It’s time to determine how the encounter will appear once you have a sense of the technical possibilities. Let’s pretend we’re designing for a venture several of you inquired about in my previous post : Reindeer Hugs International. This is a nonprofit that provides reindeer with hugs as its name suggests. RHI wishes to personalize the website and recently established small business goals.
Then let us see the particular value we could add for these sections when they come to the website. To do so, we will revisit a version that we looked at previously for the four personalization material kinds . This will help us organize the collective content or”effort” we reveal each section based on a specific personalization goal:
Indeed, many personalization programs continue to be driven primarily out of marketing and IT departments, a holdover from the heritage of the inbound,”creepy” targeted advertising. Fixing that model will require exactly the same paradigm shift we’ve used to tackle other challenges in our field: intentionally moving design”upstream,” in such a scenario to technology selection, data collection, and page-level implementation.

Segments worksheet

Segment How to discover Personalization Target Messaging Strategy
Current Members Logged in or left guest participation (track through cookie) Improve engagement with current members by 10% You are a hugging rock star, but you are able to hug it out much more.
Non-member Males Inbound Facebook and Instagram campaigns Boost conversion with non-member males age 25–34 by 5% Make reindeer hugging manly again.
Non-member Automobiles Inbound Facebook and Instagram campaigns Boost conversion with non-member parents age 31–49 by 5 percent Reindeer hugging is very good for the kids.
Now let’s decide where to the website we would like to run these personalized campaigns. This isn’t too dissimilar from the job you already do around templates and components, together with the addition that we may now have personalized zones. You can think of them as blocks in which the CMS (or third party plugin) will soon be conducting a series of calculations to determine the user segment in real-time (or according to a previously cached profile). These are typically dropped in at the template level to get the maximum protection. Here are examples for our home page template and page template that is interior:

OK, we are getting close! Last, let’s look at what we want the machine to show in these slots. According to our campaigns worksheet, we know how many permutations of articles we want. We sit down with the creative team to design our targeted messages, including the copy, pictures, and calls to action. Here Is What the funds campaign (the blue zone) might look like for our three audiences:

Component 1: Personalization technical layout

Influencing technology choices

Part 2: Personalization info design

Personalization deliverables

Tactic Definition Examples
Geolocation Personalizing based upon the physical location of the consumer, via a geolocation-enabled apparatus or an internet browser IP address (which may triangulate your position based on local wifi devices). Cases: If I am in Washington, DC, show me promotions for DC. If I am in Paris, show me promotions for Paris.

Sample Tools: MaxMind, HTML5 API

Quizzes and Profile Info A easy, cost-effective way to gather first-party user information by asking fundamental questions to help assign somebody to a section. Frequently performed as a layover”intercept” when the consumer arrives, which can subsequently be modified according to a cookied profile. Usually must be short to be effective. Examples: Are you considering our service for home use or business use? Are you currently in the market to purchase or sell a home?
Campaign Source One of the most well-known techniques of personalization, it sends a user into a customized landing page based on incoming effort information. Could be used for everything to personalizing content on the entire website from passing a unique discount code. Examples: Customize landing page based on incoming email campaigns, social media campaigns, and paid search campaigns.
Clicks or Pages Viewed Slightly more innovative approach to personalizing predicated on behavior; common on ecommerce. Examples: Products you viewed; implied content you have recently been considering. Helpful for determining who’s currently visiting with you from a company location, based on IP address. Cases: Prove me a different message if I work in the fashion industry vs. hog farming.

Sample Tools: Marketo, Oracle (BlueKai), Demandbase

Geofencing Contextual personalization inside a”virtual perimeter.” Establishes a predetermined geographical border according to your device place, typically through GPS or RFID. Your device can have an action when you leave or enter the location. Examples: Prove me my boarding pass once I’m in the airport. Remind me about unused gift cards once I enter the shop.
Behavioral Profiling Add a user to a section based on users that fall in that segment. Combined with machine learning how to identify new sections that humans would not be able to predict. Examples: Sitecore pattern cards, e.g., urge buyer, purchases in bulk, bargain hunter; expedites shipping.
Machine Learning Identify patterns across large sets of data (often across stations ) to predict what a user will want. In theory, improves more than algorithms”learn” from tens of thousands of interactions. (Obvious drawback: your site will have to support thousands of interactions)

Obviously, all that work was rather manual. If you are lucky enough to be operating with an advanced DMP (Data Management Platform) or integrated DXP (Digital Experience Platform) then you have even more chances available. By way of example, machine learning and behavior profiling can help you discover sections over time which you might not have dreamed of (the study we referenced previously showed that 26% of marketing applications have attempted some form of algorithmic one-to-one approach; 68% use rules-based targeting to segments). This can be enhanced via parametric scoring, in which actioning off of multiple data inputs will be able to allow you to create blends of audience types (in our case, a thirty-three-year-old dad may get 60 per cent Parent and 40 percent Real Man… or whatever). (as an instance, we might tag an article with 20 percentage Reindeer Advocacy and 80 percent Hug Best Practices.) These metrics can be even illustrated by platforms such as Sitecore, like in this example of a pattern card:
A non-personalized or default option pair of content will be shown if the machine didn’t get an audience match.

