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Personalisation: 5 minutes with… Steve Wilson-Beales

Creating a personalised experience for users is a top priority. Global’s head of SEO & editorial product, Steve Wilson-Beales, is chairing the ‘Experience Tech Talk’, part of the upcoming AOP Publishing Tech Talk event. We grab five minutes with him to talk through some of the issues.

By Steven Wilson-Beales

Personalisation: 5 minutes with… Steve Wilson-Beales

Q: How are publishers adapting the experience they offer to deepen user engagement?

A: With economic challenges ahead, publishers know that both advertisers and audiences are going to become even more demanding about the experiences they provide. Media planners will want more targeted data and audiences will scrutinise the exact value exchange in return for registration. Personalisation is no longer a luxury for the bigger brands, it’s an absolute necessity. That’s why publishers are reviewing and trying to consolidate every aspect of the personalisation chain: sign in, product experience, acquisition channels, CDP optimisation – so there’s lots to discuss!

Q: How are publishers personalising content provision and how far can personalisation be taken?

A: It varies between publishers. Many are looking at ‘You May Also Like’ recommendation models, or the whole onboarding experience to help surface the content that YOU are most interested in – peppered in some way by editorial suggestions to add serendipity and surprise. I think all eyes are also currently on TikTok – they have such an interesting hyper-personalisation model that is driving rapid adoption amongst younger audiences – it’s going to challenge a lot of editorial notions of how to best serve their audience.

Q: How can publishers improve the targeting and timing of the marketing messages they serve up?

A: This all boils down to knowing as much about your audience as possible – which brings us to data, data, data. It’s vital to have an effective CDP that allows you to identify audience behavioural segments and tailor content and delivery to suit. Without a doubt, this is a massive operation for any publisher, but there are quite a few services out there that can help. Also, there are quite a few editorial tactics that can be deployed to serve your audience with more relevant content – in the last three years, we’ve seen more research into User Needs models – and we’ve seen some great results at Global by following this methodology.

Q: What are the trends in personalisation for the ad experience, in terms of format / frequency / placement?

A: I think DOOH is a really interesting space and we’ve been innovating at pace at Global via DAX which is our Digital Advertising Exchange which can connect brands with audiences at scale across audio and outdoor. We have a whole range of innovative, engaging formats and the technology behind this all is only going to accelerate. Imagine dynamic billboards that change depending on traffic congestion or weather conditions. If publishers haven’t considered this space – they need to!

Q: What are the challenges publishers face finding the right skill sets for delivering on the opportunities presented by personalisation?

A: Without doubt, recruitment and retention is a key issue for all publishers, and especially the technology industry. In many ways, this is business priority number one – how to attract the skilled staff required to deliver on strategic goals. This is why publishers are reviewing every step of the recruitment process and reviewing the ‘value-add’ they can offer employees.

Q: What are the opportunities for publishers if they can further improve the user experience?

A: If you improve user experience, then you improve acquisition and retention. We are all competing with the latest viral cat meme so if we do cut through, we need to ensure we offer experiences that our audience are accustomed to. The depletion of third-party cookie collection has exacerbated this need – personalisation offers publishers the path to the enriched first party data they need for the future of their business.

Q: What are you hoping to take away from the panel discussion?

A: Personalisation is a very broad topic but we hope to explore the current challenges and opportunities with some very specific case studies and honest accounts. It’s going to be a very exciting debate!

About us

AOP Publishing Tech Talk provides an essential forum for publishers to catch up with the opportunities that new tech solutions are creating to grow audiences, increase revenues, and benefit their business. Over four days of online content and two days of in-person events, publishers will share how they are innovating and leveraging technology to derive the best value from their first party data and audience metrics, to create more engaging user experiences, and to build premium revenues. More information at