The Personalization Roundup is an ongoing blog series featuring the most evocative news, articles and blogs curated by Baynote each month highlighting the rapidly growing topic of web personalization. For this month’s roundup, we’ve combed the web to once again bring you the latest and greatest on the personalization revolution.

Over the last month we saw an uptick in articles examining the value of personalized eCommerce and the need for retailers to embrace and harness the power of big data. These articles demonstrate that personalization is not always easy to master, but that there is significant value in dedicating the resources necessary to develop robust personalization strategies. Read on to learn about the power of on-site search boxes, the personal data social networks collect, and the increasing business value of big data strategies.

“The Search Box Will Never Die, Let’s Stop Trying to Kill It,” PandoDaily – In this piece, Scott Brave sets the record straight on the value of on-site search boxes. Until speaking to Scott, the article’s author was critical of search boxes, and even declared in a previously published article that the “search box was dead.” Scott points out that eCommerce companies must approach search boxes as one of the most valuable tools in determining what a customer is looking for. It will not be until eCommerce companies determine how customers express their needs through search box inquiries that they will truly be able to offer a personalized experience that also leverages existing inventory.

“Here’s What Social Networks Know About You,” Mashable – Baynote took social media by storm this month with the publication of an infographic detailing what data leading social networks collect on individuals and how they use it. The infographic and associated infographic point out that some social networks use your data for seemingly benign functions, such as location services, but may also share your information with marketers and other third parties. The infographic really resonated with the social media community – it has garnered over four thousand tweets and was listed as one of Mashable’s top stories!

“Will Big Data Actually Live Up To Its Promise,” Forbes – In a guest post, Avande’s CTO and corporate VP, Tyson Hartman, discussed the potential value of big data and what companies should do to take advantage of all the data available to them. The article cites two Avande studies that asked business leaders what impact big data was having on their organization. The 2010 study showed that the challenges posed by big data were more tangible than the benefits. The 2012 follow-up study found that businesses are now finding real, measurable strategic value in big data. While the article does not specifically discuss how big data is being used to personalize eCommerce experiences, we are happy to see that companies are starting to wrangle with the challenges posed by big data. As Scott Brave would point out, having a tremendous amount of data available is great, but what really matters is how you use the data to create customer value.

“Pseudo-Customization Is Annoying; True Personalization is Valued,” Business 2 Community – Building off a recent New York Times article that described personalization as “creepy,” Ernan Roman, president of Ernan Roman Direct Marketing, wrote an article in B2C arguing that “pseudo-customization is annoying,” but that “true personalization is valued.” In the article, Ernan points out that consumers see personalization as a requirement, and he encourages marketers to create compelling value propositions to encourage customers to voluntarily share their preferences. While we agree with Roman, it is important to note that not all personalization requires the use of “creepy” personally identifiable information.

“The ROI of Personalization,” Econsultancy – Using data from their most recent Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing, Econsultancy created an infographic titled, “Personalizing the Web Experience.” The infographic demonstrates that 52% of digital marketers believe personalization is fundamental to their online strategy and 41% are committed to providing a personalized web experience. Also of note, 42% said they can personalize using anonymous data and 88% said that social graph personalization is high impact. While we were surprised to see that only 52% said personalization is fundamental, we believe that number will only increase in the months and years to come