Leverage digital assets to deliver a truly personalized user experience

  • PostedOnText 20 December 2017
  • EstimatedReadingTimeText minutesText
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Are you getting maximum value out of your digital assets? Are you leveraging your videos, blog posts, downloads, and PDFs to drive the user experience while at the same time automatically better understanding your users based on the content they view?

If not, why not?

Digital assets should be as valuable to you as they are to your users. If you're just creating digital assets and giving them to your users, you're not really valuing those assets as much as you should. Or maybe you're unintentionally hiding them so your users have a hard time finding them. Maybe you are successfully serving these to your users, but you're not really learning about the users’ behavior.

Similar to real estate’s “location, location, location”, the web has its own three word mantra: “content, content, content”. And while some claim that it's sufficient to just create it, marketers know better. Having the best content is not enough. You have to know how to leverage it.

Getting started

There are two main components to leveraging digital assets.

First, build a dynamic site. Don't hide your assets behind seven clicks. Offer easy access to the assets with a dynamic experience instead of forcing the users to navigate through static pages. Don't ask visitors multiple times for the same piece of information. If your users easily find and access content that is useful for them, they'll come back.

Second, classify, classify, classify. To benefit from your content, make sure you understand what your content is first; classify and categorize it. Make sure your profiling is triggered based on that data.

With these parts in place, you will know a lot more about your users. And instead of serving one static page after another, you can start serving an experience that follows the user with a more personalized journey.

This is basically taking the "more articles like this" feature you see on most content sites to the next level. Instead of showing more articles like the one the user is now reading, you can offer more articles like those the user was previously reading. By classifying and delivering digital assets this way, users enjoy a truly engaging experience where the content they see reflects their true interests.

Pairing digital asset management with Sitecore

Sitecore can be used effectively to make this happen, but it is not a digital asset management system. You could use Sitecore for digital asset management (DAM) for a few assets, but when assets are in the tens of thousands (with multiple language versions and hundreds of authors), then you need a real DAM solution.

And Sitecore is the perfect platform to integrate with your DAM. The DAM will be the master source of your data, synchronizing the asset metadata back into Sitecore in near real-time. This allows your Sitecore instance to focus on serving content, profiling users, and personalizing their experience - exactly what it was meant for.

We implemented this scenario for a client. Despite having tens of thousands of assets in various languages with complex security requirements, we wanted the DAM updates to be visible for end-users within minutes.

In the end, we heavily leveraged Azure with Web Jobs to ensure that the Sitecore authoring would not be impacted when syncing the metadata of the assets.

We also leveraged Solr indexes (with Azure Search coming soon) for the complex queries and security requirements, rendering very dynamic and fast Angular galleries.

Strategize, then personalize

It’s imperative to make these considerations before deciding on your architecture:

  • Asset strategy: scale and type of assets
  • Information strategy: how do you categorize your content
  • Profiling strategy: how do you plan on profiling your users based on the assets
  • Synchronization strategy: when and how often do you need your assets to be synchronized
  • Language strategy: how will language fallbacks work, if you have them
  • URL and SEO strategy: what is the URL structure of your assets and what metadata do you want to include
  • Indexing strategy: what indexing technology to use, do you need custom indexes, index rebuilt strategy
  • UX Strategy: what technology should you use for your galleries

Sitecore is an excellent platform for leveraging your digital assets, but it is not something you get out of the box. It will require development and some strategic thinking on the end goals. The experts at Avanade are here to help. As you get started on your next digital journey, connect with us to build effective strategies and learn how to implement personalized digital experiences that will truly engage your customers.

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