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MarTech and AdTech News Headlines Update on September 24, 2021

The pros and cons of content personalisation

These days, content personalisation is taking on a whole new level. More than just addressing customers by their first name, brands and marketers are trying to offer a unique and distinct user experience for every individual that interacts with their brand — based on specific demographic information.

AI and machine learning make this level of personalisation possible, and it’s clear this type of messaging resonates, as studies have shown 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with companies offering personalised offers and recommendations.

At the same time, data collection has been a touchy subject — especially with the lack of transparency as to how some of this information is obtained. So, what level of personalisation can be used without being too creepy?

Video & Audio

Streaming services often have selections “For You” or a recommendations tab that allows users to find shows that they might find interesting. These days, personalised video services are being used by brands such as Barclays, Toyota, and Adidas to create video customised for each user by leveraging first-party data, meaning that their privacy is protected and not shared with others.

News Feeds

In 2018, Google launched the Discover feature, collating personalised news and content so users didn’t even need to search. A similar feature was also added to Mac devices with Apple+ News. While this supposedly serves up information consumers are interested in, there is a dark side. The algorithms create a filter bubble where users aren’t given differing ideas or points of view.

Web Pages

Have you ever paid attention to how if you visit an airline’s website from Singapore, the ‘from’ field for booking a flight is automatically set to Singapore, and the currency is automatically set to Singaporean Dollars? Not only that, when you login into your account, you no longer need to re-enter your username or password as it is automatically filled for you based on your previous input. It’s convenient, but from a user’s perspective, they’ll be more comfortable if it happens on a website they regularly visit.


When you create an online account with brands like Adidas and Nike or e-commerce sites Lazada or Shopee, you voluntarily give away your personal information. Starting from the subject line, you can include each customer’s name to turn mass newsletters into personalised pieces of content. Taking a step further, information like birthdays, browsing history and even location can be used to create trigger-based emails. Again, it’s important to be subtle in this approach, you don’t want every consumer action triggering an email.


Notice when you come across an advertisement on a web page that was related to something you Googled earlier in the day? It can be useful, but also kind of creepy. In the end, it makes you wonder what else these sites know about you. So, while personalisation works, it’s probably wiser not to get too familiar with your customers and put them off.

Upping marketing engagement with AR & VR

Augmented Reality (AR) is often conflated with Virtual Reality (VR), but they’re quite different. AR is when real-time computer-generated data is overlaid on an existing environment, whereas VR transports the user ‘into’ a computer-generated environment by using a headset.

Most of the world became aware of AR in 2016, via PokemonGo, a mobile game that allowed players to locate and capture Pokemon characters that appeared on their smartphone. Fast forward to 2021, these emerging technologies are gaining steam. In fact, the market for it will reach $766 billion by 2025, offering unique AR and VR based branding opportunities. Check out what these brands are doing.

National Geographic

In July 2020, National Geographic released an AR experience on Instagram that allowed users to ‘dress up’ as Everest climbers and climb the highest mountain in the world. When first launching the interactive filter, users will find themselves at 4815,84 m above sea level.

Kylie Cosmetics

Kylie Jenner’s cosmetics brand promoted its range of lip products by rolling out custom Instagram filters equipped with AR capabilities that allowed users to try on her lipstick products virtually. Users can try up to seven of its most popular lip colours, which can be posted to their Instagram stories, either as a selfie, video, or Boomerang video.


Fashion brand Zara replaced mannequins for real-life models like Lea Julian and Fran Sommers to pose, strut, and speak virtually on users’ phone screens. To experience this, users download the AR Zara application and point their camera at designated spots.

Virtual Concerts

With the ongoing pandemic, musicians are pivoting to virtual concerts. Partnering with Fortnite, Travis Scott successfully performed a 10-minute set of his hits in Avatar form. The event was watched by more than 12 million viewers, a record for a Fortnite event.

Virtual Reality Meetings

Platforms like Spatial, which enables meetings through AR or VR headsets, and Microsoft Mesh, where people meet virtually in avatar form, are offering a much more engaging experience than your average Zoom meeting.

Real Estate

VR technology allows potential buyers to see what it feels like to be in the house without actually being there. Sotheby’s Realty is offering virtual walkthroughs for iPhone and Android users who own VR headsets.


brilliant study on trends and evolution of aesthetics on — and by — YouTube. I mean, how juicy is this? It’s deceptively simple, like all good design: the background matches the aesthetic as you scroll, and the data viz is so on the money. Reminds me of what Spotify did with their Wrapped playlists at the end of the year.


Worship your truest believers. And treat your first 1000 customers like royalty. I’ve been reading this cool little newsletter called First 1000, about how founders got their first 1000 customers. You get a new case study in your inbox every week (past issues have included Slice, the pizza delivery people , Calm, Doordash, and Calm) and it’s a great way for us media folks to study different recipes for how product-market fit can work.


Speaking of pizza: If you’re ordering pizza in Taiwan, Pizza Hut has some new toppings that include pig’s blood and century eggs. The new toppings aren’t a random decision by the management; they come from some serious product research, and what’s the best product research in the world? Asking your users what they want. So Pizza Hut scraped a mountain of social posts, and turned their findings of your most popular foods into… product, which in their case = toppings.

Interesting Marketing Video and Report

IBM has created a full content marketing package in a design magazine style — definitely not what one would usually associate with cloud tech. This shows the value in creating content of a high production value — people would want to read it.

Fantastico! Multiple styles of 2D and 3D animation creating a stunning graphical journey. Imagine using this for your showreel. Spanish speakers will probably be doubly impressed.

Painstakingly created stop motion film of flowers blooming (a staggering 14,000 shots per flower) to a fireworks soundtrack. How did anyone get sleep if they had to make sure to capture every bloom?

With memories of home schooling still fresh amongst some C2V staff, Scratch Garden’s educational vowel video was a favourite for its simplicity and catchiness (plus the influence of 90s lo-fi rockers Pavement). #scratchgardensongs #EnglishSongs #ESLsongs

We also think if you’re after someone who gives the mundane a twisted personality, you should hire animator Sam Cotton.

We’re not even sure Snoop Dogg releases albums anymore, but he’s happy to rent out his persona to a lot of creatives these days.

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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