Successful targeting is about getting personal and really matchmaking—identifying the right content for the right user while generating the highest returns. It’s important to make sure you’re learning everything possible about your visitors, using that knowledge effectively, and giving users the best possible experience. This requires considering three essential topics:

Data, and lots of it.

For any targeting solution to be effective, you need rich data—it’s the raw material for powering creative experiences and making smart decisions. In addition to user information collected through online interactions, data from customer relationship management (CRM) software and other enterprise systems can enrich user profiles and enable better predictive decisions about a customer. Ideally, any targeting system you adopt will incorporate data from several key systems to enable more tailored and relevant targeting, without complicated and time-consuming data integrations.

Robust rules-based and automated behavioral targeting tools.

To make the best decisions and display the right content to the right user at the right time, many different attributes must be considered: What ZIP code is the user from? When did they last visit the site? How many times have they visited? Have they purchased previously? What did they purchase? Did they abandon their online shopping cart and come back to the site later, or make the purchase in a store? The more attributes that can be taken into consideration together (not in isolation), the more accurate targeting is likely to be.

Marketers need a system that will allow them to explicitly express their intent through rules, as well as make automated predictive decisions, to achieve desired outcomes. In recent blogs, we’ve explored how using machine-learning algorithms and automated behavioral targeting can help overcome the limitations of simple rules-based targeting systems to improve decision making. Automated systems also enable your efforts to scale beyond what is possible with a manual system. When marketers want to write their own rules, look for a solution that makes the process easy with a flexible and comprehensive targeting query language.

Real-time results.

The ability to measure the results of the test or targeting campaign in real-time is crucial. This first allows you to ensure everything is running correctly when you first launch the campaign, and later enables your team to fully understand what happened and how each unique segment interacted with the changes made. Data should show up in minutes—not hours or days—so you can quickly make decisions. Look for simple views to understand how the campaign affected engagement, conversion, and revenue. Be careful of simplified engagement—someone interacting with any part of the page should not be considered success.  Instead, track clicks, page views, and time on the site. Finally, make sure you can easily view how different defined segments performed. This way you can ensure you are selecting the best result per user group, rather than just one winner for your whole digital experience. 

We just touched on a few key things to think about as you look to get the most out of your targeting efforts. In part II of our discussion about “making it personal,” we’ll explore how to use profile scripts in solutions like Adobe Target to “tag” visitors with certain attributes for targeting and segmentation without requiring additional integration.

Part II of Making it Personal will run on Wednesday, June 5.