How to Convert First-Time Visitors Using AI-Driven Personalization

It’s a norm for marketers these days to drive meaningful engagement with returning customers through personalized marketing campaigns and content. However, with marketing automation tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI), you can now personalize your website content for first-time visitors to turn more traffic into conversions.

In today’s noisy digital space, brands place high premium on personalizing their content and services to their audiences. Tailoring the content on an app or a website to match visitors’ interest can be a powerful way to convert them into leads or even buyers.

According to the 2018 Personalization Pulse Check from Accenture Interactive, 91 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations.

How Far Can Traditional Methods Go?

Marketers have so far approached personalization by researching the existing customers and refining target personas to create more tailored content over time. As you get more data on the type of visitors who return to your site or app, you get a better understanding of the creative that should be produced for these visitors.

While this helps in delivering personalized experiences for returning customers, a major portion of visitors convert on their first visits. According to a recent research, 84 percent of conversions happened during visitors’ first-time visit. This means you might be missing out by not personalizing experiences on you site to new visitors.

There are some visible attributes of new visitors you can use to personalize your site’s user experience. Traditionally, data points like IP address, location, device used and source of traffic can provide marketers some insight into what new visitors expect to see.

Geolocation filters, for example, can help clothing brands personalize their online stores to show season-themed clothing in local languages based on first-time visitors’ IP addresses. Similar first-party data points can also help surface promos, time-sensitive discounts and freebies on popular purchases from your store exclusively for first-time visitors.

How AI-Driven Personalization Can Do Better

However, these traditional methods still have limitations as they are based on information collected from user behavior within your website or app. They are also incapable of distinguishing behaviors from the same user across devices, thus losing out on opportunities for device-specific personalization.

Today, with the help of AI, you are able to understand consumers interests and behavior outside of your own online channels, which means even before visitors make their first visit to your site. So, you will have a better chance to personalize experiences accordingly.

  • Cross-device personalization

Despite the explosion of marketing automation tools in the last few years, marketers still struggle to track consumers across touchpoints like devices and channels. For example, a new visitor may browse a fashion retailer’s site on her tablet on Sunday afternoon, bookmark her favourite dress on her PC the same night and decide to check out only on her mobile later. These three interactions would traditionally be attributed to three separate users.

With a proactive marketing automation tool powered by AI, you are able to map the user journey and gain a single customer view across all possible screens, which enables you to deliver relevant messaging at the right time, such as a push notification remind her to check out on her way to work on Monday morning.

  • More accurate profiling based on interests from third-party data

In addition to this first-party data, marketers can also benefit from leveraging third-party data about a potential future visitor’s behavior and preferences on external sites. While some platforms provide syndicated online consumer data, they are usually collected from the behavior of logged-in users or through surveys conducted by a panel of selected users.

What is more powerful is an AI-based tool that can analyze billions of data points to identify patterns from across devices, to model how users behave and move between different screens. For instance, Appier’s AIQUA manages to do just this by analyzing more than 2 billion data points from its thousands of campaigns to identify user interests and keywords. You can layer such data on top of first-party data to segment audiences more precisely and personalize content for each segment on their first visit.

More importantly, such AI-powered tools go one step further and analyze the keywords within the offsite content consumed to reveal more specific interests like “basketball” and “FIFA”, instead of “sports”, or “bitcoin” and “virtual reality”, rather than “technology”.

Considering a first-time visitor to your travel site might have varying intents based on the articles he read on external sites – mere exploration, planning a safari in Kenya or a wine tour in Tuscany. Based on his interests, you can categorize him into “outdoor adventurist” or “wine lover”, and tailor the web content or offers accordingly when he first lands on your site.

While you can’t always expect your online or app visitors to convert on their first visits, it doesn’t mean you can’t increase the chances of this happening by using AI-power marketing automation tools to deliver a hyper-personalized experience.

Making 1:1 Personalization Possible With Artificial Intelligence

The way a company markets itself and its products or services can have a huge impact on its profits, brand strength and longevity. While a poorly planned and executed marketing campaign is unlikely to help a company greatly, using modern techniques such as personalization powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can push your campaigns to the next level.

Marketing Personalization Is A Necessity

While many brands have already started to personalize their messages using marketing automation tools, online marketing allows for much more specific targeting, almost on an individual basis. Potential customers leave breadcrumbs of their interests across the internet, through social media, shopping sites and search engines. This data can help you craft a better marketing campaign, one with tangible benefits.

Personalization at scale can lift revenue by 5 to 15 percent for companies in the retail, travel, entertainment, telecom and financial services sectors, according to McKinsey & Company.

There is no surprise to see that personalization is becoming a major consideration as McKinsey highlighted that more than 90 percent of retailers believe this is a top priority. However, only 15 percent of these companies are actually doing a good job at it.

