1) What metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) should be monitored to measure the success of web personalization efforts?
This depends on the type of organization you are in. For example, if you’re a university, you might look at conversion rates of students or engagement metrics on certain pages that involve personalization.
If you’re a local government you might look at resident satisfaction scores.
Anyone trying to implement personalization will have a unique set of goals and objectives and it’s super important to make sure metrics and KPIs are tied to those individual goals.
2) What are the future trends and advancements expected in the field of web personalization?
Omnichannel personalization - bringing together in-person and online interactions and personalizing and curating an individual experience based off that all.
Personalization at Scale - as the volume of data and the number of users increase, organizations will need robust infrastructure and advanced algorithms to process and analyze data efficiently. So improvements in automation, intelligent segmentation, and scalable personalization techniques will be coming to help guide that.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) - AR and VR technologies have the potential to transform web personalization. These immersive technologies can provide personalized product visualization or interactive simulations tailored to individual preferences. Education is a space that is expected to really look to AR and VR to deliver engaging and deeply personalized experiences.
3) Do you have any insight into segmenting prospective students in general in the Higher Education space?
I think one of the most interesting things at the moment is international recruitment. Many studies are predicting a surge in international applications to the UK. And what we’re hearing is that it’s not uncommon for universities to simply treat ‘international students as a segment.
This is despite the fact that prospective students from different countries often want very different things. They typically gravitate towards different types of courses. Some are more focussed on employability. Some are really interested in European culture.
What’s essential is understanding these differences and then you can start creating some really great, more granular segments and personalizing content to them, which is likely to yield more engagement and more conversions.
4) How can machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) be used in web personalization?
Above and beyond the standard recommendations related to content that can be generated in real-time, another way AI can be used in web personalization now is content customization.
This is where we can leverage AI techniques like natural language processing (NLP), to analyse and understand user preferences for how they want to consume content - do they tend to consume videos? Then serve the content as a short, generated video, with the voiceover in the language of their choice. Does another user tend to like reading the information, but they only read the first 150 words? Then serve a short, punchy summary of the content. It’s all about personalizing and tailoring the content for the users' individual needs and preferences.
Predictive analytics is another way to use AI algorithms that utilize historical data to make predictions about user behaviour, such as the likelihood to make a complaint, the likelihood of a student leaving a university, etc. These predictions can be used to personalize their digital experiences to adjust the content to offer them personalized help before they reach that critical point of complaining or leaving.
5) Are there any privacy concerns associated with web personalization?
Yes is the short answer. But with a CDP, you have control over your customers’ data rather than relying on third-party cookies where someone else stores and manages that data.
CDPs collect first-party data which is always collected with a customer’s consent.
You may have heard of the ‘cookie apocalypse’ – that is the phasing out or restriction of third-party cookies on browsers. Many have done so already. In fact, Google Chrome is one of the last to block or restrict third-party cookies. This means that marketers won’t be able to rely on third-party cookies to help them target users.
The good news is, as mentioned above, a CDP collects and analyzes first-party data, which is not only more accurate and relevant but decreases reliance on other data sources as well.
6) What are the data collection best practices we should consider when looking at personalization in a cookieless world?
Focus on collecting and leveraging first-party data. First-party data is obtained directly from your own website or application, with user consent, and can include information such as user preferences, interactions, and behaviour which is a really strong base for anonymous personalization.
You do need to get explicit user consent for data collection and clearly communicate how the collected data will be used. Transparent privacy policies and cookie notices are essential to build trust with users and demonstrate your commitment to privacy.
It's also really important to make sure you have excellent security measures to protect user data from unauthorized access or breaches. Comply with applicable data protection regulations, such as GDPR, or other regional privacy laws, to ensure lawful data handling practices.
7) I have heard you need a customer data platform to implement personalization. Can it be done without one and what are the benefits of using one?
While it is not strictly necessary to have a customer data platform (CDP) to implement personalization, using one can offer several benefits and streamline the process. A CDP is a centralized system that collects, integrates, and manages customer data from various sources, creating a unified customer profile that can be used for personalization and other targeted marketing efforts.
While personalization can be implemented without a CDP using other methods, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems or marketing automation platforms, a CDP offers unique advantages in terms of data consolidation, unified customer profiles, and advanced personalization capabilities. It simplifies the process, enabling more efficient and effective personalization efforts that can drive improved customer experiences and business outcomes.
8) What if I have my own Customer Data Platform or CRM that has some segmentation capability already? Do I need to use Squiz’s CDP?
No, as Squiz is a fully composable DXP, it’s really easy to bring your own CDP or CRM if it’s suitable and use them to drive your web personalization data consolidation and segmentation.
9) Can I use Squiz Personalization with my current CMS if it’s not Matrix?
You sure can. The DXP is designed to be fully composable, meaning you can integrate anything from your current tech stack with products in the DXP without needing to re-platform.
That’s the beauty of the DXP – you can continue using your CMS, CRM, LMS or marketing automation. You don’t need to rip and replace your whole tech stack.
10) Is there an optimum number of user segments we should be creating for personalization? How many is too many?
I wouldn’t say there is an optimum, per se. But I would strongly encourage anyone starting to segment their users for personalisation purposes to start small, test it, learn from it and build more over time.
Segmenting shouldn’t be a one-time job. The segments created should be constantly revisited to see if they can be improved or tweaked.
11) Will Google Analytics 4 work with my Matrix CMS version - being able to view analytics within my CMS? If not, what changes?
No. You can configure and migrate your Matrix CMS tags over to the GA4 process, and then view the analytics inside GA.
We have another solution for website analytics coming next year, but right now we support the new style tags inside Matrix CMS while viewing the data inside GA4.
12) How do we enable a personalized experience across multiple digital channels - different websites, apps, email etc.?
Mapping a user across multiple channels can be challenging, but there are methods to establish a connection. One approach is through authenticated portals or logged-in experiences which makes it easy to understand who the user is and personalize for them.
Persistent identifiers like cookies or mobile device IDs can also be used to recognize users across devices, as well as matching email addresses or phone numbers provided by users to establish a link between the website and mobile site. Additionally, there are third-party services specializing in cross-device tracking. However, privacy and consent are essential considerations when implementing these methods.
Overall, while mapping users across devices is not foolproof, these techniques can enhance personalization and user experiences.
13) What are the implications of a user choosing not to accept cookies? For example, can the CDP segment by location if a user hasn't accepted cookies?
If a user does not accept the tracking of cookies, we cannot use any information about the user for website personalization, including location data.
14) We really want to do personalisation but we’ve had bad experiences with other systems in the past - what can we do now?
This is a fairly common story when people tried to do personalization in the past but it has been hard to maintain. Our advice is to start small and build up - you don’t need to do everything at once! Start with a targeted piece of personalization using a small number of segments and then build up in a way that is sustainable.
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