Not Personalizing? Now, There’s NO Excuse!

by Jason Hickey

posted on 09-15-2016

You simply must personalize — and, at this stage in the game, I cannot imagine anyone out there who would argue with me about this. However, it’s even more critical nowadays than it was even just a few months ago. Why? Because we’re in full-on crisis mode — a large-scale, consumer-led, digital crisis — and your brand has already been flung into the mix!

So, what am I talking about here? Consumers’ sheer intolerance for distracting experiences and irrelevant content. Due to not-so-user-friendly designs and user experiences (UXs), two in five site visitors don’t complete even the most basic tasks. Mobile web experiences aren’t great; endless steps and meaningless pages all contribute to slowing down what should be a simple, streamlined, and relevant experience. Average consumers have one-minute tolerances for all of these digital happenings — after that, they call it quits.

Enter personalization — and, simultaneously, the next roadblock: marketers just don’t leverage personalization as they should. Maybe it’s from fear of change or feeling as if their manual efforts are good enough. Perhaps they assume personalization integration will be too difficult, or maybe marketers even (incorrectly) think they need data scientists. For whatever reason, everyone appears to be discussing personalization; however, only a small portion of the population actually seems to be rolling up their sleeves to get the job done.

Adobe Target: Better-Than-Best Personalization
I’m thrilled to share with all of you here the latest personalization innovations in Adobe Target. Our goal? To squash some of the physical and mental barriers that are preventing marketers from maximizing relevance and revenue. To make this as simple as possible, we’re putting personalization right in the middle of something most marketers are already familiar with: testing. Marketers test to determine things like the best experiences. In fact, we believe personalization must be deeply rooted in experimentation — that, to truly personalize experiences and do better than your best, your testing must always be “turned on.” We’re making this possible by building machine learning into our testing workflow, enabling rapid experience-personalization at scale.

One-Click Personalization
Many of our Adobe Target Premium customers leverage something called Automated Personalization to power content personalization in key locations across their sites and apps. Starting next month, a few of our select customers will be able to leverage the same powerful machine-learning system within Adobe Target’s Visual Experience Composer and Form Composer to personalize experiences in the same simple way they’d set up A/B tests. By simply clicking ‘Auto-Target’ on step two of our three-step guided workflow, marketers can enable a powerful personalization engine to determine the right experience to serve each individual.

Put multiple experience variations into the mix — Adobe Target will handle the rest by evaluating all behavioral and contextual variables from every audience source in Adobe Marketing Cloud to determine the right experience for each of your website visitors and app users. You could have, for instance, 10 or 20 different page experiences — ranging from minor creative or copy adjustments all the way to entirely different layout experiences. That’s right — no need for targeting rules, no waiting for test completion, and no more going to information technology (IT) to push a winning experience to production. You’ll be able to tap into real-time analyses surrounding the most predictive elements of each site visitor, which in turn, will enable you to deliver instant targeting tied to the best-performing experiences and maximize conversions throughout the test. Auto-Target will deliver more lift while also creating more relevance than you could ever accomplish with even the most well-crafted A/B test. That is what I call better than best!

The Algorithm Dilemma
The nuances between different algorithmic approaches — residual variance models, reach/frequency, random forest, and lifetime value — can honestly be lost on some marketers. And, can you blame them? They’re marketers, not data scientists! What the heck is a Markov Chain anyway? So, how do you go about asking marketers to choose? It’s such a tough decision to make that, in many cases, it can lead to choice-paralysis. Not fully understanding the scope and scale of what’s available to them leads some marketers and brands to make a different choice — the choice not to choose at all.

Now, with Adobe Target, there’s no heavy algorithmic choice to be made. Similar to our previously released Auto-Allocate feature that uses a ‘multi-armed bandit’, Auto-Target evaluates all machine-learning algorithms available to Adobe Target and continually picks one that delivers the best performance to the specific campaign in question and, thereby, eliminates the marketer’s choice-paralysis — problem solved. Relevance delivered.

The End Goal: Streamlining Personalization for Marketers
We strive to deliver more personalization — and more interesting uses for personalization — throughout our entire community. If yesterday was the era of copy-and-create — with simple outputs like offers and banners — today, it’s all about dreaming big and executing bigger. Nowadays, if you can cook it up, we can connect the dots and drive spot-on relevance, deeper engagement, and more meaningful, measurable lifts as a result.

We’re confident that Adobe Target’s guided visual workflow, built-in organizational features, and alerts will both boost scale and support the democratization of optimization and personalization even more broadly than before. The new release places powerful personalization directly in marketers’ paths. It’s simple, straightforward — you just can’t miss it. Because, now, if you can run a simple A/B test, you can leverage personalization in your marketing and branding efforts — adoption barrier removed. The training wheels are coming off. Personalization is now in the creative mind’s domain. If you can imagine it, you can personalize it. So — very simply put — why wouldn’t you?

Topics: Personalization