As the digitally savvy online consumer becomes ever more discerning, it becomes more crucial for marketers to personalise their offering. The Drum takes a look.
Personalisation is becoming increasingly important to driving success in all areas of digital, with a recent Econsultancy survey finding that 94 per cent of companies agree personalisation is critical.
The Drum takes a look at how marketers in the performance arena are employing personalisation to increase the effectiveness of the channel – from personalised retargeting campaigns to relevant, localised voucher offers and personalised affiliate programmes.
Retargeting involves targeting online ads to consumers based on previous actions or behaviours online in situations which did not result in a conversion – and the more interactive the ad, the more likely consumers are to engage, with tailored content also key.
“The key to retargeting success is engagement,” says Rakhee Jogia, director of client services, Rakuten MediaForge UK. “The best online ads are rich with website-like capabilities; these ads are more inviting to consumers because they empower them to engage without committing to a click. This allows customers to have an interactive experience without leaving the page they’re browsing.
“Secondly, tailored content that matches consumer browsing behaviour provides a more personalised and engaging brand experience. Our own research shows that those who engage with dynamic interactive display ads return to a site and convert to a sale 44 per cent faster than those who click through. By using personalisation and dynamic ads to influence consumer browsing behaviour, brands are more likely to lead browsers to a purchase. Static ads no longer cut it; with so much content on the web, it takes a unique experience of the product or even a timely offer to make a brand stand out.”
Personalised affiliate programmes
Personalised affiliate programmes allow affiliate publishers to select the ad content that is most relevant to their audience. Meanwhile, affiliate sites personalising their content to prospective consumers can be more effective than those not using any element of personalisation.
In order to create personalised affiliate programmes, merchants must be able to engage and communicate effectively with their affiliate marketers in the first instance, according to Jaabir Ramlugon, account manager at FusePump. This means affiliates are informed about what promotions and offers are most relevant, integrating them into wider marketing campaigns.
The second step, according to Ramlugon, is “full and easy access to an advertiser’s product inventory”, which allows affiliates to personalise content to their target audience.
“We’ve looked at many systems of ‘how’ advertisers can achieve this and we think the key lies in having control of your product information and data, in a format that affiliates will find simple to use and easy to deploy. We’ve found some affiliates are more technically able than others and want to work with product information directly via a structured data feed. Others prefer to download branded content in banner or widget configured content units that sit on their sites and generate click through sales commission.
“A tactic we’ve found that works with affiliate engagement is to provide all this advertising collateral in a centralised ‘hub’ so that affiliates can easily take the content they need to engage their audience.”
Thorntons implemented a personalised affiliate programme using FusePump software. The programme allows the merchant’s affiliates to select content based on their site’s audience and allows them to personalise promotions in a way most relevant to their consumers.
‘It’s important for us to allow our affiliate marketers full access to our product inventory,” says Justin Joyce, digital marketing manager, Thorntons. “The ability to personalise content to their target audience that is contextually relevant encourages engagement and click through. What we’ve tried to do at Thorntons is facilitate access and make the whole process as simple as possible for them.”
The voucher codes and discounting market has faced some concerns over the past year or so over fears of consumer disillusionment with ‘daily deals’ and offers. However, vouchers continue to play an important role in the industry, adding value for consumers and reinforcing advertiser trust in the affiliate marketing channel.
Ed Fleming, head of PR and partnerships at Savoo.co.uk, argues that ‘deal fatigue’ is not only annoying to consumers but tarnishing the performance marketing industry as a whole.
“One of the biggest issues facing the performance marketing industry is what we call ‘deal fatigue’ and ‘deal overload’. The former being when a consumer is bombarded with daily emails and the latter when a particular merchant always has the same deal on – making it no longer appetising to the reader. This is not only a personal gripe of UK money-savers, but also an issue that is tarnishing the industry as a whole.
Savoo launched personalisation technology in 2011 to create a solution to the problem of deal fatigue. New users can personalise their experience so they are only sent the most relevant deals and codes.
This kind of approach to the user experience, argues Fleming, is “essential” for the continued growth of the industry and for affiliates to become trusted household brands.
Personalisation represents an interesting opportunity for publishers, according to co-founder of VoucherCodes.co.uk Max Jennings, who expects to see “real innovation in this area” over the next year. “Consumers are now looking for more than just the best price – they increasingly expect brands to engage with them on a personal level and for voucher sites, this means actively connecting them with the brands and products we predict they’ll be interested in,” he says, adding that personalisation is a natural progression to voucher code affiliate publishers looking to provide consumers with the very best deals.
“For sites like ours there are a number of touch points where engaging with customers in a more targeted and bespoke manner could significantly improve the user experience and help forge more meaningful relationships. These range from simple ideas like smart segmentation of our email database, to more complex solutions such as a completely tailored on-site experience for registered users. Ultimately the goal is to advance towards a smarter, more personal product that responds to user interactions by tailoring content to their inferred preferences, regardless of which channel they choose to begin their retail journey.”
This feature is part of The Drum's performance supplement, published 30 August, sponsored by: