Adding Value with Personalization

You’re probably wondering how can a user find value in something such as personalized content? Let’s start by discussing what is often valuable to a user when it comes to a digital experience. It often comes down to a few simple questions:

  • Was the experience memorable?
  • Did the experience follow basic UX principles? Was it intuitive?
  • Was the overall topic interesting?
  • Did the experience answer questions, fill a need, or motivate to move to a specific task such as make a purchase or complete a form?

To best get this, I’d like to take a card from Gary Vaynerchuk and his messages around being self-aware. Gary says:

What works for one person doesn’t work for everyone.

To be self-aware in the digital world, we have to look at the overall experience and ask ourselves, would you be compelled to talk to my brand? It is becoming more evident that users want to access experiences over a wide range of devices. As a brand, the first way you can add value to an experience is to be aware of the way your audience accesses information. With 29% of marketers saying content formats are boring or uninspiring, it’s a strategic imperative to deliver responsive experiences.

As an example, let’s look at the ion interactive Stackie. Starting with the initial concept, we knew the mobile version would be drastically different from desktop. Because 55.8% of B2B buyers frequently access business-related content on mobile phones now, we knew we had to make this experience valuable by creating a unique experience for all devices—what we could do to represent our Stackie in a full browser would be a bad experience on a mobile or tablet device...

Here is the example:

In this example, you can see in the desktop view that we take the user through the content by having them scroll from left-to-right. However, on mobile, the navigation flows top-to-bottom, which was far more useable.

Most brands can benefit from being more aware of their users' unique needs, intent, and interest. One area that has been on my mind a lot lately (because we’ve launched a few for customers in the past month) is content libraries. One way to add value to the user would be to change the order of your assets based on their segment (if you already have some data on them from prior behaviors or forms completed). This tactic is like walking into a store and having your own personal stylist who knows what you like before you’re even finished trying on the first outfit. This level of personalization makes a user feel more comfortable.

If you wanted to go even further with this example, you could try serving up content based on the user's selections within a specific form. For example, asking your prospect about their pain points or current struggles could guide you when considering what content to provide them in the future. Adding a form to this type of experience will help you with targeting the content you provide to prospective customers.

In order to learn what is truly valuable to your users, there is one step you cannot overlook: test and optimize! Large brands that see the most value from customization are continually testing across their digital experiences. I’m always impressed with brands such as Amazon who serve up suggested and frequently bought together products based on previous purchases of mine.

This adds value to my experience by suggesting products I might not have thought of otherwise.  In addition to learning about new products, I am often reminded of accessories I may have forgotten. For example, if I purchase a bike helmet there is a good chance I will want knee pads or even a bike lock as well. As a consumer, this saves time and frustration later on when I do realize that I need these products.

In short, brands can find a lot of value with personalization both in adding additional products and in creating a good user experience to potential users.

Content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life.
— Avinash Kaushik, Google