We live in a world where experiences are tailor-made to fit our interests, preferences, needs, and desires. As hyper-personalization continues to become a customer expectation, organizations must be ready and equipped to not only adapt, but to innovate and “future proof” their customer interactions. As part of this effort to drive digital personalization at scale, companies are continuing to shift from static, “one size fits all” content to dynamic or “intelligent” content. In this article, we hope to demystify dynamic content by walking through some of the basics—what it is, why it’s important, how to enable it, and how to measure success.
What Is Dynamic Content?
Simply put, dynamic content is any digital content that changes in real time based on user behavior, preferences, or data. It's also sometimes referred to as intelligent content. Dynamic content is the vehicle to drive personalization at scale in order to increase customer engagement and create impactful, meaningful moments.
Why Is Dynamic Content Important?
Dynamic content is critical to creating impactful experiences and driving engagement. Dynamic content is extremely valuable to influencing action at any part of the customer journey (outreach, engagement, conversion, etc.) but is of utmost importance at the zero moment of truth (ZMOT), a concept introduced by Google.
ZMOT reflects a modern customer journey that begins with a user searching for a product or service, reading its reviews, reviewing the product page, and then choosing to engage with the brand. While a company cannot control search results or reviews, it can certainly influence them by producing a quality product or service and providing relevant information about that product or service.
There are three main ways to influence a purchase with dynamic content:
Use in-session behavior such as page views, source, segment (if known), search terms.
Use past behavior such as purchases.
Use first- and third-party data (e.g., preferences, social profiles, etc.).
These sets of data can be used to predict the next best action and then update content in real time to best tailor the experience to the relevant user. For example, depending on user data, an organization might want to offer a discount, show certain related products, include different content blocks, ask for feedback, or update the default sort order on a product listing page to increase the likelihood of driving user action.
How Do You Enable Dynamic Content?
While there are several technology components that help enable dynamic content, the three most critical include customer data platform (CDP), content management system (CMS), and multivariate testing (MVT):
Customer data platform: This is a packaged software platform that offers a single view of the customer and surfaces actionable insights used to enable activations via built-in integrations with third-party platforms. Two key benefits of a CDP are the ability to segment the customer and conduct propensity analysis, both are needed to enable dynamic content. Additionally, CDPs lead to "democratization of data," which simply means making the single view of the customer and actionable insights available to all business groups. Tealium, Adobe, and Amperity are some of the leading CDPs being used by Fortune 500 companies.
Content management system: This technology component delivers relevant content to users based on the customer segment provided by the CDP. It can also dynamically change page layout, including images and rich media assets such as audio and video. There are several leading content management systems being used in the marketplace, including Sitecore, Contentful, EpiServer, Acquia, and others.
Multivariate testing: This is the last, but perhaps the most important, component of enabling dynamic content. The fundamental concept behind MVT is the application of statistical hypothesis testing in order to identify the combination of components or content that will resonate the most with a specific segment of an audience. MVT builds on the concept of A/B testing with the ability to compare customer engagement across hundreds of combinations on a single view rather than only showing two variations. Optimizely and SiteSpect are the leading platforms in this space.
How Is Success Measured?
Measuring success is critical to ensuring your content and digital experiences are driving business value and moving your organization forward. The metrics an organization defines should be informed by overall strategic vision and business objectives. That said, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to measuring customer engagement, but there are fundamental metrics commonly used to measure engagement, such as those included below:
Time on site
Pages per session
Monthly active users
Taking it a step further, another approach commonly used to measure success is to assign a weight to each of these metrics and combine them into a unified customer engagement score. The individual weights are dependent on the use case for the site, but the combined metric can be extremely useful in understanding overall engagement health on an ongoing basis.
Getting Started With Digital Personalization at Scale
We hope this article has provided some foundational context around what dynamic content is and how it leads to meaningful customer engagement, as well as high value actions that drive business value. At Credera, we’ve walked alongside organizations in various industries to create strategies and plans for how to activate dynamic, intelligent content, as well as to implement the capabilities required to enable digital personalization at scale.
Getting started is often the hardest part, but the best first step is starting where you’re at. Understand current state, define your dynamic content vision, and then move into charting a path to move from as-is to to-be. In our intelligent content series, we discuss more about the pillars and capabilities that are required to activate dynamic content—we hope it’s a helpful resource to get you off the ground. If you’re interested in learning more about dynamic content, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.