'Personalization Done Well Enhances User Experience In A Number Of Ways'

We spoke to Gina Pensiero, Content Strategist at Facebook


Gina Pensiero has worked in digital as a strategist and writer for over a decade. She headed up the editorial strategy team at audio platform SoundCloud. Prior to that, she was Content Strategy Lead at Huge. She's created content strategies for some of the world's largest brands, including Apple, Nike, American Express and Twitter. Gina is currently a Content Strategist at Facebook. 

Ahead of her presentation at the Digital Strategy Innovation Summit in Los Angeles this September 15 & 16, we sat down with Gina to talk about her career, personalization of the customer experience and what to expect from her presentation at the summit. 

How did you get started in your career?

I started working in content strategy the way may content strategists do; not knowing that it was an actual job title. My first role was in content and editorial at Audible.com. It wasn't until many years later that I realized that content strategy was an actual discipline and that I had been doing it since I graduated college.

How do you and your team at Facebook inform your digital strategy with data?

Data is obviously an important input to how we make decisions at Facebook. That said, for me, it's all about balance. It's important to get both quantitive and qualitative information before creating a strategy.

Why has personalization become the holy grail in customer engagement? What exactly does it achieve?

Personalization done well enhances user experience in a number of ways. Users feel better understood. They get access to content (whether that's pure editorial or advertising-based) that's relevant and useful to them. Really well-done personalization can almost fake out a human touch. But it's also a fine line–it's easy to get wrong.

Do you think consumers will become accustomed to a highly personalized online experience?

Yes. Customers grow more accustomed to more personalization and more targeted experiences every day. As technology and our ability to target improves, users move along in that direction as well, even expecting better, more elaborately personalized experiences.

How do you ensure that the tradeoff between personal information and value always benefits the customer?

This is a great question, because there are definitely moments where an engineer wants to create some aspect of a personalized experience just to prove that, technically, it can be done. Or a business wants to include personalization because they think they should. But users should always be at the center of this. If a user doesn't get any value out of it, it's not going to work.

How far do you think personalization can go?

I believe personalization will continue gradually, but steadily. AI and bots are going to open a brand new horizon to personalization, which I believe we are only seeing the very beginning of now.

What will you be speaking about at the Digital Strategy Innovation Summit in LA?

I will be speaking about how content strategy can help strategists and designers add a human touch to user experiences, both personalized and not.

You can hear more from Gina, along with other experts in digital strategy, at the Digital Strategy Innovation Summit. View the full agenda here.

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