How Crafter CMS Does Personalization

When it comes to digital marketing in 2021, personalization is critical for remaining competitive. In fact, 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences. Many CMS solutions, however, fail to make personalization and content targeting easy for marketing teams.

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at how Crafter CMS and its main two subsystems, Crafter Engine and Crafter Studio, work together to deliver highly personalized digital experiences that drive business results. Crafter Studio is the content authoring platform, while Crafter Engine is the content delivery platform. As a decoupled CMS, personalized content that is managed within Crafter Studio is published out to Crafter Engine delivery nodes, which handle the delivery of personalized end user experiences.

Crafter CMS: How Content Targeting Works

Crafter CMS — built atop a distributed Git-based repository — balances a unique blend of static and dynamic site capabilities that leads to greater performance without compromising on features. Content in the repository is stored as XML and other static files, which allows it to be targeted to different channels and end user personas easily. XML makes for straightforward language translation as well, to target content for various regions and locales.

Crafter Engine, wherever it’s deployed around the world, ingests content published from Crafter Studio in a truly decoupled manner. Upon ingest, Crafter Engine indexes the content to create an in-memory representation of the content that’s easily searchable. This drives dynamic behavior, and when combined with the Crafter’s targeting engine, can deliver personalized experiences.

But how does Crafter Engine know which content to target which audience? That’s where Crafter Studio comes in.

Creating Personalized Experiences In Crafter Studio

Let’s take a closer look at how site administrators and content authors can work with the targeting engine within Crafter Studio. We’ll cover the targeting configuration, tagging content for targeting, and previewing sites for specific user personas or attributes. But first, we cover the most common form of personalization - content localized to a specific language.

Localized Content

For global organizations, language-based localization is one of the most common forms of personalization. That’s why Crafter CMS makes it straightforward to deliver content translated into multiple languages without much effort. Once site administrators enable targeting within Crafter, the system will search for localized content within the repository in a hierarchical fashion.

Crafter, for example, will attempt to resolve and deliver localized content if the user is browsing from a specified country, or based on the user’s preference (if known). If and only if there isn’t any localized content, then the system will fallback to the default language.

During the content creation process, Crafter Studio provides the hooks to integrate with 3rd party language translation services (whether automated or manual). Translated content may also be run through approval workflows prior to publishing.

Configuring Content Targeting

Crafter CMS provides an intuitive administrator user interface (UI) to configure the content targeting and personalization system. Through this admin UI, taxonomy properties of any type may be defined which will drive content targeting. Properties may change the way pages, components, search, and services respond during a Crafter Engine user session that delivers content to a site visitor. Once the taxonomy properties are defined, content authors are then able to tag content with these properties during the content creation and editing process.

Tagging Content

When creating new pages, components, or any other content type within Crafter Studio, content authors are able to tag the content item with the targeting properties that have been configured for that content type. Tagging can be as simple as selecting checkboxes within the metadata section of a content item’s authoring form.

For example, if a content item should be targeted based on the site visitors gender, then simply selecting male or female for that content item will target it accordingly. Pages, components on a page, header/footer components, even the navigation menu items may all be targeted content to deliver a personalized experience to the end user.

Previewing Personalized Experiences

As content items are tagged for targeting, Crafter Studio has preview capabilities that allow content authors to preview the entire experience for each user persona on any digital channel. Within Crafter Studio’s preview environment, a content author may use the targeting user interface to select a user persona, and/or each combination of taxonomy properties, to see exactly what each end user would see in the live content delivery environment before they publish.

The same personalized preview capability may be used by content reviewers within the publishing workflow, again prior to publishing to the live production environment. Crafter Studio provides a complete authoring and personalization environment for creating, tagging, previewing, and optimizing personalized experiences.

Developer Features for Content Targeting

Crafter Engine provides a complete developer environment for scripting the dynamic features that may be used to deliver personalized, targeted content to end users. In particular, the Groovy scripting language may be used to build and update the content targeting rules.

Custom targeted content attributes can be configured by implementing the TargetIdManager class provided by Crafter Engine’s developer environment. On the live site, Crafter Engine tracks all configured properties as defined by the content authors, and as users visit the website, it dynamically delivers the targeted content based on the site visitors actual attributes.

Crafter Profile

Crafter Profile, an optional subsystem within Crafter CMS, enables web developers to build user login and profile management features for websites. User profile data may then be used by content authors to target content. Crafter Profile is a good choice when your enterprise has no readily available user data store or customer data platform that would be needed to drive content targeting and personalization.

Crafter Profile stores user attributes and other data securely it its underlying MongoDB database, and provides an admin console for managing this information. The module streamlines the process for gathering user information that can drive personalization and content targeting.

DevContentOps and Optimizing Personalization

As building and optimizing personalized experiences is most often an iterative process, Crafter CMS’s unique support for the DevContentOps process is quite useful. For example, as new content targeting rules are tried and tested within developer environments, immediate access to production content is critical.

Crafter CMS makes this seamless, even within across a variety of environments and within it decoupled architecture. Unlike the bottlenecks imposed by traditional CMSs and SaaS-only CMSs, content authors and developers can seamlessly work together without any technical friction to deliver optimal personalized experiences.

Crafter CMS: Personalization at Scale

Personalization can’t be ignored in 2021 and beyond, yet both legacy CMSs and most of the newer headless CMS solutions aren’t up to the task. Crafter CMS, however, has a powerful content targeting capabilities that empower both marketing teams to configure and optimize highly personalized digital experiences, and for developer teams to build and easily deploy the dynamic features needed to deliver those experiences at planet-scale.

Content authors are able to target pages, components, and any type of content to specific audiences and personas. Crafter Engine can track the location or other custom attributes of site visitors to drive the content targeting engine. And this can all be created, tested, edited and optimized within the Crafter Studio live preview interface.

Crafter CMS delivers personalized content at scale so that brands can ensure they publish the right content, to the right audiences, at the right time.

To learn more about Crafter CMS, download our White Paper “Building and Optimizing Multi-Channel Digital Experiences” now.
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Posted by Amanda Cunningham

Amanda Cunningham is an enthusiastic and driven digital media authority with a diverse background working on digital teams within agency, education, technology, recreation, and hotels. Amanda graduated with honors from McDaniel College with a Bachelor of Arts in History. In her free time, Amanda can be found spending time with family and friends, practicing her guitar skills, or reading a book on the couch with her three kitties.

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