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Creating Personalized Experiences with Predictive Content

Predictive Content helps you speak to each customer on an individual level from one email. Learn more about how it works below!

What is CXA?

Customer Experience Automation or CXA has been a huge focus for ActiveCampaign this year.  We are creating a new approach to building meaningful connections with your customers.  

There are quite a few reasons why you would want to do this, let’s discuss! 

Every person should get a unique experience.  

  • Just because contacts share the common interest of your business doesn’t mean that they should all get the same experience.   

You shouldn’t need to start with a blank slate.

  • Smarter automation helps you build with tools like Predictive Sending and Predictive Content.

The perfect experience changes over time. 

  • Automations should update themselves, to save you the work of maintaining complex, powerful automations. 

It’s not just messaging, it’s everything that affects your customers. 

  • Automations not only manage your messaging, but it also manages everything that will affect the customer experience. 

Ideal experiences change from business to business. 

  • Your business is different. Automations should optimize based on metrics that matter to you  — not just links and clicks. 

You know your business — you should still be in control. 

  • You know your customers. You should still be able to add a human touch. Even as automation gets smarter, you still need to be the one who holds the reins.

What does this really mean?  Well, for starters, it gives you the opportunity to give your customers the best message for them.  It allows you to be as specific as possible with time, content and routing.  

Customizing every message for each person who sees it.  Sending people through the unique sequence that makes sense for them.  Creating unique pauses and send times, so that every message arrives at the perfect moment.  

Now, one of the key points here is content.  Today, we are able to personalize content through conditional content, personalization tags, and message variables.  

What is Predictive Content?

That is Predictive Content.  Predictive Content allows you to send each customer the content they want without lifting a finger.  

Please note: The Predictive Content block is only available on Pro and Enterprise plans. 

Every one of your contacts has unique preferences that are specific to them.  Contact A may like dogs, while Contact B likes cats. The Predictive Content block in the campaign builder gives you the ability to write multiple messages targeted to the likes of all of your contacts.  All you have to do is drag and drop it into your message.

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How do you use it?

Predictive Content uses natural language processing and turns your segmented emails into a sophisticated marketing engine that can offer customers an individualized experience. You write up to 5 variants of content, load it into your email template, and leave the rest to ActiveCampaign. We’ll send the email variant that each customer is most likely to click on.  

We analyze the emails you send and how your contacts engage with those emails. By doing this, we’re able to determine what tone your contacts prefer. Some may like your formal writing, while some may prefer a more casual message. 

This allows you to do the work of a bigger team.  Most small businesses do not have time to do the same amount of work as a fully-staffed marketing team, however, Predictive Content’s variants can help do that work for you.  

What are the best practices when using Predictive Content?

When writing your variants, you can put the majority of the email text in your blocks.  The more information you include in the variant the better. We can then compare and see exactly what your customers prefer.  

Use as many variants (up to five) as possible to collect more data on the contact and to know what type of content will most likely influence them to take a call-to-action.  Once this is determined, we can better target messaging. 

When using Predictive Content, the contact data is collected from their link click activity.  To best detect this, we want you to have the same call-to-action or redirect link in each variant of the predictive content block.  If there are different links in all versions, contacts may click because they’re answering different call-to-actions, not because of the influential content around the link.  Please note though, the link does not need to live inside the predictive content block.  We also encourage you to continue to use things like personalization tags and conditional content in your campaigns. 

With Predictive Content, there are some important things to note:  

There are more technical things to note when you are using Predictive Content to ensure the most success.  When creating campaigns, you may only use one Predictive Content block per campaign. This works on “Standard” Campaigns and Campaigns in Automations only. 

The block must be a campaign template and is not available with Text Only or HTML.  Non-HTML email templates must be used so the Predictive Content block can be dragged and dropped in.  Lastly, there is not an option to add images in your Predictive Content blocks, that will be coming soon.

Currently, this is only available for customers producing content in English. If a language other than English is passed through the CXA block, the Predictive Content variants will be chosen at random.

One exciting bit of information to know is that Predictive Content is retroactive.  It will take into account past email interaction and activity when determining the correct variant to send to the contact.  

Why would you want to use Predictive Content?

Using the Predictive Content block is going to be extremely useful for your business in a lot of ways! Predictive Content will be the next step toward highly personalized content. While everyone knows it’s important to segment lists and personalize emails with tags, that isn’t going to be as effective as sending an entire message tailored to each individual. 

With the new drag & drop content block, creating variants will allow you to tweak your messaging based on your contacts preferences.  The versions (or variants) can and should still include personalization tactics, such as personalization tags, in fact, we recommend it.  

Predictive Content operates in a way that takes past interactions from contacts and applies them to new content that you are sending out.  Based off of previous clicks, it is using machine learning to determine which content the contact is most likely to interact with and populating that in the content block of the email.  

When you are creating your campaign, you would write between 2-5 variants within the defined content block in the design builder. The Predictive Content variants are put into a vector system and aggregated data predicts which variant they’re most likely to engage with.  

Below, we listed five examples of variants that you can use in your Predictive Content block. These will help guide you as you begin to write your first variants! 

5 examples of variant styles that you can use:

  1. Concise and to the point 
  2. Personalized and lengthier 
  3. Informational and strategic 
  4. Sales-Forward messaging to create urgency 
  5. General blanket message to any audience 

How are you applying this to your business?  Let’s put it into practice and touch on a customer example.  

In our customer case below, we talk through how they applied the variant examples to a real email that they were sending to their contacts.  

Let’s hear from our customer!

As a Career Counselor, I provide people with in-person or online coaching to help them prepare for interviews, applying for new positions and steps when beginning their careers.  Predictive Content has helped me in the success of my emails because I can now tailor my messaging.  

I am able to use variants to communicate with people on the level they best understand.  Most recently, I wrote an email about Cover Letters and thought that this would be a great place to start using the Predictive Content block.  

Sometimes, I find that people want a long-winded explanation on how to write a cover letter.  Others actually prefer to have it short & sweet just highlighting the breakdown of structure and content in a cover letter.  I use those different versions as my first 2 variants.  

Variant three would be more informational on the strategy behind a cover letter.  Why would someone want to write one? Who is going to be reading your cover letter? What are the things that you should be including personally and professionally about yourself in the letter?

While some people look at things from a more strategic and information-heavy perspective, others may respond to more sales-forward messaging.  What buzzwords should I be including in the cover letter to get someone’s attention? How do I write this letter to be less traditional and more as a sales pitch on myself?  This really spoke to my contacts that were looking for a guide but not so heavy on the information behind it.  

Lastly, I wrote a general variant.  Do you want to learn about writing the best cover letter regardless of the job you are applying for? Let’s walk through it right here.  My messaging in my 5th variant was very blanketed to anyone who was just starting out with me, not necessarily sure of what they were looking for in a cover letter.  

With Predictive Content, I have learned how my customers take action in emails and how they prefer to have their message delivered.  Learning how some contacts react quicker to messages that create a sense of urgency helps me understand how to best create my call-to-action in messaging. 

I found that having different variations of wording my emails, specifically this one, using the Predictive Content block helped me to reach all of my customers in the way that they respond to best.  We were able to get the message across to everyone with a delivery that had an impact. While they were all directed to the same link, the content helped influence their engagement in a way that made them feel as though I was providing them with the best information on cover letters.  

With Predictive Content, you are truly able to begin tweaking the right message to the right customer at the right time.  You can start to target your contacts in a way that speaks directly to them and how they process your content. Variants are another amazing way to customize every message for each person to have a unique experience. How will you use Predictive Content?