We live in an age on individualism. With the internet providing so much data for businesses on people’s browsing and buying habits, digital companies are in a unique position to exploit that data and provide a more individual experience to the user.

That trend is clearly turning into significant opportunities for businesses. Sailthru, a marketing start-up in the United States, has just received another $US20 million in funding for its efforts. This comes after the company raised another $US19 million last year. The business helps other companies utilise the data they receive from customers to individualise everything – app, websites and other experiences.

What this funding highlights is the opportunity for other businesses to start individualising their content, even on a smaller scale. For instance, many businesses send bulk email updates without creating different subject lines for specific demographics – this can raise the open rate and hopefully increase sales.

While individualising apps and other large platforms takes a significant amount of time and money, all businesses can at least work with the data they have. And they must, because individualism is only going to become more important.

Apple’s recent use of Beacon technology to track users in store is another example of this – the company can tailor offerings and notifications to how the person spends their time most in the store.

For other businesses, then, this is a wake-up call to start using their data, no matter how much of it they have.

The thorny issues of online copyright

While the growth of online video has created a new market for users to develop and promote their own programs, this has come with some caveats – including the significant amounts of copyright details to wade through.

During the past couple of weeks, copyright holders have been conducting a sweep on YouTube of any videos which contain copyrighted material – namely, footage from videogames. Several YouTube producers have found their videos taken down due to containing copyrighted material.

These producers have protested, saying their main source of revenue has been affected. But in a new letter, YouTube has defended the move saying producers need to be aware of their obligations.

“If you’re creating videos with content from other people, remember that rights ownership can be complicated and different owners have different policies,” it said.

For businesses, this latest move presents two warnings. Copyright holders need to be aware of how their content is being used – and need to decide whether they want to do anything about it. Having an open policy may allow copyrighted material to be used in ways perhaps opposite to the views of the business, but cracking down on rights altogether may result in a negative reputation among consumers.

As video continues to grow as a medium online, the issue of copyright becomes more relevant for everyone, including those enterprises which start experimenting with videos. Digital businesses need to decide where they stand on this line, if any – but also how they plan to avoid being dependent on copyrighted material if they plan making their own video content.