Best Practices in Personalization: Embrace Automated Targeting
For several years and for thousands of companies, website and email marketing optimization has relied on A/B and multivariate testing. Using these tools, companies can achieve 5 percent, 10 percent or even a 50 percent gain in their conversion rates and dramatic increases across key performance indicators.
As a result, it would be easy to say that this testing approach to personalization isn’t broken, so why fix it? The answer has to do with the very nature of the customers most businesses serve. There might be majorities of people in those groups who prefer one image, message or deal over another. But the more nuanced truth is that one alternative cannot be the best performing for all individual users. There are an infinite number of microsegments in each audience. Real personalization requires a business to serve the most effective offerings to each particular group.
A targeting solution on steroids
Companies must embrace a marketing solution with targeting capabilities that can quickly create tens of thousands of microsegments. These small clusters of similar site visitors are consistent to those a business might identify offline, but are created online automatically and updated on the fly, every day, every hour and every time new data is presented.
A shoe retailer, for example, might identify microsegments based on a combination of factors, including geography, gender, income level, age, parental status, click-path analysis, past purchase data and more. Such microsegments supersede the value of rules-based segments created for A/B and multivariate testing, as they're virtually endless and constantly evolving.
The benefits of automated, high-performance targeting
The most effective conversion initiatives incorporate automated and high-performance targeting. They offer numerous benefits over manual, rules-based testing, including the following:
- On-site targeting optimization engines continually learn and evolve with site behavior over time. Each creative alternative works for a microcluster of users.
- Advanced targeting solutions don't have a predetermined traffic mix. Over time, and after enough information has been accumulated, traffic is allocated to each user based upon predictive analysis. This decision is monitored in the background and is constantly tested and adjusted every day the optimization is live.
- Reports provide a glimpse into what content is being served, how it's performing and how traffic is being allocated. This data allows for manual overrides when beneficial.
- Less time is needed than planning and analyzing A/B or multivariate tests. The initial planning phase is critical, but only needs to occur once. Planning for future waves essentially comes back to continuing to create diverse content variations over time, using the insight reports as guidance. The analysis and traffic mix is automatically handled behind the scenes.
Advanced targeting enables companies to move forward with marketing initiatives that only recently seemed futuristic and unattainable. Today, best practices in personalization mean automatically presenting visitors with an on-site experience that's built just for them. Delivering unique advertising to each user based on predictive attributes, optimizing promotions within email and communicating the right purchase reinforcement message yields the greatest revenue per visitor. All of these practices are possible now.
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