Content professionals are struggling to implement effective personalisation strategies – despite recognising the value of delivering relevant content to their users in real time.
That’s according to new Inviqa research which reveals that just 6% of web content management professionals have implemented a personalisation strategy that’s working, while 54% want to personalise content but feel unable to do so.
The results suggest that web content personalisation – which can drive content consumption, improve the customer journey, and create additional revenue streams through engaging customer experiences – continues to be a lost opportunity for many brands.
So why do the 100 content professionals Inviqa surveyed feel unable to pursue an effective personalisation strategy?
One explanation is content managers’ perception of the technology available to them. Around one fifth of survey respondents see technology as the biggest barrier to effective content management, and 49% believe their current content management system is only ‘adequate’ at helping them achieve their business goals.
Technology investment may well be a limiting factor here, with lack of budget cited by 30% of respondents as their biggest obstacle to effective content management.
But with a growing number of flexible content management repositories it’s surprising that many content professionals feel limited by the tools available to them. Platforms like eZ Platform, Drupal 8, and Pimcore suit different budgets and make personalisation a key component of the content delivery platform.
Technology is ultimately what differentiates one brand experience from another in a world where customer behaviour is changing faster than brands are. That’s why it’s so important for brands to keep on top of digital developments and recognise the business value they can offer. Web content personalisation, for example – currently delivered through the recommendations on a page – is set to get much more sophisticated (and subtle) with the rise of machine learning.
Meanwhile the emergence of new means to free content from delivery and presentation via a headless CMS, is allowing content to be what and where it needs to be, for the audiences and channels already known, as well as those yet to come. As brands look to try different approaches to personalisation – such as changing text and headlines for a specific context or persona – a structured content model will become increasingly valuable.
Content strategy and measurement
The Inviqa survey findings around personalisation point to wider challenges with strategic planning. A notable 46% of respondents admit they don’t have a well-defined content strategy, and ‘lack of strategy’ is the single biggest challenge for 18% of the content professionals we spoke to.
Underpinning this lack of strategy is the challenge of having to demonstrate return on investment in web content, with 16% citing their inability to prove ROI as the biggest obstacle to effective content management. Concerningly, 44% believe content ROI is only ‘sometimes’ measurable, and 55% only ‘occasionally’ use data to inform and improve content.
Web content personalisation is usually based on information about user behaviour – clicks, page views, and purchases, for example – or demographic data – such as location, job title, and industry.
However, the Inviqa survey findings show that not all content management systems integrate across all channels. 19% of respondents said their CMS doesn’t integrate with Google Analytics, though they would like it to, and 47% said their CMS doesn’t integrate with their marketing automation platform. This makes data collection and deriving insights difficult, resulting in missed opportunities to personalise content, strengthen the customer experiences they deliver, and demonstrate ROI.
Having clearly-defined KPIs is the first step in any content strategy – and that goes for personalisation strategies as well. Content professionals should first define the reason for implementing personalisation (is it ‘drive revenue’, ‘drive traffic’, or ‘increase content consumption’, for example?).
By agreeing goals with the relevant stakeholders and identifying how to use data to measure against them, you have the means to start prioritising personalisation as a measurable and objective part of your content strategy.
As users demand more tailored experiences, it’s important that brands recognise the value of a personalised content strategy in providing digital experiences that drive engagement and conversion – even if they’re just getting started.
It’s encouraging then that top reasons for investing in content include improving engagement (71%), increasing conversion (55%), building customer loyalty (50%), and enhancing the brand experience (47%). And it’s little surprise that a huge 67% of content strategists expect to produce more content in 2017.
The Inviqa survey is a reminder that personalisation can be difficult – particularly if your CMS limits your ability to collect and learn from user behaviour. But with an advanced and flexible CMS and a well-thought-out strategy, web content personalisation can help brands deliver better customer experiences and generate additional revenue streams.
Richard Jones is technical director of Inviqa’s content practice. With almost 20 years' experience in content strategy and management, Richard helps big names in retail, media, publishing, and entertainment with their digital content strategy and delivery. Inviqa is a web and software development company specialised in content management, ecommerce, and digital innovation.