Personalization at Scale – How analyzing…

Personalization at Scale – How analyzing search insights drives customer acquisition

A recent study found that 79% of consumers will only buy from brands that first demonstrate they understand and care about them. In short, they want a more personalized experience from companies that want to engage with them.

Hitwise recently released its Personalization at Scale 2018 Report, and the guide discusses the three components of personalization – acquiring customers, engaging them with relevant messaging, and growing their lifetime value – and how companies can do it at-scale.

In this first of three blogs about Personalization at Scale, we’ll show why search is such a key component to customer acquisition. To do this, we’ll compare beauty retailer Ulta Beauty with one of their fastest-rising competitors, Sally Beauty.

How search terms can drive content and engagement

One of Ulta Beauty’s core audience segments is comprised of female millennials. Search term analysis found that different ethnicities searched for different types of products (see chart below).Using this data, Ulta could promote content around these searches, such as a YouTube video showing a “Brow and Eyeliner Tutorial for Asian Eyes” or an Instagram post on “Best Unicorn Lipstick Looks” to better target and attract these shoppers.

Leverage search to learn what drives customer traffic

In addition to search, analyzing web traffic is another strategy for finding customers. Ulta saw a slight decline in traffic beginning in 2018, and visits in the three months to July were 9% lower than the three months leading to April. Though smaller, Sally Beauty enjoyed a 31% boost in traffic in the three months ending in July.

So what can Ulta Beauty do to understand what drove shoppers to Sally Beauty? The first step is to check out what search terms led to Sally’s rise in traffic and compare those with products they sell (or ones they don’t).

The chart below shows that Ulta sells Quick Dry Top Coat, which, as a search term, drove traffic to Sally. Ulta could tailor their paid search budget on this term to target customers interested in this product. Another search term, Mild Relaxer, an item which Ulta doesn’t sell, drove traffic to Sally. Ulta could begin stocking this to acquire customers interested in this product.Search terms are one of the best indicators of consumer intent, so looking at which terms drive traffic to your site (or to your competitors) is critical for identifying and learning more about your customers’ goals. Ulta Beauty could look to see what their core audience segments are searching for, then target them with relevant content.

They can also analyze the search terms that drove traffic to them, in addition to competitors like Sally. Armed with that knowledge, Ulta can better promote their products based on customer interest, or incorporate new lines based on what drove Sally’s traffic increase.

For more digital marketing tips and insights, check out our Personalization at Scale 2018 Report.