Recently our friends at Marketing Insider Group shared a great blog post about the top content marketing questions, diving into some of the key questions both experienced and novice content marketers find themselves asking. As content marketers, we often find ourselves asking the same types of questions about another challenging yet important area of our practice: content personalization.
Personalization has become more important for marketers as their customers increasingly expect more relevant content and experiences from brands. And the research emphasizes this: 45% won’t spend time with branded content if it’s not relevant to their interests, and 42% are less interested in a brand’s products and services if the content the brand provides is not personally relevant. As a result, many marketing organizations are bought into the importance of having a personalization strategy but are not sure where to start.
In this blog post, we’ll answer some common questions organizations ask about personalization today and provide answers to help as you integrate personalization into your content marketing strategy.
What is content personalization?
People today are not only busy, but they’re also overwhelmed with information flying at them from hundreds of brands across all channels throughout the day. Content personalization helps brands get people’s attention by customizing messages and content delivered to in the right order the right person at the right time.
There are many ways to personalize content, ranging from providing a lodging guide to motorists, to distributing a recipe book along with a food product, all the way to showing nearby restaurants to someone searching on their mobile device. By tailoring the content experience and using content personalization technology to serve content to the right audiences based on location, time of day, individual preferences, needs, interests and more, brands can elevate their brand and content experience above all the noise.
Is there a difference between segmentation and personalization?
Many marketing teams mistake their segmentation efforts with personalization. Typical segmentation tactics like mail merge, product retargeting and behavioral segments can help marketers successful customize content for groups of people that share similarities of some kind, whether it’s geographic, demographic, cultural, behavioral or interest-based. But these tactics fail to deliver on true 1:1 personalization to an individual.
Personalization goes several steps further, and focuses on the experience for a single customer. This strategy leverages data analysis and technology to create highly individualized messaging delivered at the right time that not only is relevant to the consumer, but also creates a one-on-one connection between the consumer and brand. In fact, a OneSpot client learned that visitors who consumed more personally relevant branded content were 41% more likely to trust the brand.
What does true 1:1 content personalization “look” like?
For many organizations, content personalization can be as broad as inserting a contact’s first name into an email targeted to a specific audience segment. For others, it’s retargeting ads seen on sites across the web after the consumer searches for that item on Amazon, for example.
True 1:1 content personalization, on the other hand, is the process of identifying unique characteristics of each user and sending individually selected content for each person based on their content consumption history across channels, rather than forcing them into a segment. This level of personalization requires machine learning to choose content based on user behavior, context and lookalike analysis—delivering personalized content experiences that are individually relevant to each person.
Why does content personalization work?
Think about the ads you see every day. You might drive by a billboard for a tractor and heavy equipment dealership. It’s not relevant to you, so you don’t pay any attention. But when you’re shopping and the brand displays a coupon on your phone while you’re in the store, that’s something you’re more likely to be interested in. You’re not alone: 78% of consumers say they’re more likely to purchase from a brand that has shown them personally relevant content.
For example, a leading baking brand discovered that visitors who engaged with personalized content are 59% more likely to consume 3+ pieces of content. When the baking site’s visitors consume 3+ pieces of content, they found visitors are 6X more likely to click calls to action like “Buy Now” than unengaged visitors, who only consumed 0-1 pieces of content.
Why is personalization important?
In today’s world of attention scarcity, 39% of consumers won’t engage with content that isn’t personal—and, they are even less interested if it isn’t relevant. While personalization used to seem like a far-off marketing tactic, the majority of marketers (94%) today understand that personalization is critical to current and future success. But how does personalization really impact the bottom line? The answer lies within developing a personalization strategy that enhances the customer experience.
Without a sound strategy, content personalization won’t help your bottom line. In other words, don’t create content just for content’s sake; create content to generate a return on your personalization investment via KPIs such as sales lift, brand lift and deeper engagement. Typical content marketing metrics like pageviews, bounce rate and time on page are valuable but can only deliver so much insight. Check out this blog post for additional approaches to measure content marketing ROI.
Successful personalization creates content experiences that appeal to the consumer at the right time, in the right place. It can take many forms, but at the end of the day, content that is individually relevant is what will engage audiences and inspire them to take action. Contact us of OneSpot’s content marketing platform to see content personalization in action.
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