Challenges With Marketing Automation Tools Today

One of the most important aspects of marketing is making sure you get your message to the right people. The more specific you can be with your target audience, the more likely you are to see a positive return on investment in your campaigns. There is little point telling a vegetarian about your new steakhouse, or advertising a luxury resort to backpackers.

A major limitation of many marketing automation tools today is the lack of available data. Whether it is because you are looking at a small data pool or that you cannot track a user over multiple devices, having holes in your data can make your personalization less accurate and therefore less effective.

For example, a user may access your site on their computer, phone and tablet. Many personalization tools don’t have the capacity to see this as one user and will instead report three different people looking at your site. This gives a disjointed view of the user and means you miss out on valuable information about the buyer’s journey.

Marketing automation tools do not always understand human actions or emotions either. They could fail to recognize that after someone has made a purchase, he or she will no longer want to buy the same item. This can often come down to a lack of data about a user’s behavior.

Another challenge businesses have is that they find it difficult to scale their marketing efforts and manage engagement across all their channels. One cause for this is the number of different tools they need to cover all the bases, and upgrading each of these can be a costly or impractical exercise. With different tools in place, there is often a lack of communication between what marketers are seeing, making it hard for them to act quickly and efficiently.

How Can AI Improve Personalized Marketing?

There are many ways that AI techniques can help brands improve their marketing campaigns. This is particularly true in terms of zooming in on one particular type of customers and scaling up for large projects.

Without any sort of AI, the information companies know about a visitor when they visit a website can be limited. However, the visitor may already have shown information about the type of person they are and what sort of product they are looking for. For instance, a consumer often purchases fashion goods from an ecommerce site A, but she also buys baby products from site B. Having this insight available for site A means the visitor can be exposed to relevant products and information to keep them engaged further.

AI can also help you engage potential customers once they leave your site. For instance, someone who has abandoned a cart on your site can receive a reminder about the product that they have left waiting, perhaps with personalized suggestions for other items if that one wasn’t quite right.

Another scenario could be knowing whom to send certain newsletters to. You may have a sale or promotion on products that might be of interest to some of your contacts. Sending one email campaign out to all your subscribers isn’t necessarily the best approach. So, knowing who has shown an interest and who would be likely to buy that product can help make that email marketing campaign more effective.

AI-powered personalized marketing is proving to be one of the most effective ways to maximize a marketing budget and it’s something that brands are increasingly making use of today.

Introducing Josh Shozen as SVP of Enterprise Solution Sales for Appier Japan and South Korea

By Junde Yu, Chief Business Officer, Appier

Josh Shozen, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Solution Sales for Japan and South Korea, Appier

I’m excited to welcome Satoshi (Josh) Shozen to our team as Senior Vice President of Enterprise Solution Sales for Japan and South Korea.

Based in Tokyo, Josh brings over 15 years’ experience in enterprise software sales management and digital marketing in Japan and the region where he has worked with global technology companies including Adobe, Proscape Technologies, and Microsoft.

Before joining Appier, Josh was the country manager for SundaySky Japan, the creator of SmartVideo platform, and helped develop the strategic partner ecosystem for selling into major FSI and Automotive clients.

In his new role, Josh will lead our teams in both countries to strengthen the business of Aixon, an AI-powered Data Intelligence Platform that Appier launched last July. More than 10 clients, including Japanese real estate portal LIFULL, have already successfully deployed Aixon and transformed their digital marketing campaigns.

While we continuously upgrade technology for Aixon’s functionality to help our customers’ business success, such as the recent integration with LINE Business Connect, we also see the strong potential of our business in both the marketing and data intelligence platforms.

With Josh on board, we are looking to accelerate our business in Japan and South Korea, especially the latter, a highly mobile-dominated market where 60-70 percent of e-commerce is made through mobile devices.  

Graduated from the University of Washington, Josh started his career at Microsoft in Seattle as a solution sales specialist. He was transferred to Tokyo in 2003 to manage Microsoft’s Global Accounts segment for Japan as a Regional Business Manager. Josh later moved on to lead the Japan and APAC business as VP for Proscape Technologies before joining Adobe Japan as Director of Digital Marketing Solution Div. Enterprise Sales in 2012.

As an avid surfer, Josh enjoys a variety of watersports and outdoor activities with his family and friends in his spare time, either in Japan or at his other home on the Big Island of Hawaii.


About the author:

Junde Yu is the Chief Business Officer of Appier, a leading Artificial Intelligence (AI) company. He leads the company’s Enterprise business, which includes Aixon, an AI-based data intelligence platform. Junde joined Appier from App Annie, where he was Managing Director of Asia Pacific. He started at App Annie as its first sales rep in the region and grew the sales and marketing team in the region to achieve very extensive revenues across the Asia Pacific region. It was also here that he acquired an appreciation for how enterprises could derive tremendous value from data.