When it comes to a brand’s online experience, personalization is the new mandate. But personalization goes beyond content creation and web content management – it requires advanced planning, strategy and forethought.
To discuss the state of online content personalization, we sat down with Paul Pezzano, chief operating officer of Bluetube, a full service digital agency and systems integrator that helps brands with their digital experience.
What is the biggest problem you see with a company’s web content?
Without question, the number one issue is that it is often way too difficult to find relevant content. Organizations are well aware they possess large amounts of content, but they’re unable to provide relevant material to their visitors. Ultimately, if visitors don’t have a compelling reason to stay on a site, they will go elsewhere. Organizations are investing considerably in developing content, but that time and effort is wasted when relevant content is not presented.
What is the biggest problem you see when content that needs to be found, or website search?
The biggest challenge is the lack of strategy and customization when it comes to search rankings. Companies simply do not take the time to organize content, tag it and make it relevant. The consequences are flat and irrelevant search results and poor search rankings.
Another trending challenge is the amount of content that resides in disparate systems. Within most organizations today, information is stored in any combination of SharePoint, intranet, homegrown systems, etc. These companies have stored content in these systems for years, but trends like Big Data and content marketing have driven the need for all relevant content to appear online. When these systems are pieced together in a non-cohesive manner, this leads to weak, irrelevant searches. Rather than visitors being immediately presented with the most relevant content, they are forced to spend time learning the ins and outs of a variety of different systems. It’s a piecemeal experience that can frustrate site visitors.
How does Bluetube help in a personalization strategy? What is the first step?
The number one piece of advice is to have a game plan. While this sounds like an obvious answer, the reality is that most companies don’t approach it with any cohesive strategy. You wouldn’t design without usability planning, or build software without a technical architecture, so content planning should follow the same structure and forethought. Organizations need to put themselves in their visitor’s shoes, develop content goals based on visitor need and then develop a content plan that leads back to those goals. Do not issue content for the sake of issuing content.
What’s next in web content management and personalization?
The “next big thing” is device-specific personalization. We’ve all see the trend of organizations being adaptive and appealing to different types of devices as part of visual presentation, but the next big trend is personalization and content delivery based upon device. A recent Forrester study illustrates how usage of device differs, and how marketers can leverage this to target campaigns more effectively. Mobile phone users gravitate toward video and succinct text. Tablet users prefer feature articles, case studies, etc. Desktop users like a combination of both. Brands have begun to tailor content in certain ways to appeal to those preferences, driving increased conversions as a result. As brand adoption grows, new sets of tools will arise to make device-specific personalized content more achievable.
Another trend on the horizon – which has already begun to appear on LinkedIn and Facebook – is the personalizing content before users have asked for it. Rather than constantly “asking” the site for the content they want, the site will automatically initiate a search based upon user behavior and deliver customized results. Website search plays a huge role in this change, especially with large amounts of content available – we feel that people will start to understand the power and flexibility to platforms like Sitecore and Coveo.