• Manuel Ponce de Leon

How our new Shopify app helps tailor your marketing to ‘Shopper Personality’

There is a problem I’ve struggled to crack my entire career that you may be familiar with. It’s partly about advertising, partly about biology, and partly about content personalization, and it’s what attracted me to Pinpoint. The problem goes like this:

Picture a torrent of ones and zeroes flowing across a map that comes crashing into a computer and then it all stops. An ad loads, a person looks at it, and in that split second, billions of dollars of technology powered by incredibly sophisticated algorithms no longer have any say. They have already calculated the probability of engagement and presented the user with content, but the final decision is made inside the human brain. Does the person engage or not? Is it a good message or not? The algorithms can’t really know.

If the individual doesn’t click the ad, you have to wonder, why did they pass? And why did someone else of identical age and income click? To know, we have to delve into the realm of psychology, and that’s what we’re up to at Pinpoint.

What algorithms leave on the table

The most advanced online advertising platforms have algorithms that are really good at optimizing the alignment of product (what's being advertised) and audience (the group of people it’s being advertised to). They establish a probability of engagement and once the ad is shown to a person, they just wait. It is at that precise moment where the human brain makes the final decision to engage or not—and this decision is based not only on the product being advertised and the degree to which it’s aligned with the audience segment, but also on the messaging: how the product is presented. There is a personalization opportunity at the individual level that these algorithms leave on the table.

Once the match between audience and product is established, these algorithms leave it to the advertiser to try out many ad variants and then stick to the one that generally gets higher engagement—but there is a lack of visibility into exactly why one message works over another. This lack of visibility has a great deal to do with how the message aesthetics appeal to different personalities, but the algorithms lump everybody into one audience segment. And at that level, there is simply not enough resolution to answer that question. I’ll go as far as saying that true content personalization cannot be done unless it’s based on personality. And for such an algorithm to work, we first have to quantify what makes people people.

We have quantified the ineffable

To really know what combination of colors, copy, and visuals a given person will find compelling requires us to understand personality through quantitative psychology and machine learning. It's what we do at Pinpoint and it’s a huge and daunting logistical challenge. But I’m thrilled to say with the recent launch of our new Shopify app, Shopper Personality, we’ve started blazing that trail and have made at least some of these answers accessible to virtually anyone that runs a Shopify store.

Shopper Personality reveals to Shopify store owners where their high-value customers fall across a gamut of psychological dimensions that ultimately define their aggregated personality. But most important, it provides research-backed copy and visual recommendations that are proven to resonate with their most prominent personality traits, in the form of ‘Marketing Takeaways.’

You can try it out for yourself.