In an ever-evolving business environment, digital content creation has reached the point where the consumer-first approach is fast becoming a reality. Gone are the days when the success of content was judged merely by the number of views that it garnered. Today, content is considered truly successful when it helps the audience achieve a goal. Self-help videos on YouTube, personalized recommendations on Amazon, and on-demand streaming videos on Netflix are all examples of placing the consumer at the forefront of content development.
What’s driving the shift?
In the presence of ever-growing competition and speed of content production, media companies and content creators are employing tools and strategies that enable them to build enduring relationships with their consumers. With an eye on consumer-centric solutions, they have learned to repurpose content based on consumer needs and wants.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution or single strategy that works in all cases. The best strategies and the most successful solutions center on delivering personalized, on-demand, and single-serve content.
Personalization is power
Content personalization is the art of offering a consumer experience that is customized based on the consumer’s tastes and preferences. Consumers gravitate toward content that caters to their specific wants and needs. Content is personalized to provide contextual user experiences. Personalization keeps users delighted while also ensuring increased customer loyalty and improved brand reputation.
As a start, content creators and media companies can do well to adapt to changing consumer behaviors and preferences and create personalized, direct-to-consumer engagements. They must strive to create distinct content that targets a specific user by considering the user’s interests and motivations. A website visitor’s location or ethnicity, user journey, and behavior provide key information that helps analyze and shape content strategy and delivery. Other options include placing cookies in the visitor’s browser or simply asking for visitor information on the landing page. Armed with such user-specific information, one can present dynamic content that displays different content based on user profiles and personas. Another very effective personalization method is to address customers in their native language with the help of translation and localization.
Personalization success stories
Amazon, a pioneer of content personalization, has in many ways perfected the art of personalization. Their website provides valuable data, such as product and seller ratings and product recommendations based on past purchases and viewing history. This information provides shoppers with useful insights before they finalize their purchases.
Amazon’s use of personalization began in 2010 when it introduced its “Customers who bought this item also bought” widget to recommend products to its customers. In the years that followed, company data revealed that personalized recommendations accounted for nearly 35% of its sales, out of which nearly 56% were repeated buyers . Amazon has since grown a hundred-fold and, in keeping with its reputation, has improved its personalization features with the help of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics.
Here are a few tools and techniques that Amazon uses to achieve its personalization goals:
- Each time a customer visits Amazon, they are greeted with a personalized homepage. Important information, such as the preferred delivery point, most recent orders, recently viewed products, and recommendations, always appears on the homepage.
- Amazon uses deep learning to understand human behavior and find hidden insights from the data it collects so it can deliver relevant results. This technology studies user journeys to collate pertinent data from the products viewed bought, rated, and reviewed. It then uses this data to analyze the products that a customer is most likely to buy and bases its future recommendations accordingly.
- An AI-powered recommendation engine is one of Amazon’s most trusted tools. It allows customers to discover items they would normally be interested in buying. In addition, it showcases items that customers would have difficulty finding but would be worth a look, nonetheless.
- Amazon also sends offline recommendations via email for the most popular products and discount offers relevant to the customer’s interest.
Personalization should not be assumed as the be-all and end-all of marketing strategy. When building a content strategy around personalization, it is important to do it the right way. There are pitfalls that are often overlooked. For instance, in the name of personalization, some companies bombard people with unwanted ads. It is important to know how much content is too much if you do not want to risk alienating customers.
On-demand content is in demand
On-demand content enables consumers to engage with content on their own terms, in the time and place of their choice. On-demand content has made it possible to deliver content to audiences who reside in different time zones, who have different work hours, and for whom time is a constraint.
For an average consumer, these are exciting times, with a huge variety of media and entertainment to choose from. People consume content via websites, apps, and digital streaming options. The freedom to get whatever content they desire anytime, anywhere is no longer a luxury but something they’ve come to expect. With platforms such as mobile devices, tablets, and modern-day computers, consumers today benefit from an enhanced user experience and the convenience to access on-demand content where and when they like without much fuss. Content owners, on the other hand, can monetize their content based on a subscription model. Today, services like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix provide a staggering amount of on-demand content globally. To quote some data: Netflix boasts of a subscriber base of 117 million in over 190 countries to whom it delivers over 140 million hours of content.
Netflix is a direct-to-consumer subscription video service that allows customers to watch a wide variety of streaming videos. It has a library of on-demand movies and TV shows that users can watch on any screen, anytime, and logged in from anywhere in the world.
Benefits of on-demand content include ease of creating and accessing content. You create a video or webinar and people watch, read or share the content. The content is available 24-7-365 on any device with an internet connection. Consumers can access the content while balancing work schedules and time zones. They can come back and visit the content time and again or split their viewing time according to convenience. All these factors contribute to a longer lifespan of the digital asset and an almost guaranteed high customer retention and lead generation.
Single-serve content is short and sweet
Content creators worldwide have been redesigning their content strategies to adapt to new technologies and changing consumer tastes. As content viewing on mobile devices gains popularity, content is being repurposed to fit its audience and is redesigned based on the platform it will be shared on. Amid these developments, a new audience segment has emerged: people who are looking for content that solves a specific problem.
Depending on the service you wish to provide, creating content that serves a single purpose is a strategy worth exploring. Such content is dedicated and clutter-free. Consumers looking for information find it quickly and with minimal effort.
Single-purpose content tends to be the simplest form of content to consume. Too much information can cause the user to become disoriented and lose interest. Users would rather visit a website that provides the content they’re looking for than get lost in a myriad of tasks and features. Websites, such as What Is My IP, which provides the user with the IP address of their machine, and How Secure Is My Password? each serves a single purpose.
As the demand for information grows and content gets churned out in megabytes, there seems to be no end in sight for the consumers’ hunger for information and the content creators’ craving for user attention. One thing is certain, though: the future will see numerous innovations in the field of content development but personalized, on-demand, single-serve content is here to stay. What this means to the average consumer is that there will always be a generous amount of staple digital content for the content-hungry to feed on, with a lot of personalized, on-demand, single-serve content thrown in as sweeteners.
Designing Intelligent Content for AI - Part 1
Welcome to the first of a dual part series on writing for Artificial Intelligence. Let’s begin with...
Human Editors vs. Tools: Finding common ground
You have completed writing the content your audience needs, and feel that a quick edit through your...
Documentation Hierarchy 101: Why is it Important?
In order for a company to run efficiently, there needs to be a proper organization or hierarchy of...