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Acquia.com Gets a Boost from Lift 3

Previously in this series, Gigi Anderson, Senior Marketing Communications Specialist at Acquia, talked about the content migration for website redesign. Catch up and read Gigi's blog, here.

At the outset of our site redesign project, there were a few core principles we vowed to stick to. One of the biggest undertakings, but arguably most important, was to utilize as many of our own products as possible. Not all of our tools would have a practical application on the site, but some of them, such as Acquia Lift, would help us to deliver a superior digital experience on par with what we already deliver for our customers.

Lift is our personalization tool, which aims to deliver contextual content throughout a user’s journey. It captures data from users who are visiting your site, and sends that data into Profile Manager - the data warehouse that stores all user information and analytics data. Although Lift 3 is more robust and user-friendly than ever, it hasn’t always been the belle of the ball.

Historical challenges with Lift 2

With Acquia.com running on Drupal 7, we experienced some challenges with Lift 2. The campaign building process was a manual one, and while the workflow was logical, it felt clunky and stale. The interface was functional and helped us to achieve personalization goals, but it was a lengthy process to build new campaigns. Logged-in users also experienced poor performance, which meant that we often had functionality turned off on Acquia.com.

Lift 2 was built with many different Drupal modules and sub-modules, so it was entirely Drupal-dependent. In order to deploy a new campaign, you’d have to build out the segments and parameters ahead of time, before previewing your work on the live site. Any changes made would require the campaign to be paused, before going into the backend, updating parameters, and then previewing again. It was a workable process, but far from ideal.

Improvements we’re looking forward to in Lift 3

With our shiny new site running on Drupal 8 and with Lift functionality completely overhauled, the game changes dramatically. It’s amazing the difference a new interface makes, and that’s precisely what is at the core of the new and improved Lift. Where the build and deploy process for new campaigns lived separately from the live website in Lift 2, you can now edit live on page in Lift 3. Where campaigns used to take anywhere from 30-60 minutes to build, they can now be done in a matter of seconds.

Another highlight is the Experience Builder – an Ember application that sits as a sidebar console on top of your site, allowing real-time changes to be made to personalization segments and rules. This also means that it can be used on any site, Drupal or non-Drupal.

Any content in your CMS can be built and stored in Experience Builder, where it can be reused indefinitely anywhere on your site. Experience Builder has drag-and-drop functionality, and can easily toggle between rules to show you exactly what a given user will see.

Rules – formerly known as campaigns – are new for Lift 3, and are composed of three distinct components:

  1. User segment (a specified user group)
  2. Piece of content you’d like the given segment to see
  3. Slot on the page where you’d like the content to go (like the header, for example)

Rules are easy to define, and you can create as many rules as you need for your site. Some site visitors will fall into more than one segment (which is the first defining parameter of a rule), so you can set priority rules to ensure visitors always see the most accurate content. For Acquia.com this is especially important, because we often have fresh new content that we want users to consume as soon as it’s available.

Lift 3 is also lightning fast, loading personalized content within milliseconds, so the user can barely perceive any change in content delivery.

Acquia’s personalization goals for the future

Lift 3 will be an integral tool as we rollout the new site. With so many big changes all happening at once, we’ll ramp up slowly, and get comfortable with all the new and different functionality that this tool has to offer.

There are several different ways we plan to use Lift on Acquia.com, including A/B testing for page elements like banners, personalization by geographic area, and content recommendations based on user attributes, just to name a few. We’re excited to see where Lift 3 can take us, and we’ll be sure to report back on our findings as we dig in.

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