6 Ideas for Delivering Content Recommendations from Real Companies

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Ideas and Strategies for Real-Time Personalization
6 Ideas for Delivering Content Recommendations from Real Companies

August 17, 2018 by

Have you ever wanted to start a new book or take on a new binge-watch, but couldn’t decide what to choose? There’s a lot of content out there and you need to sift through it all to find something you’ll enjoy. So if you’re like most people I know, you turn to your network of family, friends, colleagues, or internet acquaintances for help. They know what you like, so you ask them to suggest a book or TV series for you to take on next.

We rely on those content recommendations from humans just as much as we do from machines these days. For example, Netflix’s algorithms start recommending TV shows and movies you’ll like as soon as you start engaging with the service. Spotify helps you find new music with its spot-on recommendations. News and media sites recommend articles that will interest you. And tech companies promote content that can help educate you on trends in their space. Since today we have access to more content than we could ever possibly consume, these recommendations are critical.

The best content recommendations take into consideration the personal preferences of each individual. In this blog post, I’ll walk through a few examples of how some companies today are leveraging content recommendations to give you some inspiration for your own content marketing strategy.

1. Recommend the next blog post or article

Any company that creates blog content or operates a news or media site is familiar with this struggle: your visitors arrive to your site to read a specific article or blog post (typically through search or social), but the majority of that traffic leaves after viewing that first page. You want to improve engagement on your blog or media site by encouraging visitors to read more than just one article.

Nuxeo — a global software company providing a cloud-native, content services platform that enables organizations to manage digital content of any type and size — was looking to keep more of its blog visitors engaged to avoid losing traffic after the first page. By leveraging machine-learning algorithms, the Nuxeo team has been able to present the most relevant blog posts to each visitor. As a result, Nuxeo has seen a 34% lift in blog engagement (measured as views of 2+ blog posts) and a 2.4% decrease in bounce rate.

content recommendations

Nuxeo presents relevant blog recommendations, driving a 34% increase in blog engagement.

2. Recommend relevant content assets across the site

In addition to blog posts, most companies that are focused on demand generation offer other types of content. That content, such as white papers, videos, case studies, testimonials and demos, are often buried deep in the site — waiting for visitors to find them. Appropriately timed content recommendations can help prospects find these relevant content assets.

For example, the slide-out message below is an example of how Citrix promotes the most relevant content asset to individual visitors. While a prospect is viewing a web page dedicated to Citrix capabilities, they are shown a white paper that provides additional information about the topic.

content recommendations

Citrix presents the most relevant content asset to each individual via a slide-out message.

3. Leverage content as part of your ABM strategy

As part of an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy, B2B marketers focus their efforts only on the companies, industries or personas that are the best fit for their products or services. Your content recommendations can play a role in your ABM strategy.  

For example, Mendix — a leader in the application Platform-as-a-Service market — has selected eight key target industries to focus on for its ABM strategy. Using a combination of reverse IP lookup, onsite behavior, and email domain name from previously filled-out forms (for more details on ABM data sources, read this blog post), Mendix can recognize when someone from those industries lands on its site.

Mendix is then able to use this data to display relevant content across the site to visitors that fall into one of those eight industries. For example, Mendix has incorporated an industry-specific eBook in the navigation of the website itself. So when a visitor from the insurance industry clicks on the solutions tab, he is presented with an eBook called “3 Digitization Priorities That Insurers Can’t Ignore”. This campaign doesn’t disrupt the site experience, and the visitor doesn’t even know that his navigation experience has been personalized. This approach has driven a 10% increase in overall leads generated and a 6% reduction in homepage bounce rate.

content recommedations

As part of its ABM strategy, Mendix promotes a relevant eBook to each of its target industries, resulting in a 10% increase in leads generated.

4. Make search more efficient

Visitors who use the search bar on your site are looking for something specific — and they don’t want to sift through a long list of results to find it. To help those visitors quickly find what they’re looking for, you can surface the most relevant content to each individual while they’re searching.

At Evergage, we do this on our blog and our resources page. Whenever a visitor types something in the search bar, results are displayed immediately, sorted by what is most relevant to that person. The image below shows a user experience of someone who just started exploring Evergage for demand generation. She is shown a wide array of resources (webinars, case studies and videos) that are relevant to that use case.

content recommendations

Evergage delivers relevant content recommendations directly within an expanded, visual search bar.

5. Allow visitors to quickly return to previously viewed content

Depending on the type of content available on your site, you may want to help visitors find content they engaged with recently so they can easily pick up where they left off. For example, a financial news publication uses a “Recently Viewed” tab to display recently viewed content to customers. Once a visitor clicks on the tab, he sees all the articles he has recently read, prioritized by those he was most engaged with based on time spent.

This Recently Viewed tab drove increased engagement among returning customers, with a 26% lift in customers viewing 3 or more articles, a 49% lift in customers viewing 4 or more articles, and a 51% increase in customers viewing 5 or more articles (all measured versus a control).

content recommendations

This financial news publication displays recently viewed content in the “Recently Viewed” tab on the right side of the screen.

6. Encourage further engagement with dynamic CTAs

Some companies will promote a specific piece of content on their homepage or some other prominent place on the site. But what happens when a visitor views that content? Many companies will keep it there and waste the opportunity to engage the visitor with something else! Use this moment to display a new content recommendation in its place.

For example, Evergage uses dynamic calls-to-action (CTAs) to guide visitors down the funnel. Each time a customer takes the action to view a video in the prominent and valuable area just below the hero section on the home page, a new video is introduced in the same spot. Starting with introductory content, then moving on to customer testimonials and a solution demo, and finally ending with a CTA for requesting a live demo, the site constantly recommends the next best action that a visitor should take to learn more in his or her area of interest.

content recommendations

Evergage swaps out the piece of content promoted on its homepage to ensure that it doesn’t continue to recommend content the visitor has already consumed.

Final Thoughts

Get creative with your content recommendations. Play around with the algorithms that drive them. Display them in different areas around your site — such as the homepage, in the navigation, directly in the search bar, or in a recently viewed tab on the side of the screen. Use these examples as inspiration to guide your visitors to relevant content and encourage deeper engagement.

For more information on how Evergage can help you deliver more successful content recommendations, request a demo today.

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