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Personalization Tips and Tricks - A workshop by Hudson Arnold, a Strategy Consultant at Optimizely

Amanda 09-10-15

Personalization Tips and Tricks - A workshop by Hudson Arnold, a Strategy Consultant at Optimizely

[ Edited ]

Hi Optiverse!


I’m Hudson Arnold, a Strategy Consultant at Optimizely. I just hosted an online workshop called “Personalization Strategy Essentials” as part of our hands-on Optimizely Workshop series. Today, we covered:


  • Personalization 101 - Key Concepts
  • Personalization Strategy:
    • Discovering Audiences
    • Creating Personalized Experiences
    • Running Campaigns
  • Proven Personalization Tactics


First, what is personalization?


Fundamentally, personalization is  a simple formula.

Audiences + Experiences = Campaigns.


Let’s break that down a bit:


Audiences are subsets of visitors to your site or app that have something in common with each other; Perhaps it’s where they’re located, or whether or not they’re using a mobile device. Maybe you want to target visitors who purchased running shoes in the past, or potential customers who are qualified in your sales cycle or lead scoring. Audiences lets us slice and dice your visitors to help us frame their common needs, motivations, and pain points.


So, then, what are experiences? If the audiences are the who, experiences, are the where; Experiences are the pages, screens, promotions, imagery, headlines of your site or app that we’ll customize to better fit the needs of your most valuable audiences.


Now, when we take our customized experiences and serve them to a particular audience, we’re running personalization campaigns. For example, as a fashion retailer, we might create a campaign that shows a targeted lightbox promotion with a different type of shoe based on your audience qualification as preferring women’s fashion (show high heels) vs. warm weather climate (show sandals), etc.


The hard part, though, comes when trying to do each of these steps well - how do we discover the right audiences, create the best targeted experiences, and run the most effective campaigns?


It starts with how we discover our audiences. At a high level, the three most important steps are to

  • Create User Personas
  • Analyze Historical Data
  • Reference Technical Attributes


We also discussed how to best create targeted experiences once you’ve discovered your audiences. We do this by brainstorming messages, and then reviewing experiences to see where we can apply these messages on our site or app. We create a messaging matrix that documents our plan, and test through the best way to execute our campaigns.


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Once you’ve managed to get your campaigns running, it’s important to mitigate some special considerations that are unique to personalization, such a managing overlap, measuring performance or “lift,” and syncing A/B testing with personalization.


Last, while we strongly advocate you to take on a measured approach to developing personalization long term, there are some proven personalization tactics that we covered, including


  • Symmetric Messaging: The concept of ‘symmetry’ in online marketing is relatively well established as a best practice; when driving traffic from an banner ad, paid search placement, email, it’s accepted that you should try to replicate the expectations set in the ad in the landing page experience, through look & feel, value propositions, and keywords. What’s relatively new is the ability to act on this theory at scale, by tightly granular personalization of  messages, headlines, CTAs, and prioritization of value propositions.


  • Behavioral Retargeting: In online advertising, Retargeting is the proven practice of showing people the product or content they’ve already looked at via an ad network; you’ve probably seen this before. What this process doesn’t take advantage of is a.  more complex behavioral conditions than simply viewing a product, as well as b. doing retargeting while still in their session or when they return to site later on. In personalization, we want to do both things.


  • Contextual Empathy: Simply by adjusting the tone, language, imagery, navigation options that your users see based on something you know about them to be more relevant and empathetic to their situation, can provide a more comfortable, easy, and high-value experience for your users. For example, showing imagery of the Statue of Liberty for visitors from New York.


There you have it! The essential strategies to creating your own personalization plan! If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in this thread!


If you’d like to learn more from our Optimizely Workshop series, sign up here.


Here's the recording of the workshop. I'd encourage you to check it out and tell me what you think.


Re: Personalization Tips and Tricks - A workshop by Hudson Arnold, a Strategy Consultant at Optimize

This is really helpful, thanks for posting.