Personalization is the action of designing or producing something to meet a user’s individual needs or requirements at the right place and the right time within a digital customer journey. And due to the promise of personalization, user demands are high. Are you ready to deliver and drive meaningful impact for your organization?

Recently, Grant Tilus, Sr. Strategist for Cro Metrics, delivered a presentation titled, “The Promise of Personalization: How to Create Meaningful Consumer Experiences That Propel Growth” for AB Tasty’s Digital Summit 2020. In his talk, he discussed the eight tips you need for creating meaningful consumer experiences. We want to share them with you.

Your Website Visitors Want a Personalized User Experience

According to Segment, 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal. Furthermore, 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more personalized experience. 

This is where the frustration lies. Many customers begin to develop a lack of trust for a brand due to their lack of personalization. The customer may share their data but is then left wondering what the company does with it.

Executives want end-to-end personalized user journeys too. They understand how personalization can have a significant impact on business. Currently, 89% of digital businesses are investing in personalization.

Personalization Isn’t Easy

Unfortunately, personalization isn’t simple. Only 14% of marketers are very or extremely confident that they have a successful personalization strategy. Why? Almost half (48%) of marketers cite data quality as a leading technical challenge.

“Data is the fuel that powers our personalization efforts.”
Grant Tilus, Sr. Strategist, Cro Metrics

For personalization to work, your data must be accurate and relevant. Otherwise, your efforts will result in misguided personalization that your customers can see right through. And unfortunately, it could push them away.

8 Pieces of Advice for Creating Meaningful Personalization Experiences

The truth is, anything worth doing doesn’t come easy. Personalization creates a better user experience and helps support improved business outcomes. To make it happen, here are eight pieces of advice you can use today to start personalizing on behalf of your users.

1. Make It; Don’t Fake It

Tom Fishburne, marketoonist.com

When it comes to data, you shouldn’t fake it. You must be data-driven, using real data to make decisions. 

It is okay, however, to make assumptions when the risk is low to move and iterate faster. Again, you must use data to understand the risks involved in these assumptions.

Cro Example: When working with a DTC security brand, we assumed that the vast majority of traffic to their My Account page were existing customers. We then concluded that this was a prime target for a personalized experience. We promoted a cross-sell opportunity based on this safe assumption, leading to double-digit lifts in new product views and a 5% overall lift to revenue.

2. Invest in Building a Rock Solid Data Foundation

We know it’s important to have high-quality data analytics, but if you want to succeed with personalization, you need to continuously invest in your data. This means continuing to build out your analytics. Don’t wait for additional budget—do it now. If you don’t have it, build it. You’re going to need it.

Cro Example: You must take the time to build the process, tools and tracking required to best use your data. For example, internally, we’ve built a side-by-side comparison using Google Data Studio, fed from data and key metrics within our Google Analytics accounts. We often do the same for client portfolios. 

With the data in the comparison view, we’re able to better understand user behavior and performance by brand. As a result, we gain a deeper understanding of which personalization options we have for each brand.

3. Understand Your Tech Stack, Tool Capabilities and Integrations

You may not be an engineer or understand the technology involved at a super deep level. But, you’ll need to level up. It’s going to be impossible to execute personalization campaigns well if much of this is unknown to you.

Consider finding an internal partner, someone who has a deeper technical understanding that can guide and support you as you learn. Then, invest time in digging deeper into the technical aspect of personalization. 

You’ll need to also audit your tech stack to identify your opportunities for improvement. There are hundreds of martech tools out there with a wide range of capabilities. You must test these tools to discover which works best for you.

Cro Example: Internally, we’re always testing out new tools and becoming deep experts in our existing ones. We currently have 4 A/B testing tools loaded onto our website. As of late, we’ve been trying out Albacross’s API by running a personalization campaign using third-party data. We’re then using this data to identify anonymous traffic to execute an ABM personalization campaign.

4. Outline Key User Data Attributes to Be Used and Assess Your Existing Feasibility

To get started, you’ll need to set your initial personalization strategy and outline tactics based on business objectives and KPIs. You must then assess the feasibility of executing upon any anticipated campaigns you’d like to run. Put another way, you must think about what you would do, if you could.

The best way to do this is by identifying specific audiences. For example, use a CDP (customer data platform) like Segment to build out specific audience traits, so they can be identified and targeted for personalization experiences such as a user affinity for a specific product category. AB Tasty and Optimizely allow you to do this as well.

Cro Example: We love identifying and building audiences for personalization. In one example, we’ve built specific audiences on behalf of our clients based on product category interest and those who abandon online surveys. Internally, we’ve worked on identifying audiences by our own first-party data to further personalize our proprietary dashboard for our clients.

5. Use Data to Identify Your Primary Locations for Targeting Experiences

Location, something we like to call a swim lane, matters. Where can a personalized experience have the most meaningful impact? You must identify the high-value opportunities to target using data such as campaign velocity, revenue impact, audience, KPI values and more.

Cro Example: For one of our clients, we identified a category landing page as a great place for a personalized experience. In our hypothesis, we believed that maintaining information scent between an ad and the landing page would improve our return on ad spend and increase conversion rates. After testing, we saw a 4% lift to our product clickthrough rates.

6. Evaluate the Size of Your Audience Segments

You may have 100,000 visitors come to your Home page. Yet, when you create precise experiences for a specific audience, the number of users in a location per segment can get pretty small, pretty quick. You must use data to create segments and assess whether the size is worth your time. If it’s too small, you might want to target elsewhere to find opportunities with a larger potential impact.

Start by identifying the type of data you’re going to use, whether it be location data, mobile vs. desktop, or something else. We recommend those new to this start broad, using data such as new visitors vs. returning visitors. As more data becomes available, drill down further.

Cro Example: Small audiences require more influential and meaningful changes. For example, one of our luxury brand clients wanted to personalize a campaign to repeat and new consignment audiences to promote them to consign additional items. Although a high-value audience, it was small in relation to broader audiences. 

As such, we designed the experience to be in a highly visible position on the Home page to capture awareness and drive action. Without enough awareness, engagement would’ve been limited, resulting in limited impact that’s difficult to measure or assess if the personalization was a success.

7. Map Out What You Could Personalize in the Customer Journey

Now, with segmentation complete, you’ll be able to brainstorm personalization opportunities for your different audiences. A large part of this is understanding your business and hypothesizing ways to personalize customer touchpoints in meaningful ways. Use data, both qualitative and quantitative to help you learn more about the entire lifecycle of the customer’s journey to find key points of opportunity.

Cro Example: For one of our clients, we uncovered data that showed new users were primarily focused on the gateway product for their initial purchase. We used this data to assess whether personalizing the new user experience by promoting the entry-level product was more meaningful. Guess what, it was. It drove a 54% lift in product views and a 4% overall revenue lift.

8. Bring an Experimentation Mindset to Personalization

It’s impossible to know if your personalization efforts are impactful and driving growth if they’re not measured. Don’t just assume that because you’re personalizing the user experience that your visitors are more successful—test to measure true impact.

Cro Example: For a previous client, we utilized data based on another experiment where we learned that using an ABM tactic and inserting the organization name would increase relevancy to drive greater outcomes. Since we saw a positive outcome during the initial test, we decided to broaden this tactic approach to additional areas of the website, assuming that approach would do the same this time around. The results this time were instead negative. Good thing we tested it.

Personalization Is Promising With Dedication and Effort

Personalization can make a huge impact on your business, so long as you’re dedicated to building a data-driven culture of experimentation. If you’re struggling, want to know more about experimentation, or just need a little help, send Cro Metrics a message today.