We’ve written about how predictive personalization is more efficient and effective than A/B testing, about how it improves conversion rates, and about how it can dramatically speed up the learning and iteration processes of your marketing strategy. But there are other—and unexpected—benefits of predictive personalization that deserve to be discussed because of their potential impact on your bottom line.
Predictive personalization helps identify variables that affect performance, both expected and unpredictable. With traditional testing, the effects of factors like time of day, geography, and device type don’t become apparent until—and unless—they’ve had a significant enough impact on your results. With A/B testing you might never learn that a headline that performs poorly on desktop devices converts twice as well on mobile devices. These insights help marketers discover the elements of their page and messaging that have the biggest impact for different audiences, enabling marketers to focus their effort where it will bring the greatest value.
Audience segmentation usually takes place as part of an ongoing and separate process from testing and analysis. Marketers determine their target audiences and then work to create content that appeals to those audiences, after which marketers test and examine results. Because predictive personalization systems are active and analyze visitor behavior continuously, they sometimes uncover and automatically optimize for important audience segments that marketers hadn’t previously considered. Predictive personalization can also help marketers reframe the way they look at their audiences. Marketers can better understand segments by their behavior, the value they deliver, and the messaging that works for them, substantiated by direct observation.
Much of the work of conversion rate optimization is in managing experiments; design, setup, implementation, analysis, and application of learnings. This work is important, but also sometimes administrative and repetitive. Predictive personalization automates the rote tasks involved in website testing, automatically applying learnings and freeing up marketers to focus more energy on generating new ideas.
Automation does more than take the mechanical work off of marketers’ collective plates. In some cases, automation is able to do those jobs to a degree no marketer ever would. Where teams using A/B testing are typically able to test a few ideas at a time, predictive personalization allows teams to test dozens of ideas over a comparable period. In fact, in our first year, our average customer tested 25 times what they could have achieved using A/B testing.
Predictive personalization creates new opportunities for creative alignment between your promotional campaigns and your site. Last year, US companies spent more than $70 billion on digital advertising to persuade visitors from around the web with targeted messaging. However, too often there is a disconnect between the ad a visitor sees and the experience a visitor has when they land on the website destination of that ad. Let’s say someone clicks an ad detailing a sign-up promotion, but lands on your site and sees no messaging that carries them through conversion, instead finding an experience that—through A/B testing—was determined to have an overall higher conversion rate. If you were that visitor, what would you do?
Imagine instead that the user in question arrives to a tailor-made experience that naturally continues the content they engaged with when they clicked the ad? Predictive personalization automatically adjusts what visitors see on your site based on how your visitors’ behavior changes as you and your competitors change your marketing efforts. They’ll appear when they’re relevant, and disappear when they aren’t.
One of the benefits of predictive personalization is that it will improve performance on a website, but it also represents a fundamental change in how marketers work. Automation can open up new key insights, foster more time for creative exploration, and provide opportunities to align visitor experiences from first touch through to conversion.