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December 9, 2016 |

Personalising the App Experience

“Personalisation will help save news organisations. It will allow publishers to increase engagement with their audiences and create an even more relevant experience for readers” Petteri Vainikka, VP Strategic Business Development, Cxense.

Personalisation is increasingly becoming a major challenge for online publishers.

With a growing trend for live news to become personalised and consumers increasingly expecting a more personalised experience encompassing relevant and engaging content; how can you give readers an unrivalled experience, tailored to their individual interests and behaviours? 

For online publishers and media brands, personalisation is the key to creating value. It is the most powerful way of boosting engagement and driving value. As social media platforms rapidly become the main source for accessing content, publishers must use personalised solutions across devices and platforms to deliver what readers want.

Part of the problem publishers are facing, is the enormity of digital platform usage making it difficult to understand the entire user journey and experience.

Despite challenges, some publishers including The New York Times and The Washington Post have invested in and successfully integrated strategies with both personalisation and data capabilities.

So, is it worth all the trouble?

 Content Personalisation Increases User Engagement. Giving users content tailored to their interests, needs, and location is the key to making the most of mobile technology. Mobile apps are responsible for 58.4% of all media usage time, signifying the importance of having optimised product. Through registrations, subscriptions and visitor data, publishers know who their readers are, what interests them and content they are likely to click on.
According to a study by Evergage, 73% of digital companies who employ real-time personalisation saw significant increases in user engagement leading to increased time-on-site and lower bounce rates. Alexander Spangher, a New York Times data scientist wrote, “We want to provide the most relevant news and information to our readers so they stay longer and read more.”

The idea behind personalisation is to tailor the experience from the moment it begins.“61% of consumers feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and are more likely to buy or convert” according to a demand metric study.

Personalisation is ultimately about what might encourage users to subscribe and/or what they expect to continue their subscription. EG. The London Evening Standard allows its users to organise the content sections according to preference and even hide those that aren’t. 

Content Personalisation Increases Monetisation. It is true that personalisation leads to more time spent on the site, meaning exposure to more ads. But, the data accumulated to serve personalised content has a powerful use: by understanding who your users are–including what they like and engage with—it’s possible to match readers with advertisers.

As more and more publishers are trying to opt out of the page view cycle, instead adopting the cost-per-hour metric tracking attention/time-spent – personalisation allows publishers to create more efficient matches between consumers and advertisers. Proving far more lucrative than standard digital advertising strategies.


Earlier this year, Polaris Media, which owns 35 regional media houses and is Norway’s third-largest media group, introduced fully automated personalisation to iTromsø’s mobile news site in a bid to create a dynamic front page and to drive traffic, click-through-rate and user engagement.1

Within three months of introducing automated personalisation, CTR fell by 5 percent compared to the year before but the media group recorded an increase in traffic and user engagement. User engagement on the front page increased overnight and after three months the average reading time spent on it went up from 22 seconds to 28 seconds. The same development could be seen with article pages where user engagement increased by 15 percent even though no changes had been made to them.


The successors in the future will be those publishers who have harnessed the power of deeper user insights and data to drive more engagement, revenue and subscriptions.

Going forward, businesses that do not incorporate an element of personalisation into their offering, risk losing revenue and customer loyalty.

You can read more about personalisation in our “The Importance of Personalisation” white paper here.