It is safe to say that innovation in the information experience space is showing no signs of slowing down and continues to accelerate at a rapid pace. The fabric to provide contextual web experience, delivering increasingly personalized experiences at massive “internet scale” is becoming essential to businesses wishing to remain competitive. This fabric includes support for catering to a wide range of channels (smart phone, tablets and now smaller 7″ tablets) and making use of user generated content within and outside of (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) an organization’s web infrastructure.
Today most organizations are proficient at Web Content Management (WCM), but relatively new to Web Experience Management (WCM). Over the past few weeks I have had an intense focus on clearly defining an way to illustrate this shift and provide resources to allow businesses to get a sense of what lies ahead for web experience management.
To help people quickly understand and gain visibility into the torrent of information related to Web Experience Management, here are 5 key resources to help expose elements of what will be required for an evolution to WEM, as well as future strategy on the web and beyond.
What is the functional difference between WCM and WEM platforms?
It would be nearly impossible to write this post without immediately addressing the general functional differences. Please note that what I write here is my own take on these differences and does not necessarily represent the views of Oracle.
In the above figure I have grouped WCM and WEM functionality. There are many views on the interwebs around this, but WCM functionality essentially provides a core foundation for what is available to enable rich WEM. Since WCM core capabilities like meta data, workflow and basic analytics are topics that have been covered in depth before – let’s focus on what WEM provides above and beyond the WCM foundation.
- Segmentation – based on a user’s behavior (implicit personalization) or profile (explicit personalization) it is possible to tailor the information being show to the user. For instance, if an anonymous user views a variety of “learn German” MP3s on a site like Amazon.com, the site may begin to show the user related items that showcase other learn German MP3s, but also travel information for Germany and Austria or history books on the regions. In order to facilitate this WEM allows this organization to create a “segment” for users who look through learn German materials. This segment will ensure that a dynamic, contextual user experience is delivered for this person.
Additionally, the user may log in and the system may start to use information about past purchases to delivered promotions and other targeted information on the basis of the user’s demographic information, Facebook connections indicating what products their friends like, etc.
- Personalization – personalization comes in 2 forms – Implicit and Explicit.
- Implicit – essentially Implicit personalization is possible on the basis of an anonymous user’s geography, method by which they arrived at your site, device they are browsing from, clicks that they have made on your site and the content on your site they have viewed.
- Explicit – once a user is known to your site via a login, Facebook token or other authentication mechanism, it is possible to deliver extremely targeted content. You not only have information about prior interactions with that user from your CRM or ERP system, but can potentially interact with the user’s Social Graph to determine what they like and what people they are friends with like.
- User Generated Content (UGC) / Community – customer self service sites, fan clubs and other communities can enable organizations to increase sales into their existing customer base and increase satisfaction with that company’s products or services. WEM technologies offer deeper engagement with users on the basis of user forums, product ratings, comments, profiles and communities. Prospective customers are more inclined to believe comments from peers, than from a vendor, so comments and ratings (User Generated Content) are critical to consider when presenting product information.
- Social Media Integration – twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms allow organizations to quickly communicate with their customers and prospects, as well as for people to provide commentary about the organization itself. The web experience happens both inside of and outside of an organization’s web properties and thought must be given to how this information is managed – from a publishing and response standpoint. For more details around the emergence of social media and its implications for companies, check out Get Social or Die with Jeremiah Owyang below.
- Campaigns – are used to determine what materials are being shown to users in the various segments discussed above. This allow marketing teams to shape the experience of users on the basis of what segments have been identified and created. In our example above, the possible segment “german interest” may be created to allow marketers to create a campaign consisting of materials to show to this segment around language tapes, travel guides, german history, etc.
- Multichannel Delivery – it is now the rule, rather than the exception, that your site will be reviewed on mobile devices. This may mean a tablet, smartphone or a future device not yet known. Either way, your content, along with personalization and multimedia assets, need to be ready for delivery to a wide range of devices. WEM platforms inherently will provide functionality to allow reuse of functions and assets across all channels.
- Advanced Analytics – page view analytics have existed for quite some time and no marketing department is without them. With this being said, traditional analytics provide limited insight and no proactive capability to assist in the delivery of a web experience. Campaign monitoring, click stream analysis and A/B testing are all essential tools to support marketing and are a key component of WEM. Much more on advanced web analytics below within the other resources.
Get Social or Die with Jeremiah Owyang
Jeremiah is a partner with Altimeter Group focusing on web strategy and customer experience. Anyone familiar with or new to consumer social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) will get a ton of value from the following session Jeremiah did where he discusses developing a social strategy for your organization.
Check out his first session in a series of 4 from Amplify Festival
Review the remaining 3 parts of Jeremiah’s session at Amplify Festival.
Measuring Online Marketing Success with Avinash Kaushik
Web analytics are great – but are you looking at metrics that actually matters? For instance “…only you are the person that cares about your home page… people go deep on your site – look at the pages with the highest bounce rates” “… what traffic sources are actually adding value to my business? … who are my BFFs?” He also covers the concept of micro and macro conversions and highlights key indicators and ways of filtering data for more detail that actually show the behaviors occurring on your site that are critical to your success.
Rethinking Engagement Metrics
With all of the increased focus around inbound marketing within organizations (blogging, etc) new ways of viewing metrics are critical to understanding what is really occurring online that contributes to brand recognition and sales.
Eric T. Peterson and Joseph Carrabis from the Nextstage Group have come up with some innovative formulas to attempt to measure user engagement, providing insight beyond what is generally expected from web analytics. Their report is embedded below. Additionally, Lois Beckett from the Nieman Journalism Lab provides an excellent overview and insights on the basis of this work in action with some Philadelphia news organizations in Getting beyond just pageviews: Philly.com’s seven-part equation for measuring online engagement.
The formula and an excerpt from the report highlight the insight capable of being gleaned from analytics that otherwise simply appears as a massive pile of information. For details into this approach, definitely dive into the report a bit or check out Lois Beckett’s great summary.
Σ(Ci + Di + Ri + Li + Bi + Fi + Ii)
“Visitor Engagement is a function of the number of clicks (Ci), the visit duration (Di), the rate at which the visitor returns to the site over time (Ri), their overall loyalty to the site (Li), their measured awareness of the brand (Bi), their willingness to directly contribute feedback (Fi) and the likelihood that they will engage in specific activities on the site designed to increase awareness and create a lasting impression (Ii).”
Marketing Analytics 101 – How to Measure the Effectiveness of your Web Site
This lecture from Hubspot reviews why outbound marketing is broken and how it has driven the increased focus around inbound marketing. It covers at a detailed level various ways to view and understand publishing, metrics and optimization around inbound efforts.