How Progressive Profiling Helps Build Rich Audience Segments

Progressive profiling is a method of gradually acquiring zero- and first-party data from your users and slowly piecing together detailed audience profiles using those insights. It allows you to collect data when it’s most relevant to the needs of your business.

In an era built upon the exchange of digital information, consumers expect websites to provide highly personalized experiences. They want to see content that appeals to their interests. Personalized and localized content transforms a passive user into a repeat visitor. Over time, repeat visitors can become valuable subscribers with extensive lifetime value that helps grow the size and scope of your publishing business.

Why use progressive profiling

Progressive profiling is an effective tactic to create personalized experiences that increase brand loyalty among users. Progressive profiling cements the trust gap between brand and consumer, allowing you to prove your understanding of audience interests and your determination to provide the types of experiences that appeal to those interests. Without building trust, you can’t establish those lifelong relationships with your customers.

Progressive profiling avoids overwhelming your users

By using progressive profiling as a data acquisition strategy, you can collect bits and pieces of information about your users over a period of time. Rather than subject your audience to long, seemingly intrusive forms, ask for user names and contact details early in their journey with you. As they become more acquainted with your content, you can use other tactics like surveys, questionnaires or pop-up forms for special offers to gather additional details.

The benefit of a progressive profiling strategy is that it allows you to create your audience profiles without bombarding users with aggressive data acquisition techniques. The process is spread out over time, allowing people to comfortably and naturally share their information.

Eliminate the need for repetitive fields on your forms with progressive profiling

One of the most annoying experiences for users is to be asked the same questions again and again. Progressive profiling avoids this by targeting users based on their history with your website. If a user has provided details like their name and email address in an earlier visit, they won’t be asked those questions on future visits. Instead, the forms will ask for more details about things like their favorite topics to read about. In some cases, you might even profile your contributing authors and ask users to select their favorite writers.

Create targeted offers that appeal to your audience profiles with progressive profiling 

Using progressive profiling, you can match the offers on your website to the interests represented by people who fit into those profiles and segments. For example, if your site is an online bridal magazine, you can promote an offer for a special destination wedding based on the data used to build that profile. Similarly, you can promote a contest to win a free off-road vehicle if you manage a digital outdoor sporting magazine.

Each of these progressive profiling tactics provides a practical way to both personalize and monetize the content you publish on your website. By promoting the right offers to the right people, you increase the chances that users will click and take advantage of those offers. As a result, you appease your advertising partners and increase potential revenue for all parties involved.

How privacy protection laws influence progressive profiling

When the European Union passed the GDPR, it was one of the first major pieces of legislation that placed the onus on companies to safely acquire, store and manage personal consumer data. It had a significant impact on how companies acquire user data, resulting in the pending demise of third-party cookies as search engines retire those practices in favor of more honest and compliant tactics.

Progressive profiling helps you segment both zero- and first-party data to build enriched audience profiles. Zero-party data is data a consumer intentionally shares with your company via form fills, survey responses and any preferences they select while engaging with your website. First-party data is behavioral data that your brand collects as users interact with different pages across your website. Both zero- and first-party data comply with privacy protection laws like the EU’s GDPR or California’s CCPA, and they’ve become invaluable pieces of data as third-party data is retired by search engines.

By adopting progressive profiling as your data acquisition strategy, you’ll incrementally create rich behavioral audience profiles that you can use to improve how you personalize your website, distribute advertising space and monetize your content, all in service of achieving higher revenue to fuel the growth of your business.