Component 3: Advanced personalization techniques

Digital Experience Platforms

That’s where you come in. In reality, if you are anything like me, you’ve been doing so, softly. Here are just a few examples of UX-specific tasks I’ve finished

A quadrant chart with Number of Visitors for the Y-Axis and Session Time for the X-Axis. In the top left quadrant (titled Advanced Segmentation) lie Geo-Fencing and Clicks or Pages Viewed. Directly between the top left and top right quadrant lies Behavioral Profiling. In the top right quadrant (titled Big Data 1-to-1) lies Machine Learning. In the bottom left quadrant (titled Basic Segmentation) lies Campaign Source, SIC/NASIC Codes, and Geo-Location. And finally in the bottom right quadrant (titled Basic Self Selection) lies Quizzes and Profile Info.
To discover your personalization”sweet spot,” think about your audience concerning volume (number of visits) and average attention span (time on site).
  1. Segments worksheet;
  2. campaigns worksheet;
  3. personalization wireframes;
  4. and personalization copy deck.

Observing the model we discussed earlier, the first thing we do is define our viewers based on site interaction routines that are existing. We find that RHI doesn’t get a great deal of organic traffic, but they do have a reasonably active collection of authenticated users (present members) as well as some paid social media campaigns. Working with the marketing group, we suggest personalizing the site for 3 high-potential sections , as follows:
As you can see, an important rule of thumb would be to customize about the principal content, not the entire page. There are a variety of reasons for this, including the risk of getting the audience wrong, effects on search indexing, and what’s referred to as the infinite content difficulty , i.e., can you realistically produce articles for every single audience on every single component?
Just as UX people took up the torch around content strategy years back, there’s a landmark moment quickly approaching for personalization strategy. In other words, the technology in this area is far outpacing the design practice. For example, while”personalized” emails have been around forever (“Dear COOLIN,…”), it’s now estimated that a 45 percent of associations [PDF] have tried to customize their homepage. It should if you scare : the report suggested that over a third think it’s actually working.
By way of example, current members who are logged in might gain from a”Make Easier” effort of hyperlinks to content that is articles. Conversely, each of those three sections could reap the benefits of a personalized”Cross-Sell” effort to help generate consciousness. Let’s capture our thoughts like this:
The fantastic news here is that you should not possess a data platform set up; you could begin to build audience profiles simply by requesting users to self-identify via profile info or quizzes. But in either scenario, your objective is the same: help guide the technology decision toward a customization strategy that offers actual value to your viewers, not“because we can.”

A bar chart showing the most commonly personalized experiences (in order of highest ranking to lowest): Email content at 71%, Home page at 45%, Landing pages at 37%, Interior pages at 28%, Product detail pages at 27%, Blog at 20%, Navigation at 18%, Search at 17%, Pricing at 14%, and App screens at 13%.
While good old”mail merge” personalization has been around forever, more organizations are currently personalizing their website content. Source: Researchscape International survey of 300 marketing professionals from five countries, conducted to March 28, 2018.

Personalization copy deck

Reindeer Hugs International: Capital Campaign (Cross-Sell)
Element Definition Asset
Message A:
Present Member
Headline: Require Your Hugs to the Next Level

Copy: You’re a showcasing pro. However, did you know that you could hug two reindeers simultaneously?

Main CTA: Subscribe to our Two-for-One Hugs

Secondary CTA: Learn More

A young woman hugging a very handsome reindeer.
Source: Current-Member.jpg
Full-size render: 900×450
Thumbnail leave: 300×200
Message B:
Real Men Hug
Headline: Real Men Hug Reindeer

Duplicate: Are you a true man?

Main CTA: Prove It

Secondary CTA: [None]

A bearded man hugging another handsome reindeer.
Source: Man-Hug.jpg
Full-size leave: 900×450
Thumbnail leave: 300×200
Message C:
Parents with Young Kids
Headline: searching for a fun activity to do with the children?

Copy: Reindeer hugs are 100% Nominal and 200% environmentally-friendly.

