Our Head of Digital talks to Zoe Amar about creating an innovative culture on social media:
CEO of Flipboard Mike McCue stated in a recent article that personalisation is the future of Digital. Macmillan’s head of Digital Amanda Neylon agrees, but what does it mean and what does it look like for Macmillan? Rebecca Cryan looks at some of the ways we’re personalising user’s experience of the Macmillan website over the next year or so.
We all know that the web is moving away from a blanket approach to marketing, where a universal message is pumped out to everyone. Tracking and data mean that companies can now offer targeted ads based on user preferences, browsing history and personal information. For companies this means that they can get their messages in front of the right people, the people who are likely to act on them. For consumers this means that (in theory) they see more relevant ads and fewer irrelevant ones.
Last year a survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit and supported by Lyris suggested that consumers are receptive to this kind of personalisation: ‘48% of respondents said they like to receive product recommendations based on their interests compared to 20% who gave a negative response.’ (From the e-consultancy blog)
Most conversations about personalisation centre on targeted marketing, but what of content? Mike says in his article that ‘We’re moving towards this…world where content can be atomized and reconstructed around interests or topics that someone’s really passionate about.’ There exist thousands of tools and sites for curating content from around the web. Whether it’s creating your own magazine on Flipboard, pinning content from across the web to your virtual pin board on Pinterest or aggregating tweets, photos, videos and posts about an event on Storify, users can curate the web to create completely personalised experiences.
At Macmillan we have thousands of pages of cancer information, currently our site structure allows you to search for the content that’s most relevant to you, and it’s pretty easy and intuitive. But if you’ve got prostate cancer then information about cervical cancer isn’t going to be relevant to you. The impatient web user doesn’t have time to sort the relevant from the irrelevant, so we need to organise relevant content for them.
Currently we do this in a similar way to Flipboard (an app which allows you to create your own online magazines based on your interests) using keyword tagging to group information in search results, and our team of editors who cross-pollinate content from one area of the site to another, adding links to a financial guidance tool to our pages about benefits for example. McCue says: ‘As we thought about how we’d populate this personal magazine…we realized there needed to be a human touch here, and have people who were thoughtful about who were the best sources, and what was the best content.’
Some of our forthcoming Digital projects will go further and allow you to curate the Macmillan website to make it completely relevant to you and your experience.
Whether you’re a fundraiser who wants to collect information about your event in one place, or someone going through chemo who needs to gather relevant information and advice from the community in one place to refer back to, the future Macmillan website will allow you to personalise your experience. Our single-sign-on project which will eventually bring all of Macmillan’s web properties under one sign-on will allow us to ask users their preferences and interests which will let us offer personalised content to each user.
Users will also have a hub or dashboard where they can control their interactions with Macmillan and see this personalised content. The user will be in control of their experience and their preferences for contact levels and frequency.
Effectively, each person accessing the Macmillan website will have a completely different experience of our content. The most important thing is that these experiences are consistent in their quality, and that the user is in control.
I’ll be bringing you more information about these projects over the next year.
(Image from Wikimedia Commons)