Real-Time Personalization

I was recently asked by a client if I was going to integrate “Real-Time Personalization” to Purlem. I said – I have no idea what that is.

So I did a bit of research and found this Click Z article that does a nice job of introducing and defining real-time personalization:

Basic personalization (such as name and account personalization and dynamic interest or product content) no longer serves consumers’ demand for deeper levels of real-time personalized information.

[Real-time personalization] leverages the most appropriate communications to deliver a personalized customer experience, based on time, place, and the most recent understanding of individual customer intent.

Alright.  That make sense and sounds pretty cool. But what are the actual uses of real-time personalization? The definition above defines three areas that make up real-time personalization:

  1. Time
  2. Place
  3. Customer Intent

For my research, I initially wanted find specific examples for each major industry (Mortgage, Auto, Finance, Education, etc..), and of how each used real-time personalization. However, I quickly realized that there is not much documented on the topic, so had to scratch that ambitious goal.

You would think that companies that specialize in real-time personalization would have a thousand case studies and examples… but they don’t! I’m not sure if it is because the industry is so new, OR, if companies are yet to find the real value.  Either way, I was able to find a couple examples of real-time personalization.  One is based on customer intent, and the other on place. I did not find one example of a company that used time.

Customer Intent

The most obvious example of real-time personalization is Amazon’s recommendation engine, which shows products based off the visitor’s past browsing and purchase history. Here are my Kindle Store recommendations:

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 10.08.06 AM


Here is an example of how the Pennsylvania Tourism Office used geography to promote attractions that appeal to specific regions of Pennsylvania.

Geography Personalization


From all the research I did, I did not able to find one example time being used for personalization.  I do, however, have a couple thoughts about how time could be used.  Peapod, for example, may want to highlight breakfast related items in the morning. Or, Honda may want to highlight their car’s traction-control capabilities in the Winter, and the convertibles in the Summer.

If you have any examples of real-time personalization, please share!

  • Martin Thomas

    Another example of “time” being used – A travel website might show restaurant recommendations depending on the time of day.