependencies, and use these to create your strategies. Here is an example of how Schibsted in Norway has put these together to create their four main strategies:

Schibsted shares its four stages of addressing the challenges of personalisation.
Schibsted shares its four stages of addressing the challenges of personalisation.

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About Jodie Hopperton

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