To accomplish this, I propose asking two questions: 1) Exactly what info can you collect on your users, and 2) which approaches best match this information. Some capacities may already exist in your current systems; some you may want to build to your future technology roadmap. The following is by no means a comprehensive list but highlights a few of the tactics out there today, and tools that support them:

  • Aligning personalization to the core content plan ;
  • working together with the marketing team to comprehend objectives and goals ;
  • identifying user segments (personas) that will benefit from personalized articles;
  • drafting personalization use cases;
  • assisting the technical staff with product choice ;
  • helping define the user data model, such as first- and third party resources;
  • wireframing personalized components from the information architecture;
  • taking inventory of existing content to repurpose for personalization;
  • writing or editing fresh personalized backup ;
  • working with the design staff to make personalized images;
  • creating a personalization editorial calendar and governance model;
  • helping set up and monitor results from a personalization pilot;
  • partnering with all the analytics group to generate iterative improvements;
  • being a voice for the personalization app’s ethical standards;
  • and tracking customer responses to make certain people are not freaking the f* outside.

As you can see, the best tactic(s) can vary dramatically according to your audience and the way they interact with you personally. For instance, if you are a high-volume, B2C ecommerce site, you may have sufficient information to support personalized product recommendations that are useful. Conversely, if you are a B2B business with a skilled lead design and fewer unique visitors, you may be better served with third-party info to help you tailor your message according to industry type (NAICS code) or geography. To help illustrate this idea, let us do a mapping of tactics relative to visitor quantity and session time:
Everything in white is the non-personalized, or”static,” content, which never changes, regardless of who you are. The personalized zones themselves (color-coded dependent on our content model) will also have an underlying default or canonical content collection that looks if the system doesn’t get a personalized game. (Note: this is also the edition of the content that’s usually indexed by search engines)

Two separate wireframes with corresponding colored boxes showing which portions of the page relate to each type of personalization.
Showing component-level”zoning” on homepage and landing page templates. The colors correspond to the personalization content type.

While all that is super cool, even the most tech-savvy among us will benefit from beginning”simple,” lest you fall prey into the cult of those intricate . The manual process of identifying your target audience and use cases, irrespective of your technician stack, is crucial to creating an modification program, as an example. At a minimum, this strategy will let you get buy-in from your team and organization vs. just telling everybody the website will be personalized at a”black box” somewhere. And even with the best-in-class products, I have yet to find seamless”one-click” personalization, in which the machine magically does everything from discovering audiences to pumping out content, all in real time. We’ll get there one day, possibly.
Sound familiar? Many of these are simply variations on the user-centered tactics you’ve relied on for ages. The difference today is that customization generates a”third dimension” of sophistication relative to content and audience. We’ll define that complexity further in two parts: information design and technical design. (We must note that the focus of this guide is personalizing web content, but many of the very same principles also apply to native and email software .)
If you listened to episode 180 of The Big Web Display , you noticed two key themes: 1) personalization has become woven into much of the fabric of our digital technology, and 2) designers need to become considerably more involved in its creation and installation. In my previous post we took a comprehensive look at the first subject: the practice of harvesting user data to personalize web content, including the rewards (this website gets me) And dangers (creepy!) . By influencing technology choice, to data modeling, to page-level implementation: in this piece, we will take a detailed look in the UX practitioner role in personalization layout. And it.

The very reputable-looking logo of Reindeer Hugs International. It seems legit.
Seems reputable.

Efforts worksheet

Segment Alert Make Easier Cross-Sell Enrich
Present Members Geolocation Banner
Hugs necessary in your town (displays to any user with location information ).
Links for members who are logged in, like to profile data, a member directory, and reindeer buddies catalogue. Capital Campaign
Create awareness by audience (minimum three distinct messages).
Present Member Blog
Invest in producing original, hug-provoking content to further our brand.
Non-member Men Age 25–34 Non-Member CTA In the non-member adventure, this will be replaced by a CTA. Thought Leadership
Prove that we would be the definitive source of reindeer hugs.
But, in the meantime, it is your decision.
This closely correlates to the”Neurotic Shopper” card, so we might show that this user content on our free-returns policy. Source: The Berndt Group.

Cult of the complex

A call to arms

That is a fairly good start. We would want to follow a similar approach to detail our other three articles campaigns, including alarms (e.g., hugs needed in your area), create easier (e.g., member shortcuts), and also enrichment articles (e.g., blog articles on newest reindeer styles ). When all the campaigns are up and functioning, we might expect the homepage when seen in different browser sessions, by two Distinct audiences, concurrently, in real time to look something like this:

The four contrasting tasks at hand: Alert, Make Easier, Cross-Sell, and Enrich
A Personalization Content Model revealing four tastes of customized content.

When clients or internal stakeholders come to you with a desire to”do personalization,” the very first thing to ask is what does this mean. As you’ve probably noticed, the tech landscape has now matured to the point where you can”personalize” a digital experience based on just about anything, from basic geolocation to complex machine learning algorithms. What’s more, such attributes are increasingly baked into your CMS or easily available from third-party plugins (see graph below). So defining what personalization is–and is not –is an essential first step.

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