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How to Use Data and Content Personalisation in Digital Marketing

What data is most useful to deliver the personalised digital experiences customers demand? How can you reach your audiences with consistent and engaging content marketing wherever they are in their digital journey? And how do you prioritise your limited marketing resources to move towards these goals? Read on to find out.

Ever wonder how some organisations are managing to get ahead in these challenging times?

Our market space is rapidly changing as the pandemic has accelerated companies’ digital communications strategies by an average of 6 years and businesses seek new ways of engaging with customers in a digital-first world.

Customers today have come to expect digital experiences that are relevant to their needs.

A survey by Accenture showed 91% of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that recognize, remember and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations.

In the B2B space, buyers are bombarded with irrelevant content. Highly tailored, B2C-like experiences can generate significantly higher levels of engagement. 

Marketers can achieve this through content personalisation, using a combination of historic data and predictive analytics to engage more meaningfully with audiences wherever they are on the digital journey. Google has found that customers are 40% more likely to spend more than planned when their user experiences are highly personalised. They’re also actively encouraging organisations to invest in optimising their customer touchpoints by changing the search algorithm by May 2021 to reward websites that provide a greater on-page experience with higher organic rankings.

Simultaneously, there’s been an explosion in marketing data over the past few years. Deriving actionable insights from your data can be a challenge when you have a growing number of sources across an increasingly complex ecosystem of systems and tools.

 data sources

Image Source: Salesforce Insights

With so much data available, only 49% of marketers say they have a completely unified view of potential sources, which makes it challenging to take action.

According to the CMO Council, although 78% of marketers agree that they should lead a data-driven customer strategy, only 7% of them say they can actually deliver real-time, data-driven marketing engagements.

So what data is most useful to deliver the personalised digital experiences customers demand? How can you reach your audiences with consistent and engaging content marketing wherever they are in their digital journey? And how do you prioritise your limited marketing resources to move towards these goals? Read on to find out.

 

Using data to inform digital marketing

Building a relationship with your customers and earning the loyalty necessary to gather the data you need to personalise content requires a long term approach. The more accurate and relevant data you gather, the more tailored you can become with your outreach.

Simply collecting information from various sources isn’t enough: where the magic happens is when you unify, analyse and generate actionable insights from that data. The most effective marketing strategies are based on continuous experimentation to find the right combination of relevant data points that enable organisations to create content that resonates with target audiences.

Internal data sources should include:

  • Web analytics

  • Social media analytics

  • CRM systems

  • Product or platform user analytics

  • eCommerce history and shopping patterns

  • App engagement

  • Email engagement

  • Customer surveys

  • Advertising and other paid marketing activities

 

There are many ways to enrich that data by combining it with external sources. This type of information helps you gain a deeper understanding of specific markets, trends, consumers, demographics, geographies and industry sectors that matter for your business.

Examples of external data sources include:

  • Keyword research through a tool like Moz or SEMrush

  • Google trends

  • Business statistics

  • Market research

  • Industry reports

  • Publicly available data from government agencies and non-profit organisations

  • Insights from your business partners

Applying marketing data to achieve your goals

Once you’ve listed out all your potential data sources, it can seem rather overwhelming to prioritise which ones to focus on.

A first step should be to map out what’s most critical to reach your specific marketing goals. Other considerations include time to market, budget and potential opportunity impact.

There will always be multiple interactions with your brand prior to any commercial engagement or purchase, making it equally important to understand how to connect the dots between your various data sources to derive insights as customers move along their journeys.

How you use your data will be unique to your organisation and its business goals. Here are a few combinations of sources you can experiment with to achieve specific outcomes: 

 

Common digital marketing goals

How data can help achieve these goals

Get more qualified inbound leads

Conduct keyword research against your user personas combined with social media analytics and integrate these findings in your content marketing strategy

Help grow customer lifetime value

Combine product engagement and other customer data to create content that demonstrates the value your product or service delivers (money saved, the outcome achieved, increased growth, etc.)

Improve paid activity conversion rate

Retarget audiences who have already visited your website with relevant sponsored content when they visit other websites

Increase email campaign engagement

Tailor email subject lines, content and landing pages to specific user personas based on market research, web analytics and Google trends

 

81% of consumers say they expect businesses to both understand them and know the right moment to approach them.

It is therefore critical to use your data to engage your customers with the right message at the right time on the right channel. That’s where content personalisation can step in to help you stand out amongst the noise.

Increasing customer engagement through content personalisation

The average person receives 121 emails a day and interacts with thousands of ads. Incorporating content personalisation throughout your digital touchpoints can increase engagement at every stage and improve loyalty. Customers who feel that your brand genuinely meets their needs are more likely to both make the initial purchase and continue to come back for more. 

