Creating Personalized Experiences with Acquia Lift

June 12, 2019 | Caroline Habrowski
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Personalization online is nothing less than a digital imperative. As face-to-face experiences dwindle, it stands to reason that personalized digital experiences have filled that void — and become the expectation rather than the exception. For websites, delivering customized digital experiences based on a visitor's unique characteristics and browsing behavior has been shown — time and time again — to improve engagement metrics and increase conversion rates. 

As tools have evolved, the ways that we personalize content and the types of content that we can personalize have also changed. For Drupal users, Acquia Lift has been instrumental in eliminating one-size-fits-all solutions and enabling marketers to speak directly to individuals in order to address their unique needs.  

Acquia Lift is a marketing solution that enables you to segment your audiences to deliver personalized experiences across any channel or device. Optimized for Drupal, it allows you to take customer data and customize content distribution to cater to your target audience’s specific wants and needs.

Launched in 2014, Acquia Lift adoption has continued to grow to this day, with improvements to the creation process making it easier to implement and deliver value.  As a central component of many of our enterprise clients’ digital transformation strategies, understanding the core concepts comes down to three main areas of focus: personalized content, site placement, and targeting users.

Furthering their commitment to continual improvement, Acquia announced an "all-new Acquia Lift" in June 2019, introducing a redesigned interface, a streamlined personalization experience, and better reporting and analytics, all optimized to make it easier for marketers to get value out of the tool. 

Customizing Content to Use With Acquia Lift

Acquia Lift lets you deliver users’ preferred content and experiences at the right time and place using up-to-the-minute information. This is all possible based on how Acquia Lift integrates with the CMS. Acquia Lift’s Drupal integration results in richer data collection and simpler content creation for personalization, given the overlap between the platforms. When you are already creating your content in Drupal, Acquia Lift leverages the work done at the content creation stage to collect better data, render content more effectively, and deliver the right content to the right user. 

Once a piece of content is created in Drupal, it’s automatically available in several different view modes. Whether your custom content is a hero banner, full-page display, teaser with a thumbnail, or content block, you only have to create a piece of content once, and then it can be used for personalization. 

Once Acquia Lift is configured properly, website authors can continue to create and maintain relevant content as always. This allows for familiarity, flexibility, and accessibility in authoring and personalizing content. The low barriers of entry equate to a particularly positive experience for developers in the space.

Audience Targeting with Acquia Lift

After determining what content to create, the next step is to make sure you can show that to a specific group of people, which Lift calls segments. Within the Acquia Lift interface, you’ll create segments to categorize visitors into different buckets. The ability to segment and select groups of people or individuals is the backbone to personalization. Defining the right segments allows you to target and personalize what they see and interact with on the website.

screen shot of Acquia Lift segment criteria

Like most other tools, there are various ways to create segments — from a combination of different sources. Information about the user can be utilized, like browser information, location information, and more. From the information collected about the user, you can also pull in past behavior on the website, preferences for content, and even custom information that is captured or uploaded.

You can also use information about how a person arrived on your site, pulling in URL parameters, referral information, and more. Lastly, you can segment using information about your site. A huge benefit to using Acquia Lift is that it can natively pull in existing taxonomy around content and pages from Drupal, allowing you to personalize content to users who have engaged with certain categories or page types you’ve previously defined.

Implementing Personalization with Acquia Lift 

Instead of having to use a third-party application with its own complete interface and API to target content to your customers, Acquia Lift features a collection of modules that integrate tightly with Drupal, allowing you to leverage the Drupal skills and knowledge you’ve developed from maintaining your website. This one-time setup to connect the two enables the next part: adding personalization to your site.

screen grab of the Acquia Lift Chrome Extension

Powered by an easy-to-use Chrome extension, you’ll define and utilize personalizations areas on your website called slots. For instance, if you’re going to be showing different versions of a module on the homepage — you would select that section of the site to enable the different variations you’d like to show. Defining slots can often be done without any custom development work, using CSS selectors, though, with the right planning, these can also be built directly into page templates.

Once slots are designated on the page, segments are defined in the interface, and custom content is created in Drupal, you’ll combine all these together to create rules. Again, using the Chrome extension, you’ll select the segment that should see the personalization, then drag and drop the custom content into the appropriate slot. Each rule contains information about what content to show, where on the page it should appear, and who should see it.

Changes with Acquia Lift Version 4

Your experience adding personalization to your site will vary based on the version of Lift that you're using. For instance, if you're working with the latest version announced in June 2019, you'll instead create slots directly in the interface without a Chrome extension. Additionally, you'll have the ability to place slots on the page using "Point and Click" functionality, to help make the process easier. Other small changes were introduced to the editing process, for instance, instead of dragging and dropping content, you'll click to add content to a particular slot.

Also introduced with the Lift Version 4 is the concept of Campaigns - an intuitive combination of the previous concepts of Rules, Segments, and Goals that improve organization with the interface, makes cross-site personalization campaigns easier to launch, and introduces scheduling for personalization and A/B tests.

Data-Driven Personalization with Acquia Lift 

The concepts here are very similar to other personalization tools, but the benefit of using Acquia Lift with your existing Drupal site is truly unparalleled, given the tight integration. In a short time, personalization becomes a very real and tangible component of your strategy with the right tools at your hands. Experiences can be created and maintained.

Acquia Lift can help ease the implementation process and facilitate a sustainable solution to manage personalization using existing processes. To have a single solution that can deliver experiences at the right time and place — is invaluable in driving engagement, conversions, and loyalty.

If you have access to the product, we would encourage you to jump in and begin exploring. Acquia offers detailed product documentation and hands-on demonstrations. In our experience with clients, the right time to start talking about personalization is as early as possible when building a new site. By purposefully creating ample opportunities to alter the user experience from the initial concepts, you can empower your teams to begin thinking about users and creating relevant content concurrent to website development.

While it’s becoming a more common practice to tailor online experiences by catering to the interests and passions of a target audience, we realize that aligning on a personalization strategy is easier said than done. To learn more about getting started, see how we’re uncovering moments that lead to conversion with Acquia and learn more about Acquia's Crawl, Walk, Run approach to help get you started on your road to personalization.