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Getting Started with Personalization: Include “Unknown” Visitors for Website Personalization

Wendy White | August 19, 2019

Thirty-seven percent of consumers in a Harris Poll survey commissioned by RedPoint said that they will no longer do business with a company that fails to offer a personalized experience. Moreover, 63 percent claim that personalization is now an expected, standard service. Part of that service, according to consumers, is for a brand to recognize them as the same customer across all channels, whether in-store, or via email, a mobile device, social media, a call center, or any other touchpoint.

Brands understand that it is an imperative to succeed at personalization to drive loyalty for the purpose of generating revenue. According to Marketing Insider Group, 78 percent of US consumers said a personalized web experience will increase their purchase intent. The problem lies in execution, with many brands struggling to prioritize a use case among hundreds of choices. Rapid action is imperative; Salesforce research shows that by next year, 51 percent of consumers will expect companies they interact with to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before the consumer makes contact.

The Salesforce report poses the hypothetical of a known, existing customer who has purchased tires who expects to receive regular reminders when it’s time for a tire rotation. Outbound marketing can accomplish this fairly routinely in certain channels such as email and direct mail. More challenging – but no less expected by the consumer – is personalized inbound marketing. A personalized web experience for first-time visitors who may be customers or prospects is a good starting point use case for brands looking to differentiate with personalization.

Personalization for the “Unknown” Visitor

One RedPoint customer, a satellite TV company, offers a good example. The company prioritizes customer acquisition, but struggled with bounce rates from website prospects, with more than half of anonymous visitors leaving without taking action. With RedPoint’s help, the company increased conversions by personalizing the website experience for an anonymous visitor – such as showing an offer for a type of program they’ve watched or expressed an interest in. At first glance this use case might seem trivial, but the alternative – the same static content for every visitor – is akin to the traditional direct mail “spray and pray” approach where a successful KPI might be a 1 percent conversion on 10 million direct mail pieces.

A recent Merkle report highlights the personalization imperative for unknown and known website visitors. Positing that the “decision to buy is largely driven by positive, quick and simple digital experiences,” the survey of 500 US consumers revealed 52 percent reporting having left a website because of a poor site experience. Further, two-thirds said that experience trumps price when making a purchase decision.

The RedPoint Digital Acquisition Platform, powered by LiveRamp, helps brands formulate and execute a digital acquisition strategy with a personalized website experience in real time for first-time, unknown visitors. In the past, if a first-time visitor to a brand’s website arrived with without identifiers such as cookies, the site wouldn’t have the insights to guide relevant content, products, services, or offers.

Today, thanks to a simple redirect that takes milliseconds, upon arrival of a first-time visitor the site requests an Identity Link from LiveRamp and uses that identifier to tailor the visit. Personalized content and offers are generated based on attributes within the brand’s anonymous database where PII has been removed to ensure privacy compliance, making it easier than ever to deliver the level of personalization that consumers expect, right from their first visit to your website.

Beyond the Basics: Personalization that Makes a Difference

A cultivated, personalized website experience for a first-time, anonymous visitor gives brands an enormous head start against competitors who deliver static content. A golden record, a single customer view that includes customer data of all types and from all sources, unlocks this opportunity to differentiate the brand and is also the foundation for delivering a personalized website experience to the known customer.

For a known visitor, advanced personalization of a website experience goes beyond first-party data; a golden record consolidates various data types and sources. One RedPoint customer, a CPG company, delivered real-time, web-based product recommendations to increase conversions 79 percent. Using the RedPoint platform, the company integrated more than 20 customer data sources into a single view of the customer.

With a single point of control over data, decisions, and interactions using the RedPoint Customer Engagement Hub™, the company created a real time recommendation engine that uses machine learning models to base customized recommendations on an endless number of variables. Far more than just past purchases or browsing history, the engine calculates hundreds of attributes to always recommend the right product in the context and cadence of the customer’s journey. A recommendation that might lead to a conversion in the morning, for example, might be an entirely different recommendation that evening based on any number of variables throughout the day, not limited to the customer’s behavior (an in-store visit, an abandoned shopping cart, a post on social media, etc.)

Don’t Be Left Behind

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) produced an in-depth research report on personalization two years ago that included the oft-repeated statistic that by 2022, there will be an $800 billion shift in revenue to the 15 percent of companies that get personalization right in healthcare, financial services, and retail. Further, brands that had already started creating personalized experiences were seeing revenue increases by up to 10 percent, up to four times faster than brands yet to tackle personalization.

While BCG’s research was not restricted to website personalization, the macro trend toward a personalized customer experience is a warning shot over the bow for brands to provide customers with more than a good product at a fair price. Personalization is now an expectation for any customer journey, and website personalization for anonymous and known visitors is a high impact, easily executed starting point.

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Wendy White
Wendy White

Wendy is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at RedPoint Global. She is a skilled digital marketing strategist, a tireless evangelist for marketing relevance and has guided dozens of F500 brands to become omnichannel enterprises. Wendy has extensive industry experience in hospitality, retail, media, and technology. Prior to RedPoint Global, Wendy was a Strategy Principal with the Strategic Services Division at Acxiom.