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Sitecore Sessions

Five examples of website personalization and testing done right


Optimize for what your business values

By Lars Birkholm Petersen, Co-Founder, Altola, Inc. and Sitecore Honorary MVP
Video transcript

Hi and welcome to another Sitecore Session. My name’s Lars Peterson, VP of Business Optimization at Sitecore. In our work with clients, we often find that personalization and testing are topics that they struggle to put into action. In this video, I will show you five examples from real-life customers on how they use optimization to increase business value.

The five examples are:

  • Personalization based on inbound source,
  • Testing for impact,
  • Personalization based on geolocation,
  • Personalization based on profiling, and
  • Personalization based on progress in a journey.

Personalization based on inbound source

So let’s take a look at the first example: Personalization based on inbound source. In this case, our clients here were driving a lot of traffic to their different digital channels, all coming from ad spend. So, PPC [pay-per-click], display advertising, and so forth.

Typically, when you’re driving traffic to a site, you have a landing page that is relevant according to the ad. But as soon as you begin to walk out of that specific landing page to the homepage, other key pages… those pages will show the same content to all visitors, just as the case was here before optimization. So when they started with optimization, they really started focusing on, “What is the intent of those visitors coming from their different peak ads?” Now looking at the different impact pages that those visitors were going through after seeing the landing page, [we can] use personalization to change the content of those pages so it is much more in context of those visitors based on what originally brought them to the site.

Not only did they increase their business value, but there’s a really good business case for doing the mapping between ad spend and the optimization. So here’s an exercise you can do. Take a look at all your different ad spend, and put it into a simple table like this. The ad spend, the cost per click, and ultimately what is the return on investment of what you are doing today.

Now apply the optimization effect, the 19%, which we also covered in another Sitecore Session. Applying the optimization effect actually gives you two different models you can go to. The first model is a little bit conservative. That’s the cost-saving model. What that does is, it maintains the same revenue, but because you are much more effective in turning those visitors to the key digital goals that matter for the business, you can actually save on the spend.

In this case, you go from $400,000 to $336,000 per month. Or you save $63,000 per month and $766,000 per year. This model is really good if you have a fixed budget and you want to find room to expand and to do optimization based on that.

A second model is the increased revenue model. Here, you maintain the same spend. But again because you are much more effective in turning the visitors toward the goals that matter for the business, you will see increased revenue here. In this case, the increased revenue will be $655,000 per month, or a whopping $7.8 million per year. And I’m sure delivering those results will help make the executives love what you are doing.

Testing for impact

A second example of optimization is testing for impact. As we have covered in a previous Sitecore Session, testing is very effective in terms of optimizing toward what matters most for your business: the Engagement Value. And using the machine learning built into the Sitecore Experience Platform, you will also learn about potential new audience segments that you can use for personalization.

In this example, our client wanted to test different offer messages and see what is the right offer to bring forward. So what they did was to select a key impact page, the homepage, and the hero on the homepage, and create four new variants of that offer. Some of the variants were focused on ads [calling on readers to act] “before it ends,” or others very specifically stated the offer ends on a certain date.

So now putting this into action, they identified that one of the variants was trailing behind the other ones, so they took that out of the test, continuing with the three remaining variants. After running the tests and concluding the test, the test winner was very effective. In fact, it was 21.43% better than the third place, and 9.76% better than the second place. And since they’re optimizing for increased revenue based on engagement value, that’s a lot of increased business value to the organization.

Personalization based on geolocation

A third example of optimization is personalization based on geolocation. So in this example, our client, who had different locations in the U.S., wanted to optimize based on the location of the visitor. So they set up personalization on impact pages according to the location of the visitor—all helping engage the visitors based on the geolocation in context to where they are, and ultimately driving toward the digital goals of the organization.

Personalization based on profiling

A fourth example of optimization is personalization based on profiling. Using the built-in algorithms of Sitecore, it’s easy to set up different profiles.

In this specific example, our client wanted to understand what are the different visitor types that the visitors are matching. So they set up profiles where they could identify if a visitor is a prospect, an investor, a job-seeker, media, or a partner. So now, based on how visitors are interacting with the website, it will automatically detect which of these the visitors fall into.

So let’s take a look at an example. In this case, before the visitor is profiled, they will see the same content as the rest of those audiences on the website who aren’t profiled. As soon as the visitor is profiled, in this case, matching the investor visitor type, then the content will change, so it’s much more in context of an investor. For instance, by showing on the homepage hero content that is relevant to an investor, changing the call to actions, so that it’s not just “contact us,” but it’s much more relevant for the investors, all leading to increased leads, and ultimately driving more revenue to the organization.

Personalization based on the journey

A fifth example of optimization is personalization based on stage in a journey. In this example, our clients were driving registrations to big events. So in this case, they mapped out the journey visitors are going through while registering for the event, mapping out coming to the digital channels, interest in the event, known versus unknown, click to registration, and ultimately registering for the event. Now, understanding what stage that their different visitors are in, they can be much more in context according to that stage, and really focus on the benefits of registering for the events. Based on this, they were able to drive further registrations toward their events.

So those were five different examples of how real-life customers are using optimization to optimize against what matters most, the business value for the organization based on the engagement value. I hope you found this useful and inspirational for how you can start optimizing your digital channels. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to reach out, or watch any of the other Sitecore sessions. Thank you so much for watching.


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