How much time do you have to convince a shopper to buy online? A recent study shows that the average visit duration on ecommerce sites is just four minutes and 12 seconds. This small (and shrinking) window of opportunity makes the case that we belong to one generation — the microwave generation. If the experiences, products and services we crave aren’t delivered creatively and quickly, we’re out. Digital brands are addressing these behaviors, leveraging personalization tools that put what customers crave at the forefront of brand interactions.
Treating customers to these uniquely tailored experiences is more than a one-and-done task — it’s a process, not unlike a recipe. Developers must collect the right ingredients and appliances (consumer data and personalization tools), combine everything (pair segments and content) and wait for it to cook (let the data pile up) before they can determine if the “recipe” was successful or if adjustments should be made the next time around.
While content personalization isn’t an easy or finite event, the right technology can be helpful. Below we share Contentful’s recipe for making personalization a piece of cake. Like any good recipe, it includes a secret ingredient — in this case, personalization software Frosmo.
Collect the ingredients: Review your data
The first step to nailing a recipe is making sure you have the correct ingredients and measurements. If you’re baking a cake and purchase cream instead of flour, it won’t matter how long you cook it, the result will be — well — more of a custard. Personalization is much the same. If you don’t collect the right data, map your content and find the right tools and technology to support your efforts, you might see a change in visitor behavior but it likely won’t increase conversion rates.
Before we jump into creating personalized content with Frosmo, let’s take a look at the prep work you’ll have to do in terms of mapping customers and content. It’s important to note that Frosmo defaulted to rules-based personalization, which allows you to tailor content to different audience groups based on collected data about things like web browsers, device, age, gender, location — pretty much whatever you’ve collected on consumers. With this information, you can set if/then triggers to serve different content to different audiences. Ready to get started?
1. Build buyer personas based on behavior data. It’s likely you already have brand buyer personas in place. Match these buyer personas to data patterns seen with data analytics.
2. Map (gated) content to each persona. Align each piece of content or asset you create with a target audience (or persona) and journey stage. You want to make sure that content is meeting consumers where they are rather than being overly forward.
3. Identify possible personalization touchpoints. Determine where personalized content will be most visible and well-received. Consider the four “w’s” of personalization: who, what, when and where.
Tip: Avoid rearranging entire pages for audience segments. While the targeting of these pages holds the potential to yield high rewards, they can also create a negative user experience. If you change big portions of the page at runtime, processing takes longer and users will see content changes appear slowly, giving your site and brand a less than streamlined look. Instead, aim to personalize select elements that address different audience needs efficiently.
What about a box mix?
Until now, we’ve focused on rules-based personalization — which requires you to analyze data and segment audiences manually. While this type of personalization is useful for creating general, bucketed experiences and content, there are other, more targeted types of personalization. Algorithmic personalization is the box-mix of personalization. It’s convenient, effective and forward-thinking as the personalization you employ adapts to your audience, as it monitors and learns from their behaviors over time.
While algorithmic personalization is becoming increasingly preferred for its positive results, it comes with its own set of demands for success. Algorithmic personalization relies on smart data, or metadata that tethers content to a topic, user or something else. When visitors arrive to your site, the algorithm mixes and matches content and interactions to serve something truly one-to-one. As visitors take action, the algorithm adjusts, continually learning so it better meets customers where they are at.
Algorithmic personalization seems great, right? Still, it shouldn’t be used 100% of the time. Not every customer experience needs to be direct. Too much personalization deters from an expansive customer journey and exploration. It can also come off as intrusive or encroachment on privacy and personal space. In the digital age, it is frighteningly common to get product recommendations you talked about rather than typed about. The goal with personalization is to leave customers feeling cared for, not creeped out.
Combine and cook: Connect Frosmo and Contentful
Now that your personas and content are organized, you’re ready to connect Contentful and Frosmo. With Frosmo’s documentation, the process is straightforward.
Once Contentful and Frosmo are integrated, you can segment site visitors based on one or more actions via the control panel. While the number of segmentation parameters you can input is infinite, getting super granular requires a lot of effort and creates segments so small you might not see real changes in conversion rates. As mentioned, if you’re looking to target individual visitors, an algorithmic, not rules-based approach, is best.
1. Create segments in Frosmo. Use one or a series of “and” or “or” statements to build out segments based on customer identity and actions.
2. Designate and ship personalized content. Match the personalized content with containers on your site and adjust designs as you see fit.
Tip: Don’t forget about your control group. While Frosmo automatically segments out a control group, referred to as the comparison group, there is the option to remove it — which we advise against. The control/comparison group (at default this is 10% of site visitors) helps to highlight how personalized content is performing compared to default, universal content.
3. Modify with algorithms to build on top of things. As mentioned, Frosmo defaults to a rules-based algorithm, which we recommend you test out on its own to begin. Once you get comfortable with the software and see conversion rate changes with these adjustments, you can consider mixing and matching rules-based and algorithmic personalization.
Tip: When beginning your personalization journey, start with small, singular changes. If successful, you’ll have the option to build off of these in the future. By starting small, you’ll have an easier time identifying which change or series of changes influenced conversion rates. Implementing too many changes right away makes the process and its success difficult to repeat.
Give it a taste test: Check for change
Like baking, personalization success is a waiting game. Unlike baking, there’s no smell, oven light or timer to hint at how things are progressing. So, how do you know your work is “done” or when to check things? The bigger the content change, the faster you should see movement (one way or the other) in conversion rates.
There is no science to knowing if your personalization efforts are done — as your visitors and their demands change your content personalization strategy will have to shift to be successful as well. Here are two steps you should take to ensure personalization efforts are working.
1. Run the numbers. Jump over to Frosmo’s crystal-clear dashboard and charts to view and analyze your segments, A/B testing results and conversion rates. If you prefer to analyze this data in tandem with company data housed elsewhere — like Google Analytics, for example — integrations are always an option.
2. Make adjustments. If you think there’s room for improvement — keep iterating and testing. If you and your team begin to feel restricted by the personalization possibilities offered through Frosmo and your data analytics tools, always remember you can integrate new tools to add new flavor to your personalization efforts.
Tip: Make use of the competitive multivariate testing available. Frosmo allows you to create more than two possible personalizations, empowering full experimentation. If you use the multi-armed bandit algorithm within Frosmo, the software will adjust variation distributions in alignment with how well the tests are performing.
When done right, personalization yields sweet results, it meets customer demands (80% of consumers love it), decreases marketing efforts and increases sales. According to a recent McKinsey study, personalization decreases sales and marketing spend 10-20%, all the while increasing sales 1-2%.
Still don’t believe the personalization hype? We tried it and it resulted in some big wins, which you can check out below.
See what other personalizations you can cook up with Contentful and Frosmo — watch our joint webinar.