As publishers strive to compete for users with the ever-growing torrent of content available online, it has become increasingly important to know your users and to personalize their experiences. Recently, publishers are supercharging the user experience, content discoverability, sales, marketing, and decision-making through Zero- & First-Party Affinities.

Personalizing your platform has myriad benefits

There are many benefits to personalizing your platform. By incorporating personalization into your platform's features and related data into your business strategy, you can:

  • Improve the user experience: By providing content relevant to their interests, your site can make it easy for users to find content that interests them and get the most out of the content you publish. 
  • Boost research efficiency + productivity: By serving users with relevant content, you can make it easier for researchers to find the right content to jumpstart their work.
  • Increase user engagement + build loyalty: Users are more likely to feel connected to brands that anticipate and understand their needs and serve them with helpful content. According to recent research, 66% of consumers expect brands to understand their needs and expectations, and 52% expect businesses to personalize their offers. Personalization keeps users coming back to your site time and time again and makes it more likely that they will share your content with others.
  • Grow sales + conversion rates: It seems like a no-brainer, but users are more likely to purchase content that is relevant to them.
  • Increase the effectiveness of your marketing + advertising (and save money at the same time): Targeted and personalized marketing campaigns are more effective than generic ones. Using zero-party affinity data to segment your user lists enables you to design targeted marketing campaigns that deliver more bang for your valuable marketing buck.
  • Make better business decisions: Analyzing your user data is a great way to learn more about your users' interests and notice opportunities to develop new products, launch new marketing campaigns, or create new content geared towards a specific topic.
In short, publishers using personalization and leveraging personalization data can use this information to level up their approaches to user engagement and overall business strategy.

Zero- and First-Party Affinities

User affinity services proactively capture user interests and passively collect user browsing behavior to tailor the user's site experience and generate custom alerts. As a part of these services, Silverchair offers optional reporting on first-party and zero-party interests, which yields insights about users to help drive product development and improve reader + author engagement.

The services are built from publisher-specified categories and taxonomies, negating the need to work with a third party that would require licensing and implementation costs.

Before I tell you more about the features, though, let's start with some definitions:

  • First-party data is information a company collects directly from its customers and owns. When referring to First-Party Affinities, we refer to information about the user's interests based on their browsing behavior and engagement with the publisher site, which the User Affinities Recommendation widget uses to make informed content recommendations.
  • Zero-party data is information that users voluntarily and deliberately make available. When referring to Zero-Party Affinities, we refer to information about the user's interests that authenticated users have proactively declared. Zero-party affinities are particularly useful because they're accurate and actionable: your customers gave you this information proactively, so you know it's reliable, and they did so expecting you to use it to personalize their experience and your services. Additionally, giving users more control and ownership over their experiences on the platform increases their trust in your brand and content, especially in today's climate where data privacy is paramount.

Zero-Party Affinities

Zero-Party Affinities features hinge on an individual user's ability to declare their interests. After collecting this data from users, publishers can recommend content to users and send alerts based on the user's self-selected interests.

  • Users can use a new "My Interests" page in My Account to select and deselect their interests, opt in and out of email alerts based on their interests, and set the frequency of emails (weekly, biweekly, or monthly).
  • Publishers can place the User Affinity Recommendations widget on content pages to show users recommended content based on the Subjects and Taxonomies in which they have declared an interest, increasing the stickiness of your site and encouraging users to explore your other content. Users can also tailor their interests directly from within this widget.
  • Publishers may also download optional Publisher Reports describing the zero-party affinities their users have defined.

First-Party Affinities

First-Party Affinity data is collected passively based on user browsing behavior. This data can be used to show recommendations to users even if they're not authenticated.

  • When the First-Party Affinities service is enabled, a front-end widget shows recommendations to users based on the Subjects and Taxonomies of the content they browsed in their session.
  • Publishers may also download optional Publisher Reports describing their users' first-party affinities based on the content users browsed.

By carefully considering the needs of your users and leveraging the data you already have, you can tailor your platform and content to deliver the personalized features that users want, making your platform more enjoyable for your users and beneficial for your business.

Want to learn more about this feature? Contact the Silverchair team!

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