Recent research has found that:

Dynamic content personalisation enables marketers to automatically change the content your users see based on how you have segmented your audiences and other database-driven signals.

Customer data points that should be used for audience segmentation will include:

  • Gender

  • Age

  • Location (city, country, region)

  • Device (smartphone, tablet, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, etc.)

  • Visitor frequency

  • Date and time of day

  • Referring URL

  • Campaign activity (through UTM codes) 

  • Email and landing page engagement

  • Paid advertising engagement (Google Ads/Shopping, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)

  • Purchase history

You can use a combination of these criteria to engage very granular segments, such as:

France + iOS + local holiday + returning visitor = segment A

Australia + Android + local holiday + new visitor = segment B

 

Benchmarking the impact of content personalisation

Once you’ve segmented your audiences, here are a few ways content personalisation can support your digital marketing strategy:

Common digital marketing goals

How content personalisation can help

Accelerate customer acquisition

Deliver tailored offers to specific geographies or provide a targeted audience with content at time-limited intervals

Increase website revenue influenced by email marketing

Create emails that are highly relevant to customers’ previous experience with the brand (purchase history, frequency of website visits, content consumed) and correspond to their demographic data

Improve content conversion rates

Vary calls to action based on previous content consumption and CTA engagement, guiding the user through a specific path

Reduce bounce rates and increase time on page across website

Dynamically display different content based on the user’s device, language, geography and prior engagement such as return rate

 

Generating marketing ROI by reaching customers with relevant content

A company that does personalisation very well is Amazon: every one of their customers has a personalised homepage based on their browser history and purchase history, creating a curated shopping experience. 35% of what consumers purchase on Amazon now comes directly from these personalised recommendations. Also, even if there’s no pre-existing customer profile, website visitors around the world are automatically served content in their native language and currency according to their location. 

Many other companies are experimenting with how to increase engagement through content personalisation. Zumba Fitness used a personalised video to grab the attention of instructors for their annual convention and saw the click-through rates increase from 5.4% in the control message to 21% in the personalised message - at 50% it was the highest click-to-open rate they had ever achieved. 

Less conventional data points can sometimes be the most effective when it comes to creating individual messages that resonate with your customers. Pet retailer Doggyloot gathers data based on their customers' dogs' name, breed, size, gender and birthday. Personalising emails based on the size of dog led to click-through rates 410% higher than the company average and dog birthday related promotions contribute up to 16% of their daily total revenue. 

People, markets and the world we live in are constantly evolving. Experimenting with personalisation enables you to precisely determine which messages resonate with your audience segments. New emerging technology enables you to optimise content across the customer journey, powered by machine learning with automation that delivers a human approach at scale.

Centralising digital experiences to optimise the customer journey

Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) provide a solution to the fragmented data landscape many marketing and IT teams struggle to integrate in order to effectively deliver personalised content for their customers. Gartner defines a DXP as “an integrated set of core technologies that support the composition, management, delivery and optimization of contextualised digital experiences.”

DXPs are an evolution of the standard content management system (CMS) approach to organising content, data and other media for your digital window to the world. They enable you to:

  • Personalise content and user experiences across every digital touchpoint

  • Track and analyse user behaviour to inform data-driven decision making

  • Conduct experiments to continuously improve engagement rates

  • Create and manage omnichannel content, removing the burden of manually creating and distributing content multiple times for different customer touchpoints 

  • Limit IT complexities with a single “central nervous system” for all internal and external user experiences

  • Automate workflows between teams, systems and across the organisation, reducing time spent gathering data so you can focus on deriving insights and driving results...and much more!

In 2019, RedBull Media House consolidated all their web properties, omnichannel and global content onto one platform. As a media company, their main goal was to increase web visitor engagement and content consumption on their channels. By getting their entire marketing and content production team collaborating on the same data through the same interface, they dramatically improved their operational efficiency to produce more targeted content at scale. These newly streamlined processes delivered a consistently engaging, personalised experience for their users across every digital touchpoint. 

The results? An uplift of +66% average time on page, +150% page views and +230% video views.

 

What next?

Once you’ve identified all the different ways you can use data and content personalisation as part of your marketing strategy, how do you best leverage your limited resources for maximum impact? If you find it challenging to get a holistic view of digital marketing performance, you’re not alone: only 5% of CMOs say they are able to confidently determine the bottom-line impact of data-driven engagements, primarily due to fragmented and disconnected systems.

Want to get your hands on a complimentary digital analysis to help you become a truly data-driven marketer? The Altis Impact Analysis provides marketers with a full breakdown of their existing digital marketing approach, along with recommendations on best practices regarding performance, automation, A/B testing, analytics, audience segmentation and personalisation.

Get in touch with the Altis DXP team - an OMG Partner - to find out how our Impact Analysis could help you achieve your digital marketing goals.

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