Examples of Personalization

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Innovative Examples of Personalization

Some examples of innovative personalization in digital products are Netflix's Choose-Your-Own-Adventure model, Sesame Street's vocabulary app, Spotify's Discovery Weekly playlist (including their new business model), Emotion Artificial Intelligence (AI), and eye-tracking technology. Below is an overview of the examples.


  • In 2017 Netflix started to add interactive content to children’s shows like Puss in Boots and Buddy Thunderstruck.
  • In 2018, they launched "BanderSnatch", where viewers could choose and alter the storyline of the show.
  • In order to develop the episode, Netflix created a new software called Branch Manager, which allowed the runners of the show to come up with several endings based on the viewer’s choices.
  • Some reports alluded to the fact that this sort of content could change the way companies like Netflix collect user's data since it provides a more in-depth perception of how users interact with content and could lead to better personalization.
  • Some experts are noting that with the mass amount of content available today, information gathered by this could help Netflix introduce the right type of content to that viewer and change marketing and product placement.


  • Emotion Artificial Intelligence (AI), also known as affective computing, measures, understands, reacts, and simulates human emotions, and allows for more natural interaction between humans and machines.
  • Emotion AI is being used for endeavors and innovations, such as Cogito and Affectiva.



  • Eye-tracking will make it possible for companies to collect consumer’s unconscious responses. The insights gathered by eye-tracking will help companies to predict and manipulate the client’s behavior.
  • This technology relies on "saccades" which is "a quick, simultaneous movement of both eyes between two or more phases of fixation in the same direction".
  • The pattern of a "saccade" can tell a computer what humans are aware of, focused on, how they think, and what they know.
  • The same way a magician or a movie director tries to lure the viewer's eyes to what they intend them to see, visual and UI designers design websites and apps that try to lead the viewer's gaze into noticing the most important elements and manipulate their behavior.
  • Companies like Google and Facebook are acquiring eye-tracking startups and are expected to embed the technology into their future products.

  • VR systems use eye-tracking to guide users during immersive experiences, directing the way they walk and preventing them from walking in a straight line and hitting things along the way.
  • Cyber-Duck used eye-tracking to improve a game test by pointing out what exactly was the participants' train of thought during tasks based on their glaze.
  • Microsoft has a patent for glasses that could change their prescription from near to far based on what the user is looking at.
  • Another patent Microsoft holds is for a glass that would detect when someone is trying to read something farther away and magnify it.
  • Gaze Interaction allows those with disabilities to control and navigate their computer using their eyes as if they were a mouse.
  • The eye-tracking company RightEye uses the technology to help physicians administer tests and find symptoms for illnesses ranging from simple concussions to Alzheimer’s disease and dyslexia. It also uses this technology to help treat children with autism.


  • According to Forbes, Sesame Street’s app is one of the best examples of how AI can be used to improve personalization.
  • The app observes the child’s vocabulary and how well he/she reads and then suggests personalized learning exercises. The app updates its recommendations as the child progresses.
  • Schools that are using the app, report significant improvements in the students’ vocabulary and reading ability.
  • Sesame Street is collaborating with IBM to develop new individualized learning tools.


  • Discover Weekly is a personalized playlist of songs Spotify thinks the user will love based on their previous preferences.
  • Spotify is now offering brands the chance to sponsor Discover Weekly, one of the most popular features. It is giving brands the ability to "own" the personalized experience and providing access to an audience of over 200 million people by doing Brand Sponsorship lists.
  • According to Spotify, users who listen to Discover Weekly spend twice as much time on Spotify compared to users who do not because of the personalized experience it offers.
  • Microsoft will be the first brand to advertise on the platform, running an AI ad campaign called “Empowering Us All” that explores AI use in education, healthcare, and philanthropy.
  • Danielle Lee, Global Head of Partner Solutions at Spotify, stated that personalization is no longer an option as much as an expected consumer experience. Lee believes that the new Discover Weekly ad experience will position advertisers for success and enable fans to hear messages that embody the ethos of discovery.
  • What makes Spotify’s Discover Weekly innovative is not the technology involved, it is the potential marketing possibilities to reach specific target audiences and demographics and profit opportunities for those who oversee them.


  • "You couldn’t do this in a flow chart because it’s dynamic and tracking what state you are in and doing things accordingly"
  • "More subtly, your selections could further enlighten Netflix about your preferences. "
  • "By 2022, your personal device will know more about your emotional state than your own family"
  • "While humans might currently have the upper hand on reading emotions, machines are gaining ground using their own strengths. "
  • "BioEssence is a novel wearable olfactory display that provides just-in-time release of scents based on the physiological state of the wearer."
  • "Bundled into VR headsets or AR glasses, eye-tracking will, in the near-future, enable companies to collect your intimate and unconscious responses to real-world cues and those they design."
  • "Saccades are rapid, ballistic movements of the eyes that abruptly change the point of fixation. They range in amplitude from the small movements made while reading, for example, to the much larger movements made while gazing around a room. Saccades can be elicited voluntarily, but occur reflexively whenever the eyes are open, even when fixated on a target."
  • "IBM and Sesame Street collaborate to create the next generation of individualized learning tools"
  • "“Personalization has quickly gone from a nice-to-have to an expected consumer experience that delights audiences and marketers are craving opportunities to be part of it”"
  • "Cogito detects human signals and provides live behavioral guidance to improve the quality of every interaction"