Parameters are little snippets of information, added to a URL. They transfer information between places and are great for creating a personalized website experience. The information can either come from ad networks (e.g. Facebook, AdWords) or your own data sources (CRM or ESP).

Ad-based personalization: 

While setting up your ad campaigns, Facebook and AdWords provide you with a lot of data. Typically, you'll use this data to create targeted ads. Most likely, you'll send visitors to a dedicated landing page but that's it. Once a visitor moves past the landing page, all targeting data is lost. Not with Unless.
By creating audiences based on your ad targeting, you can store the data in form of audience memberships. This way you can personalize the entire website experience - including later web sessions.

Ideas for ad-based personalization:

  • Gender-specific offers: You run different ads for men/women? Set up audiences for that. Based on the ad a visitor clicks on, they'll join the "men" or "women" audience. Next,  you'll be able to personalize the entire website for each group - different product suggestions, different discounts, different testimonials. In later web sessions, the visitor will still be correctly identified as a member of the men/women audience - again, experiencing a personalized website. 
  • Website tailored to interest: Your product portfolio caters to different interests or tastes and you run interest-specific ads? Take it one step further with audiences. You sell concert tickets? Create different versions of your website tailored to audiences' taste in music. You sell women's shoes? Show a coupon for sport shoes to runners and inform party-goers about your discount on high-heels.  
  • Dynamic landing pages:  Ad and landing page should form a perfect union. But creating one landing page per ad can quickly turn into a herculean task. With Unless, you can automate the process. Create one landing page per category and dynamically inject the AdWords search query into the headline - guaranteed to maximize relevance. 
  • Highlight the right features: Your ad targeting is set up based on industry or job title? Typically, this means that business background influences what a potential customer cherishes in your product. So, create audiences based on industry or job title. Next, highlight the features that are important to each group (mainly on your homepage and features page).

The accounting software Xero does a great job at creating industry-specific landing pages. But, once you leave the landing page, the messaging becomes very generic, which hurts conversion. 

How to set up ad-based personalization: 

Email-based personalization:

Typically, all information collected through forms are sent to your email service (ESP). Connecting it to your eCommerce solution is also simple. This allows you to create personalized emails or to trigger automated email flows.
For this, your ESP transforms data into so-called merge-tags. Those tags can be attached to any link in your emails. Unless can pick up these tags and create audiences based on it.

Ideas for email-based personalization:

  • Dynamic landing pages: Change key website elements (e.g. headline, value proposition, CTA) based on data stored in your ESP. Set it up once and connect it to as many email campaigns as you want. You have a fitness app and store information about users' fitness goals? Set up goal-based audiences and tailor the entire website to this goal - recommended content, promoted products, CTAs, testimonials,...  
  • Personalized cross-selling: If someone has already bought from you, leverage data about purchasing history to promote other products. Through personalization, you'll be able to not only pick the right product to promote, you'll be able to describe it in a way that resonates with the customer.
  • Personalized up-selling: Data about purchasing history can also be used to create well-converting promotions. You have a flower delivery business and Mother's Day is coming up? Check your customers' order preferences (modern bouquets, roses, potted plants,...) and sent them a tailored promo.

How to set up email-based personalization: 

CRM-based personalization:

Just like your email service, your CRM encodes data in form of merge-tags. By tapping into it, your sales team can take personalized pitches far beyond emails. 

Ideas for CRM-based personalization:

  • Dynamic pages based on lead value: Most CRMs automatically enrich lead profiles with company-specific data such as company size, number of employees, industry, location, and more. You sell an HR-software? Create audiences based on # of emloyees. Next, send small companies to your self-serve app, while enterprise clients, see CTAs that allow them to get in touch with sales. This way, you sales team can spent more time on the most-valuable leads.  
  • Personalized sales page: Take the data you already have about a lead and combine it with what a lead's behavior indicates. You have a law firm and your lead working in retail has downloaded two white papers about GDPR?  Send them to a sales page that shows them exactly how you're able to help retailers with becoming GDPR-compliant.
  • Increase ROI for cold outreach: Scraping or buying contacts for cold outreach is becoming less and less effective. This can be mostly attributed to pseudo-personalized emails à la "Our solution will be great for {{company}}". Recipients see right through it and show you the cold shoulder. However, a personalized landing page still guarantees an impressive pitch. For cold outreach at Unless, we dynamically inject data about industry, revenue, and personalization use cases - works like a charm!

How to set up CRM-based personalization: 

Targeting options for parameter-based audiences:

  • UTM source: Show a specific variation based on the utm_source attached to the URL. Example: utm_source=AdWords
  • UTM medium: Show a specific variation based on the utm_medium attached to the URL. Best practice suggest to use "medium" to define the traffic channel. Example: utm_medium=Paid Search
  • UTM campaign: Show a specific variation based on the utm_campaign attached to the URL. Best practice suggest to use "campaign" to define a marketing activity. Example: utm_campaign=shoe_promotion
  • UTM content: Show a specific variation based on the utm_content attached to the URL. Best practice suggest to use "content" to describe the ad/newsletter/post, which allows for identifying individual promotions. Example: utm_content=red_shoes
  • UTM term: Show a specific variation based on the utm_term attached to the URL. It is typically used to identify keywords for paid ads. 
  • Hash: Hash marks (#)  introduce an optional fragment near the end of the URL. They're typically used in eCommerce and affiliate marketing.  
  • Query String Parameters: Query string parameters are used for sending information through the URL (e.g. This is one of the most powerful targeting condition, so we dedicated a separate article to it

Here we selected "city" as the query parameter key. So, that matches, ?city=Paris, ?city=London,...To target a specific key value (e.g. Amsterdam) you would have to change the trigger to "city=Amsterdam".

Tips and best practices:

  • The triggers "is empty" and "is not empty" are particularly useful here to set up audiences that trigger if no (or any) parameter is set.
  • When applicable, try to use the "contains" trigger instead of "equals". This is especially true for triggers based parameters. For example, if you used "utm_source equals adwords" but the link is "mysite/?utm_source=adwords/", the variation wouldn't trigger correctly. The / at the end of the link wouldn't be an exact match.
  • Unless checks your audiences in descending order. If the visitor doesn’t match the first audience, it checks the second audience, then the third, and so on. And if a visitor doesn’t fit into any audience you created, they’ll see the unpersonalized, default version of your website. 
  • Remember to correctly use the AND/OR function. For example: You can target visitors from two UTM campaigns but a person can only view one campaign at a time. So, use the "OR" function to combine those triggers. 
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