5 min

Personalization can be powerful, but it must be validated by testing to ensure it truly drives value. Testing is the most effective strategy for identifying who, how and what you should personalize. The following article provides a framework you can use to begin validating personalization activities and create a personalization roadmap to execute through Adobe Target and Adobe Analytics.

As we launch into the second decade of the 21st century, organizations like yours are parting ways with outdated consumer targeting strategies and inaccurate data analysis. This is the dawning of personalization, an era where consumers have come to expect nothing less than a custom experience. Personalization at the enterprise level is a complex and ever-changing process, but when done effectively it will maximize customer satisfaction and substantially increase ROI.

Adobe’s QuickStart framework:

  1. Identifying Personalization Opportunities – leverage data analysis to identify opportunities to impact key performance indicators on your site, tied to your organization's business objectives
  2. Developing Use Cases – define objectives of your personalization activity with specific visitor attributes in mind, be explicit regarding how the curated content will improve the visitor’s experience, establish in advance what success will look like and what actions can be taken from the test learnings
  3. Roadmap Creation – aggregate a list and prioritize personalization use cases, ensure that your efforts are focused on high value activities; expect to refine and revise use cases and roadmap based on learnings
  4. Design and Execute – build and launch the Adobe Target activities to deliver curated content for your priority audiences
  5. Action on Results – analyze activity performance and summarize activity results, insights, recommendations, and next steps

Step 1: Identifying Personalization Opportunities

This is the starting point where you begin to form the Personalization Roadmap. When running a successful personalization program, it is essential to focus on your key business objectives and key performance indicators. Personalization efforts should be aligned accordingly to provide value. Paul Morris, Adobe Business Consultant, states, “If everything you do feeds into these objectives, your program is highly likely to drive significant value. However, if you have a scattered approach to testing, you will likely find some wins, but your overall program won’t be nearly as successful.”

General Note: If you don’t immediately know what your key business objectives are, it’s important to identify them as soon as possible. Be sure to:

  1. Establish alignment between your business goals and your actionable hypothesis. This will enable you to prioritize use cases that deliver the greatest value to your business.
  2. Make your goals measurable for tracking purposes and correlate to revenue impact.
  3. Align each opportunity should impact one single goal metric.

Sometimes you may have goals that initially seem intangible as well, such as brand value or loyalty. It’s crucial that you are able measure these in order to use them as a goal metrics for Personalization activities. Typically, these types of goals can still be aligned to revenue impact such as lifetime customer value or acquisition costs. As you progress, be sure to review program performance against your key business objectives periodically in ensuring value is being driven from your Personalization program.

Focus data analysis to identify specific areas of your website that can be improved. Adobe recommends starting with Adobe Analytics to generate targeted use cases. If you have an Analytics team in place, ask them to look at the following:

  1. Personal pre-form tables - An ideation feature that provides unlimited breakdowns and can help you answer any questions or assumptions that you may have.
  2. Advanced segmentation – Segmentation IQ allows you to compare visitors across different sections of your site.
  3. Juristic reviews – Identify what parts of your site would benefit most from Personalization.  These reviews allow you to take a step back and walk through your site as a customer would.
  4. Competitor analysis – Chances are, other businesses face the same challenges that you do. This analysis is not limited to companies in the same industry.

The goal of this step is to generate actionable insight in the form of a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a prediction you create prior to running an experiment. It states clearly what is being changed, what you believe the outcome will be and why you think that’s the case. Running the experiment will either prove or disprove your hypothesis. At the end of this step, you should have a set of hypotheses for personalization opportunities that will improve your website and visitor satisfaction.

Step 2: Developing Use Cases

Start with the hypotheses generated in Step 1, then develop your activities around them. Now you can develop the pre-form tables created in Step 1A; each of the KPIs have a set of hypotheses, which then become individual tests within Adobe Target. If you are struggling to get to this point, start as simply as possible, for example focusing on the return visitors who frequent your site. Think about the ways you can tailor your homepage to your returning visitors.  Once you have your set of hypotheses, you will need to define each activity to effectively prioritize each use case.

  1. Define the priority audiences that you want to serve personalized content to, being mindful of the unique visitor attributes that define who they are and what they want (e.g., existing customer vs prospect customer) The wants and needs of the priority audiences should align with your business goals
  2. Identify the specific location in the visitor’s journey where personalized content will be the most impactful. Focus on pages where you would expect visitors of diverse range of personas or visitors with various needs/intent.
  3. Begin to plan some design work of your variant. Content should be carefully curated with the specific audience needs and wants in mind, considering where they are in their journey. The right content should be distinct and differentiated.

Step 3: Roadmap Creation, Aggregate and Prioritize Use Cases

Aggregate a comprehensive list of personalization opportunities that captures at a minimum the location, idea, and priority of the personalization activities.

The Prioritization step is broken into two factors:

  1. Value – Utilize industry research, benchmarking, and similar use cases from the past to understand the expected value that each of your hypotheses may drive. You want your value to be directly linked to one of your Key Business Outcomes (KBOs) and be in a standard format so that each of your use cases can be compared to one another. The most common method is to apply a monetary value to each use case for comparison.
  2. Cost – There is a natural cost associated with building out your design variants within Target and then the potential rollout.  Now you will need to estimate the cost associated with each use case. The cost includes, the time and resources required to build test experiences, scheduling, and post test analysis.

Adobe recommends that you rank each of your use cases on a scale from 1-5; with 1 being simple, and 5 being complex.  You now have a set of prioritized activities you can test within Adobe Target. These activities will form the basis of your annual personalization activities.  Adobe recommends re-evaluating the Personalization Roadmap regularly. The learnings from each activity should influence your forward-looking roadmap priorities. Learnings and recommendations will be more impactful if they are acted on in a timely matter. Priorities throughout the year can change but carrying out an iterative methodology ensures that you always have strategic plan of action in place and that you can track against your team and company objectives.

Step 4: Design and Execute

Leveraging the documentation created to strategize the personalization use case, construct the Personalization Activity within Target to deliver curated content for your priority audiences. Ensure that the activity type, settings, experiences, and reporting features are aligned to the goals of the use case. Design, QA, and Launch of your personalization effort are most efficient when the fall into existing organization processes.

Step 5: Action on Results

Once your personalization activity has engaged a representative sample of visitors, you can begin analysis leveraging the insights to guide next steps. Be data driven in your analysis, tying recommendations to your use case hypothesis, and clearly illustrating the impact on business objectives.

For Further Information

We recommend that you watch this video which discusses each of these steps: https://adobecustomersuccess.adobeconnect.com/pvsqvdvunpai/