My clients often ask me what the best personalization software is. And I always give the same answer: It depends.
We’ve been in their shoes, as a pure consulting shop helping brands such as Mazda and Furla determine the best way to present their content to clients. SpringTab originally was a tool what we developed to help us deliver the best experience to our clients. Right message to the right people.
I believe that the internet is moving to a more personalized form. Soon marketing campaigns, e-commerce, and news sites will be much better tailored to the individual consumers than they are now.
These changes will happen due to advancements in natural language processing, cloud computing, and data extrapolation.
For example, recommendation engines that analyze anonymous data, like site activity, have a cold-start problem: They need at least five to 10 page views from a visitor before they can display relevant suggestions.
But with machine learning, these tools will be capable of analyzing the social digital footprint of visitors along with the behavioral information, draw comparisons, and come up with personal suggestions instantly. And it will go much further than recommendations. Product pages that will change their copy based on who is reading them are not a futuristic vision anymore.
I can’t wait to see how these technologies will evolve in the next two to five years, and I believe within this time period most problems with personalization will be solved.
However, we’re not there yet, and I can’t name a personalization software that would provide a solution to every different website and business. So when you’re looking for the best personalization software, I think you should ask a different question.
Okay, okay, but what is the best tool for me?
There are a myriad of tools that can increase the performance of a site.
Product recommendation engines, auto-personalization tools, heatmaps, CRO tools, they all provide a distinct benefit — and they all come with a price tag attached in the form of development costs, time, and manpower requirements.
What you need to figure out is what combination of these tools serves your organization’s KPIs in the best possible way.
One set of tools might be able to help you if you’d like to increase brand awareness, but you’ll need a completely different solution if your goal is to grow your website revenue.
To find out which is the winning combination and what will help your business to grow in key areas, you will need to experiment with many variations. And you will have to take risks.
In my experience, many marketers are afraid to innovate and do what’s necessary to maximize the potential of their client’s or employer’s websites. I’m not sure what the reason is for this.
Maybe they are afraid of losing their jobs, or maybe they can get by without following the latest trends and trying out new things.
But the majority of the people in the industry are satisfied with traditional PPC and CPM solutions right now. This puts innovative startups developing new advertising and optimization tools into an awkward position.
We need to educate the market, wait for it to get there, and survive until it happens.
How can you make the most out of existing tools?
Now, if you’re reading our blog, you are obviously not one of those marketers. You are constantly educating yourself and trying to stay ahead of the competition.
I’ve created a large list of tools that can help your organization reach its KPIs, independent from what they are.
Maybe we don’t have the perfect personalization software yet, but I am certain that the right combination of these tools will take you closer to your goals and help you to provide a great and personalized experience for your visitors.
My great team and I have organized the tools into six categories, as I think these are the fastest growing and in many aspects the most important areas in digital marketing nowadays. Plus, instead of describing them, we used testimonials since those draw the best picture.
The tools and services that you should use in six areas
“Do you have a blog? Do you have a static website? If the answer is yes, whether they are for personal or business use, then you need Google Analytics. Here are just a few of the many questions about your website that you can answer using Google Analytics:
– How many people visit my website? What websites send traffic to my website? (…) Which pages on my website are the most popular? How many visitors have I converted into leads or customers?”
“If I work at a company with great Adobe or Google Analytics, I’d strongly insist on next adding Clicktale, even if it’s just a modest install. How else can I give a true representation of what my customer did on my website? The data shows the action, but Clicktale gives me the picture of the consumer journey. One is just not complete without the other.”
“I really believe that Crazy Egg is still one of the best heatmap tools out there. What really made the difference for me was the possibility of defining your own categories and goals, giving this tool that extra boost.”
“Kissmetrics’ interface is clean, beautiful, and easy enough to navigate… But, most of all, I love being able to track our users on a one-by-one, individual basis. We know which user it was, which devices they used to log in, where the visited, how long they were there, what conversions they’ve performed, and more without guessing. Paths, funnels, and all are at our fingertips.”
“Display is an ideal strategy for retailers (…) where the buying cycle tends to be longer. Remarketing lets us continue to target interested shoppers to maintain top-of-mind awareness.”
“Retargeting to the right audience is a must if you want to see more conversions from your Facebook ads.”
“We currently use AdRoll and are loving the product and team. I think for the moderate to advanced paid marketer, AdRoll is a great option for retargeting. You have a robust product with an innovative team of minds behind it.”
“One of our key business objectives for 2016 is e-commerce, and retargeting is far and away the most efficient, most powerful source of business from an e-commerce standpoint. Nothing comes close.”
