Personalization is still high on the marketer’s wish-list as brands aim to increase engagement, conversion, and relevance.
Today, at its Connect NYC customer summit, Bloomreach — the personalized digital experiences company — has announced what the company claims is the market’s first open and intelligent digital experience platform (DXP) that is designed to drive one-to-one personalized experiences across the entire customer journey.
Using artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver real-time personalization at scale across all customer touch points, Bloomreach leverages its acquisition of Hippo for this platform and includes a full analytics suite to help marketers manage business outcomes.
So how is this solution different from that announced when Bloomreach originally acquired Hippo?
“When Bloomreach acquired Hippo, we essentially had a core artificial intelligence engine on the Bloomreach side, and a core web content management system with a set of rules — and segment-driven personalization capabilities — but not a connection between the two,” Kevin Cochrane, CMO at Bloomreach, told VentureBeat. “In the past six months since we completed the acquisition, Bloomreach has been integrating the two technologies into a single digital experience platform so that a central AI can determine the personalized content and/or products that every digital visitor sees wherever they encounter a brand.”
That combination of elements is what helps Bloomreach achieve high levels of personalization.
“With combined intelligence and CMS, Bloomreach technology isn’t just selecting what a customer sees,” Cochrane said. “It’s also providing the repository to hold the content, the delivery tier to display the content on any digital touch point, and it allows for digital marketers to easily spin up new digital experiences based on customer behavior and intent data.”
While AI is helping power the solution, it is also controllable and can be pared back depending on the marketer’s requirements.
“You can choose to have the AI fully automate the personalized experience — choosing what content is presented on each channel,” Cochrane said, “You can dial the AI down to automate personalization on part of the experience and rely on segmentation or rules-driven approaches for others. You can let the AI tell you what to do based on the DXP’s Insights application that mines customer behavior and performance data to figure out how to best adjust the experience to maximize business objectives. Or the AI within the DXP can do all of it.”
Of course, there is still the problem that most marketers want to personalize content at the very point in the journey when we know the least about the customer — at the top of the funnel.
“The primary challenge of personalizing at scale at the top of the funnel is the cold-start problem, or knowing what to provide as an experience for a customer when you know nothing about them,” Cochrane said. “If you fail to provide a good initial experience, you could end up disappointing the customer, tarnishing your brand, and potentially losing the customer entirely.”
Bloomreach is trying to address that issue using some unique and exciting techniques.
“Customers who use BloomReach can leverage the intelligence of web-wide language understanding, as well as our breadth of algorithms that address everything from relevance to revenue optimization,” Cochrane said. “For instance, if a customer has come to an ecommerce site for the first time and searches on a new term that hasn’t yet been searched, they could receive an irrelevant result. With BloomReach, through understanding language in our deep synonym base, we can ensure that the customer received a relevant set of results based not on having seen that search term on the retailer’s site, but by seeing language and it’s context across web-wide data.”
That extends to cross-device personalization to ensure the experience continues regardless of whether the consumer is viewing the site on a laptop or a smartphone.
“When web visitors are anonymous they often lose the context of their journey when they switch devices,” Cochrane said. “BloomReach has addressed this with unauthenticated cross-device personalization that uses behavioral assessment to link users across devices, like a laptop and a cell phone, to maintain their customer context even without logging in.”
Comprised of three distinct modules — Bloomreach Personalization, Bloomreach Experience, and Bloomreach Organic — Bloomreach DXP serves as an experience platform wherein data and algorithms determine every visitor’s intent and either return the most relevant experience or inform business objectives.
Personalization algorithms, widely used by digital media sources, filter and prioritize news in ways that may not be apparent to users. Savvy media consumers should be aware of how this technology is used to tailor news to their tastes. This two-part study examines the extent to which US college students are aware of news personalization, and the actions and criteria that affect news selection and prioritization. Interviews with one set of students (N = 37) focus on the news sources they use most often to begin a news search. A subsequent survey given to a second set of students (N = 147) focuses on Google and Facebook, two influential gatekeepers. Results show that students are largely unaware of whether and how news sources track user data and apply editorial judgments to deliver personalized results. These studies identify aspects of news personalization that warrant greater attention in college curricula.