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How Dynamic Personalization is Changing the Web

shutterstock_125153480The days of generic websites are numbered.   The growth of social media has changed the way we use the web. It’s all about the user – their interests, content and engagement are crucial to a site’s success.

Not just for massive sites like Amazon and Neflix, websites that offer personalized content will soon be the expectation and the norm.

What Dynamic Personalization Is and Why We Should Care

Dynamic personalization is the process of generating content on a webpage that is targeted toward the individual visiting the site. Instead of everyone seeing the same information – and seeing it every time they visit – content and calls-to-action are changed to meet their interests and needs.

Done right, this customization can provide better service, improve brand preference and loyalty, and encourage the site visitor to move through your site by making content relevant to their needs more accessible.

Hubspot, a marketing software suite offering dynamic web personalization, reports that calls-to-action targeted to the user had a 42 percent higher viewed-to-submission rate than calls-to-action that were the same for all visitors.

How Dynamic Personalization Works

Some sites give visitors the option to self-identify their interests. For example, a hospital web site might ask whether the visitor is a patient, a caregiver, a medical professional or job seeker. Depending on their answer, the home page content could change to show information on parking, services, continuing education resources, or job opportunities.

Taking it a step further, the user could create an account and store information, not only on their interests, but also their medical history, doctors, and interesting articles from the site. Subsequent visits to the site could suggest content based on the interests they have indicated.

Other forms of personalization can use browsing history within the site and the search terms used to get to the site. Again using hospitals as an example, this could mean someone who searches the internet for a particular health need, such as heart care, could find heart information featured prominently on the homepage of the site.

Web developers look at the common personas of those using their websites and create taxonomies that deliver just the right content to just the right person.

Where Dynamic Personalization Gets Risky

Of course, remembering that you like particular shows on Netflix when you sign back into an account poses little risk. For organizations like hospitals, much greater sensitivity is required. Interests and concerns garnered through browsing history might prove embarrassing if served up repeatedly through later sessions, particularly when computers are shared. Calls-to-action and content delivered requires additional discretion and subtlety.

Summary

People like content that interests them and find other material to be clutter that gets in the way of their finding what they need. Dynamic personalization provides a means to provide the right content in a less cluttered format than is required to give everything to everybody. But it has to be done carefully to avoid making wrong assumptions about the user and violate feelings of privacy when privacy is required.

Please share your thoughts…

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Google Plus: Ghost Town or the Place to Be?

google_plus_2When a New York Times article declared Google Plus to be a ghost town, the reaction from Google+ fans was swift. Those who have taken the time to learn and use Google+ are passionate about its features. Google+ is not just another social media tool you have to maintain. It offers unique benefits that make it worth the effort.

Google+ and Search Engine Optimization

It stands to reason that Google+ posts would be treated favorably by the Google search engine. Posts are treated like other web pages and appear to gain ranking the more people share them or “like” them by using the “+1” feature. As people use Google+ and start posting and engaging with content, that information can then be stored in Google’s massive database to deliver more personalized search results. Businesses who want to ensure they’re getting favorable placement in Google searches should take note.

Google+ Numbers

Far from a ghost town, Google reports that Google+ has more than 540 million members. Of course, some of those are due to the fact that you need a Google+ account to access other Google products, including email or if you want to comment on a YouTube video. But, there are still 300 million active monthly users. And it seems to be catching on quickly, with a growth of 58% in a period between May and October 2013.

Who Uses Google+

A survey of Google Plus users found a high level of IT professionals, company owners, and self-described “senior decision makers”. Perhaps they see it as Facebook without the fluff and LinkedIn without the aura of a job hunter. If that’s the case, then there is certainly a market for that as Facebook gets more and more cluttered and the people who have Google+ accounts – but don’t use them – take the time to learn what it is about and what can be done to collaborate through it.

The Two Best Google+ Features

Aside from the SEO benefits, Google Plus offers some unique features that are sure to catch on with businesses, bloggers and others who want to interact with people who share their interests.

  • Hangouts – An excellent way to engage in video conferencing, live events and collaboration.
  • Shared Circles – Through the shared circles, you can set up your connections according to interests. These can be private – or not. Individuals or organizations can participate, leading to excellent opportunities to share ideas and really targeted information.


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Five Tips to Make the Most of Your Mobile Advertising

Mobile AdvertisingThe best mobile ads make the best of mobile technology. Mobile ads are small, but powerful when used right. A study found that brand favorability was 14.5% higher among people who saw their best-performing mobile ads.

Follow the tips below to make the most of your mobile campaign.

  1. Use a Phone Number – Mobile’s big advantage over other advertising is its connection to a phone.  A simple click to call provides a quick and easy source of leads.
  2. Include a Strong Call to Action –  Give people a good reason to click: get a coupon, sign up for offers, download a free game or entertainment.
  3. Give a Reason to Share – A study by ShareThis shows people are twice as likely to share something through mobile than through a desktop.  Reasons for sharing include relevancy, usefulness of the offer, use of humor and entertainment.
  4. Time it Right – The immediacy of mobile makes the timing of your ad that much more important.  Make sure it serves up when you want people to take action.  A phone number that comes up when the business is closed isn’t that useful.  A coupon that shows up when geotargeting shows the customer is near the store is much more likely to get results.
  5. Place it Right – Know the audience of the site or app you are advertising on and make sure your ad speaks to them.

Please share your thoughts on other strategies for making the most of mobile advertising.

 

 


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Mobile Website, App or Both?

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With 58% of American adults owning smart phone and 63% of them using their phones to go online, having a mobile-friendly site is the only way to ensure you won’t be losing a lot of traffic and potential customers. But is a mobile site enough? Or do you need a mobile app?

Benefits of Mobile Site

For many, being able to find what you need by browsing the web from your phone or tablet is enough. Getting all the content sized right, loaded quickly and readily available through big, touchable buttons is quick and easy. As long as there is an internet connection, the content can be found and accessed through a regular search function. No installation is required for the user.

On the development side, a mobile site also has the advantage of being easier and less expensive to create and maintain than an app, which would need to be configured for each device.

When to Consider an App

While the gap between the functionality of mobile sites and native apps is narrowing, there are still instances in which an app is the better option. Apps function like a desktop software program, storing resources and using the device’s memory to perform operations quickly. They can also use the device’s functionality, such as the camera, GPS, and notifications. And they can function offline.

In practice, this means an app can offer the user:

  • Personalized notifications
  • Turn-by-turn driving or walking directions
  • The ability to manage and store data and preferences
  • Social sharing integration tools
  • Immediate access to resources regardless of internet access

Breadth vs. Depth

More people will find and visit a mobile site, but those who take the time to download an app will visit it more frequently than a mobile website.

The graphic below from MDG Advertising outlines the differences.

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