– Philip Fogleman, Director of Marketing at Total Wine
“It’s rare that you work with a third-party ad company that you can actually trust and have your best interests in mind when making decisions, and I feel like Perfect Audience does.”
“Health and fitness is a very competitive space. Meteora helps us constantly be in front of our customers at the right time, communicating the right message, for the lowest possible ad price.”
“We’re smitten with VWO for a couple reasons — it’s pretty simple to set up, and reading the results is a breeze. Checking test results is our new favorite addiction.”
Sunit Singh, Chief Designer at Cleartrip
“AB Tasty offers me greater freedom. I can quickly modify pages of my site, without any technical help.”
“Not only did we generate 36 percent more online orders by testing multiple variants of our home page against the original, we also extrapolated other key learnings from the results.”
Testimonial from Marc O’Polo
“We were able to test our way from a 5-percent conversion rate, all the way up to 20 percent. Without driving any more traffic, our client is getting four times the leads that he was getting before.”
Andrew Miller, Workshop Digital
“With Evergage, we have taken personalization to a new level by making more impactful connections with our already engaged members. The Evergage platform really satisfies our digital marketing team’s need to understand our customers and act on it in real time.”
Catherine Bassett, Senior Product Manager, Rue La La
“Part of my role was to make sure we have the right technology and tools in place to enable us to understand our customers’ behavior so we can serve them better end to end. Qubit enables us to derive insights from our online data and enhance their experience across key touch points.”
Chi Igboaka, Head of Performance Marketing
“It can take months, if not years, to identify the most effective way to segment existing customers in order to deliver long-term value. With Sailthru, we can automate insights development using vast troves of customer data and the results have exceeded our top performing customers segment.”
Josh Gray, Director of Acquisition Marketing at Rent the Runway
“True Fit, since launch, has resulted in an 18-percent reduction in returns. Additionally, customers who use True Fit convert to ready-to-wear at more than double the rate of customers who do not use True Fit.”
George M. Carrara, COO, Kate Spade
“We were looking for a tool to manage automatically our merchandising needs. But we found more than that in Barilliance; its personalization software surpassed our expectations and drove conversion and cross-sell up to record levels while literally saving hundreds of hours in manual work. Definitely a great tool and partner in our marketing strategy.”
“Softcube provided us with high-performance recommendations based on the model adapted for our business needs, taking into account its specific restrictions.”
Yegor Prikhodko, CEO, toys.com.ua
“12.7-percent increase in lead conversion. The changes took 10 minutes to implement with Personyze!”
Mike Belasco, Conversioniq.com
“Bunting continues to allow our team to launch personalized website content quickly and with minimal fuss. We can now ensure that we’re targeting the right customers with relevant content at the right point in their journey.”
Sven Lindell, Chief Digital Officer, Bras N Things
Data Mining and CRM
“Salesforce is arguably the most well known of these applications. And deservedly so. The company pretty much invented cloud-based CRM and remains committed to its future.”
“I like the fact that all online profiles are (automatically) connected and accessible. It gives you the advantage of knowing a prospect before the first meeting.”
“Overall, Insightly is a beautiful and powerful CRM tool that is not only affordable for the sole proprietor, but is also loaded with team-friendly features.”
“Zoho has a suite of products including their CRM that provide flexible functionality for small businesses, startups and nonprofits at a fraction of the cost of those other guys. The CRM allows us to manage contacts, we host our email on their online server for no cost for up to 25 emails.”
One more tool
What I left out of the list is our own tool, which can fit into many of the categories above. I believe, similarly to the listed applications, it can increase conversion rates on your site in a meaningful way.
What is it?
SpringTab is the go-to social analytics tool for fast growing e-commerce and media companies.
We help website owners collect information about the personal and professional interests of visitors who log in to their site using Facebook’s Single Sign-On solution. We also aid them in creating different versions of their websites or landing pages based on the Facebook likes and activities of their visitors.
Our goal is to create as many versions of a website for as many visitors it gets.
Most of the recommendation engines provide personalization based on the clicking, browsing, and purchasing behavior of visitors, sometimes using additional information such as implicit feedback.
Unlike them, we rely on explicit information about the customer’s preferences. Analyzing the demographic information, preferences, and other characteristics of the users allows us to accurately predict what type of content, products, or brands would appeal to them.
Do you think a solution like this could be a good fit for your business? Are you curious about the preferences of your visitors, or you are just looking for better recommendations? In your opinion, is Facebook data better for content or product recommendations? Let me know what you think!