Norton by Symantec Tries New Tech to Personalize Email Content

Norton by Symantec (Norton) knows that the world of cyber security is a complicated place. So, it’s up to the software security company to educate its customers on the information and products that they need to navigate the world wide web safely. 

“There’s a lot of security information that our customers need to understand in order to keep themselves protected,” says Allen Lee, director of global CRM strategy for Norton.

However, not everyone uses the internet the same way. While Norton has relied on basic email segmentation and articles to communicate relevant content to its customers, Lee says that the company wanted to deliver more personalized information to drive engagement and, ultimately, retention.

“The relevancy of our content is going to be very critical depending on your lifestyle,” he notes.

So, Norton implemented content personalization platform OneSpot this summer and started revamping its email marketing program to create more targeted and contextual experiences.

How it works

By implementing a tag on Norton’s website, OneSpot is able to assign each user an anonymous ID and track his or her behavior to build up a profile, explains Damian Borichevsky, OneSpot’s SVP of business development and customer success. OneSpot can see which articles are trending, for instance, as well as page views. The platform then ties this data to the user’s email.

When it comes time to deploy an email, OneSpot uses this data and its algorithms to populate each email with content that’s relevant to that user. Borichevsky says the platform selects a lead story followed by a few other articles. It also uses a “Netflix model”, he says, to serve content that’s related to what users have consumed in the past. So if a user consumed a story about WiFi security, Borichevsky explains, the platform will include a similar story. He says that the platform also uses natural language processing to identify headlines and keywords that are similar to those featured in previously consumed articles. The email is then deployed through Norton’s ESP.

Initial results

At the time of this interview, Norton had sent only one email newsletter using OneSpot’s technology. For the first email deployment, OneSpot took 11 different articles and assigned various combinations to the newsletter. The emails were then deployed to a million and a half people, according to Borichevsky, and the results were “fairly flat.”

However, Borichevsky says that OneSpot customers typically see a 20 to 35% lift in click-to-open rate with time — getting people to scroll beyond the lead story and read the complementary content. For instance, a CPG brand experienced a 22.5% lift in click-to-open rate and a grocery retailer drove a 29.2% lift in click-to-open rate when compared to a control group. 

In terms of future plans, Borichevsky says that OneSpot likes to do an A/B test after 10 deployments that compares email performance results between newsletters automatically populated with content and newsletters populated with hand-selected content. Lee says Norton is also hoping to increase the frequency of its email deployments from monthly to biweekly now that the brand doesn’t have to rely on manual segmentation.

“There’s a lot of operation work behind it,” Lee says in regards to the manual segmentation.

As for what personalization means to him, Lee says that it means serving the right content to the right person based on individual need, and Borichevsky seems to agree.  

“It’s really about making a true one-to-one decision,” he says.

Correction August 1, 2017: The statistics featured in the second paragraph under “Initial Results” represent lifts in click-to-open rates, not the actual click-to-open rates themselves as previously noted. The story has been updated as a result.

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