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Smart Content: What is it? And why does it matter?
   

Smart Content: What is it? And why does it matter?

I frequently see online ads that feel like they are reading my mind.

One day I’ll consider buying new sunglasses, and boom, the next day I see an ad for a pair I like.

While what I’m seeing is clearly because the ad is using a pixel to track my data and follow me around the web, it’s nonetheless impressive.

Ads today are dynamic, contextualized, and targeted.

But with so much user information at our fingertips, it makes you wonder: Why aren’t most websites as personalized as online ads?

Well, with smart content, they can be. It’s now possible to show smart content on your site in the same way we show smart ads — meaning, each user sees a website that feels like it was made just for them.

Smart content has the potential to have a transformative impact on website experiences in the same way that targeted ads revolutionized the online ad industry.

Let’s explore what smart content is and how exactly can be used to help boost conversions.

What is smart content?

Smart content is personalized content that dynamically updates based on who is viewing your site.

It takes into account behavioral data, contextual data, demographic data & firmographic data in order to serve up content that is tailored to each visitor’s unique preferences.

Static content is not the same for everyone — it’s tailored for each individual.

Why you should use smart content

You should create smart content because personalized experiences have been shown to improve performance metrics. Whether you are tracking overall conversions, free trial sign-ups, webinar watchers, newsletter subscribers, or even just increasing time on site — smart content will deliver stronger results than static content.

Why? Let’s review a few quick reasons.

Improved personalization

Being asked “what do you want” by an unfeeling server at a cafe doesn’t spark joy; being greeted by name and asked if you want the usual feels great. A popup that blares a generic ad is repulsive; a chatbot that greets you by name and asks how it can help is much more welcoming.

By personalizing the web experience, smart content turns your site from cold and sterile to warm and inviting. Users are impressed when they see headlines, articles, and CTAs that feel hyper-relevant to their needs. But don’t worry, we’re not basing this all on gut feel. Personalized content has robust data backing up its effectiveness.

A recent study showed that 98% of marketers believe personalization helps advance customer relationships, and 87% of marketers reported a measurable lift from their personalization (AKA smart content) efforts.

Improved targeting

The best websites are not optimized for the masses, but instead, they are laser-focused on converting the customers that provide them with the most value. If you have a high conversion rate but it’s mostly for users you don’t want, that’s not a good thing.

With smart content, you can target each visitor with the perfect piece of content — from blog posts to ebooks to smart CTAs. You can segment and target based on the unique properties of a visitor and distribute the right piece of content for their unique wants and needs.

Examples of how smart content works

In the days of the early internet, a visitor to your site was a black box. You had little insight into who they were, where they worked, or what they wanted. In that case, it was actually rational to have a static site. If you don’t know who your visitors are, sometimes it’s best to be as broad as possible.

Back in those days, if you ran a company that offered bookkeeping services, your homepage might have shown every visitor the same headline — “Need bookkeeping services? You’re in the right place!”

On the blog, you’d want to display the most recently published post to a visitor — as the more generic piece was better than showing the wrong piece to a visitor. Today, with advances in smart content, you can be much more targeted with your campaigns.

What you can target

Today, the same bookkeeping business can use tracking tools to instantly figure out details about their visitors, such as:

  • What company they work for
  • The size of that company
  • By what route they came to your site (ad, Google search, etc.)
  • Where they are located
  • Whether they have visited your site before
  • What articles they’ve read while on site
  • The browser they are using
  • What device they are using

That data is a goldmine, and it’s what allows smart content to work its magic. Imagine you learn that a visitor:

  • Works at a restaurant
  • Has visited your site before
  • Read a bunch of content on how to hire a bookkeeper
  • Is based in NYC

In that case, your smart content system could instantly tweak a landing page to speak directly to the needs of that user, maybe with a headline like:

“A bookkeeping service that knows the ins and outs of the New York City tax code better than anyone else.”

You could also serve them with more relevant suggested articles on-page to increase their likelihood of conversion. If you work with other restaurants in the area, you can auto-populate the landing page with their logos as a means of relevant social proof.

These small tweaks, done automatically, can have hugely positive impacts on engagement and conversions. It’s all part of personalization — and it’s proven to help you increase KPIs across your site.

The best part about smart content? It’s not rocket science! In fact, we’ve created a way to let any marketer create smart content on their site.

Proof’s Smart Content — bringing personalization to the masses

Proof Experiences is a user-friendly and easy to-to-implement smart content system. It allows any site to become more dynamic, personalized, and welcoming. 

The software takes generic, boring websites and turns them into sites where every step of the user journey feels like it was built just for them.

For example, let’s go back to pretending you run that bookkeeping service. When someone from a specific industry clicks the ad, they can see copy that speaks to their needs. To use the restaurant example again, it could look like this: 

Experiences

We also understand that dev time is a precious resource, so we specifically designed Experiences so that marketers can set it up all on their own. Now you can focus on building an unstoppable funnel while the dev team messes around with intricacies of Jira and React (or whatever those engineers do all day).

Smart content is the future

When I go to my Amazon homepage, nothing is generic. They greet me by name, and they use my location and history to show me clothes, food, and music I might like. They are usually spot on, which makes me want to use the site more, which improves their recommendations.

That’s why Amazon doesn’t just have users, they have fans.

Soon, that will be the norm. We are entering an era where sites with a fraction of Amazon’s resources can produce similar results, making users feel seen and valued in the process.

The rise of smart content will make the internet will feel more like walking into your favorite local coffee shop and less like going into a big box store. As shown with the creation of our smart content tool, we can’t wait.