Click-bait, be gone! This past week Facebook introduced a significant change to its newsfeed algorithm to eliminate click-bait headlines and spam articles from cluttering users’ feeds. The goal is to provide Facebook’s 1.23 billion users with more relevant content that will keep them engaged on the social network. After all, the more active users engage on Facebook, the more ad space the social network giant can sell. This seemingly minor alteration reflects Facebook’s commitment to advertisers and is a surefire way to keep users from fleeing the network. Earlier this year, the company reportedly lost more than 11 million young users, and this algorithm update is likely an attempt to keep remaining users happy. Facebook’s updated algorithm also reflects a larger shift in how all businesses must interact with customers -- prioritizing relevant, personalized content in the user experience.

Relevance matters

It’s no secret that personalized content is critical to online experiences, particularly in the e-commerce retail space. What’s interesting is that personalization is no longer limited to the retail industry. As Facebook notes, the new changes to its newsfeed will weed out stories that are ‘spammy’ and instead, prioritize updates and articles that users want to engage with. To do this, Facebook must measure engagement in several ways. In addition to clicks, the company examines critical behaviors that may indicate a post’s value. This includes how many comments a post gets, how long users stay on a given site or video, how many shares it gleans and what people are saying about it. This is no different from how advanced personalization tools leverage big data insights to collect and understand consumer shopping behavior online. In an e-commerce environment, for example, how long a shopper looks at shoes versus suits might indicate what he or she is shopping for. Based on this insight, the retailer can make a real-time offer for free shipping on recently viewed shoes. In this day and age, consumers crave personalized and relevant content. The best way to deliver that is to understand the customer’s behavior on and offline, and then administer relevant content based on that insight.

What do driverless cars, wearables and the connected home have in common? They each hold the potential to disrupt our daily lives. After full development and mainstream adoption, these technologies could impact everything from business, health, and medical treatment to urban planning and sustainability. Now, another emerging technology has found its way into this disruptive circle: Beacon technology. These battery-powered, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLS) devices have tech experts raving about its game-changing potential. In fact, beacons could alter the entire retail omnichannel movement, becoming an integral part of the retail environment and changing how brands understand and connect with consumer

Tiny device, powerful impact

It’s important to understand how this emerging technology works before getting into its revolutionary potential.The device uses a low frequency chip similar to the ones used in mobile devices, which communicate with each other via BLS. Apple was one of the first to experiment with the technology with iBeacon. The Cupertino company installed this capability in its iOS 7 software, enabling push notifications to shoppers’ mobile devices as they roamed through Apple stores. There have been numerous rumors about Apple potentially releasing its own version of iBeacon hardware but as always, the company remains tightlipped.

Beacon technology is innovative and disruptive because of its ability to connect in-store environments to shoppers through their mobile devices. After all, consumers are plugged in more than ever. Reaching them with product promotions, for example, as they browse store racks is just one way that brands can engage with customers and convert buyers. The technology also opens up opportunities for customer engagement, store performance and omnichannel marketing – all at a low-cost. Retailers are so hopeful about beacon’s potential that over half of the top 100 retailers nationwide are testing out the technology this year, according to one report.