Over two-thirds of “digital native” visitors — people born or brought up during the age of digital technology — now expect a personalized web experience. And that need for personalization extends across every device.
But it is hard to personalize for an audience that remains anonymous until they sign up for your offer or identify themselves with a login, which is most website or app visitors.
Hippo’s digital experience platform is a content management system that helps businesses deliver the right content, at the right time, on any channel, and to any visitors — anonymous or known.
By acquiring the company, BloomReach is in a position to combine its personalization platform — which we have covered in depth during its various funding rounds, product launches, and office expansions — with a solution that can leverage data and algorithmic intelligence. This allows it to create, build, personalize, market, and measure every digital experience across verticals and geographies.
So what will the technology do, and what is the typical use case for it?
“Currently, you see many commerce companies moving more toward a blend of commerce and content, versus just an online storefront,” Raj de Datta, cofounder and CEO at BloomReach told me. “With a combined BloomReach digital experience platform, a company can build relevant content and serve the right experience (both content and products) to customers based on their intent. It uses data from outside a business’ walls, coupled with everything you know about that customer within the enterprise. Site search will not just be relevant but will be uniquely tailored based on behavior. It can also be content that changes based on what you’ve been looking for earlier in that visit, not just predefined rules by segment.”
That combination of machine learning and algorithmic intelligence could be the difference between keeping a visitor interested and losing them for good.
“Applying machine learning to a content-driven digital experience is going to open a lot of new doors for businesses,” Hippo’s cofounder and CEO, Jeroen Verberg, told me. “An enterprise will be able to go beyond simply reflecting on data to truly leveraging insights from the entire web to build a content strategy — a strategy that revolves around not only what their current visitors want, but what content the hoards of potential visitors are hungry for.”
Of course, many solutions already exist that provide for dynamic, personalized website, mobile, web, and app experiences. How will this combined solution differ?
“It means that the entire experience across each stage of the customer life cycle is relevant,” De Datta said. “Right now, you have siloed experiences by channel — or even within one channel. On websites, you can have five different widgets that use different logic that ultimately ends up serving a disconnected experience. Multiply that by channels, and you have a mess on your hands.”
In addition to providing personalized experiences across channels that make sense, the combined solution could mean better predictions, too.
“With our joint technologies, we are going to radically change this by using machine learning to predict not just what content visitors want now, but what they want next,” Verberg said. “The combination of machine learning and agile content delivery will provide a truly intelligent solution that informs what type of content will drive results and then uses that content to automatically create, personalize, measure, and optimize the cross-channel experiences that drive those results.”
With the world now mobile by definition, the future of sales and marketing has changed dramatically over the decade. We now have to ensure that everything we do makes sense to a smartphone user. What does the future of personalization look like in that always-mobile world?
“Think of the personalization, context, and understanding capabilities of a Google-like experience applied to every website,” De Datta said. “It’s the ability to understand trends and how people describe products or content so that a website or app can adapt to meet the demand. Our goal is to power a predictive experience that not only knows why you are engaging with a brand but can even provide an experience they don’t even know they want yet.”
Ultimately, it comes down to making everything seem completely natural to the consumer.
“Personalization in a mobile world needs to go beyond that ‘app-like’ way of thinking — that the mobile experience is an entirely separate beast from the web experience,” Verberg said. “Mobile personalization will go far beyond ‘I am on a phone in this geographic location’ to combining contextual data with web personalization measures that give one cohesive experience from the web to mobile and back again.”
Financial details of the acquisition are not being made available. BloomReach has raised $97 million, to date, and data from the Gartner Web Content Management Magic Quadrant shows Hippo has more than $10 million in annual revenue.