Overcoming Content Obstacles: The Challenges of Creating Adaptive Content

hurdlesA look into the hurdles ahead in the shift to adaptive content.

Adaptive content is shaping up to be quite the buzzword of 2015. Although the concept of personalized marketing isn’t new, adaptive content takes the user experience to another, unprecedented level. And anytime you break boundaries, you’re bound to run into a few hurdles along the way. But before we get into the challenges, let’s take a brief look at the concept of adaptive content.

The Wheel

Remember personalized junk mail, that obnoxious trick that got you to open up all of those advertisements because the envelope said your name on it instead of “Valued Customer”? And I’m talking about mail here, not even email, but the kind that you open with a letter opener.

Think of that as “the wheel” of personalized marketing. So much potential, yet, so far to go.


Where We’re Headed

Now what the heck is this, you may ask? This flying bicycle is where the crude wheel that was personalized junk mail is going.

We’re talking state-of-the-art, innovative technology meets exciting user experiences, resulting in revenues that marketers salivate over in their dreams. And we’ve grown from obnoxious and creepy to the preferred method of customer-business interaction.

A 2013 Janrain study found that 74 percent of online consumers become frustrated when they are shown content that is irrelevant to their interests. In other words, personalization is here to stay.

The Challenges Ahead: What Businesses Can Expect From Their Bouncing Baby Adaptive Content Strategy

So now that we’ve figured out what customers want, it’s all wine and roses from here, right?

Pardon me while I nearly laugh myself silly before breaking down exactly why wine and roses have pretty much nothing to do with the transition into adaptive content, aside from the fact that you really shouldn’t imbibe while developing a content strategy.

We’re marketers, not Hemingway.



One of the main challenges facing the transition toward adaptive content is that the technology simply doesn’t exist right now for adaptability to function as smoothly as we want.

While there are content management systems out there that can assist in personalization and even translating content to different channels, they generally aren’t at the level at which we want them to be. The solution? Work with what you’ve got.

With the demand in place, the technology will improve, and platforms will be quick to meet the rising demand for an omni-channel experience.

A shift in how we think about content creation

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware that a marketer’s key to success is a well-documented content marketing strategy.

While much of the basics involved in creating a content strategy, such as designing customer personas and developing relevant content for each persona, will remain the skeletal framework for adaptive content, there must be a fundamental shift in the way we think about content.

Instead of trying to steer customers to the marketer’s deliverable of choice, such as a whitepaper or infographic, marketers must create content for a breadth of deliverables that customers are then matched with based on their expressed preferences.

We’re shifting to consumer-oriented content with the aim of delivering a unique experience.


Access to real-time data

Real-time personalization allows for dynamic content that continually evolves to match each expressed preference and interest provided by the consumer.

Adaptive content necessitates the integration of real-time data into a content strategy, but currently,60 percent of marketers struggle to adapt their personalization strategy to real-time metrics, according to a study by Adobe and Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

Privacy issues

This has been an ongoing debate in the realm of personalization and will continue to be controversial as adaptive content kicks in.

Some marketers believe that we shouldn’t use personalized data until the consumer has consciously provided information to the company, while others use anonymous personalization, such as a user’s IP address, to target viewers.

While many consumers may delight in unexpected personalization, marketers also run the risk of the dreaded “creepy” label by personalizing anonymously. Perhaps transparency is the key: Janrain reports that:

77 percent of consumers would trust businesses more if they explained how they used their information to personalize their online experience.

So Let’s Get This Wheel Rolling

We anticipate a surge of technological advancements to meet the needs to adaptive content as marketers work to understand how to conceptualize, develop and navigate the evolving world of content marketing.

The rewards that we’ve already seen from personalization are a hint to what may lie ahead for businesses that adapt content sooner rather than later.

How do you currently personalize your consumer experience? What will you do in 2015 to take the user experience a step further? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments.

Share this: