Adaptive Content is a content strategy technique designed to support an omnipresence on different channels and interactions between users and these channels. It is content that is conceived, planned and developed around the customers and their interests, mood, and goals. Content is adaptive if it is published or advertised on all channels and users can interact with this type of content in their everyday life world both online and offline.
Behind the creation of adaptive content is the diversification of distribution channels and, consequently, the way users or prospective clients interact with content on these channels. Internet searches are increasingly conducted using mobile devices and answers to navigational queries have been adaptable for some time. Thus, company websites that have integrated information, such as Google Maps or iPhone maps, can show users where they can find what they are looking for and assist them in finding their way there.
Even Google search is adaptive in some ways. Depending on what kind of search query a user has entered, information which assist users is displayed directly through features such as the Knowledge Graph, or the representation of structured data. Adaptive content, however, goes far beyond the provision of information. Added value of content and taking into account various scenarios in which users may find themselves are of particular importance. The content is ideally adapted for each scenario, exploiting all technical options and satisfying the user’s needs as best as possible.
The basis for adaptive content is content with specific characteristics. These can be reduced to some key elements for a better understanding. The model used in this case is called COPE: Create Once, Publish Everywhere.
An example to illustrate adaptive content: A mobile device user is located at a specific geographical location, such as a store. He looks up information on a mobile optimized website about the company, a product or service offered there. The content is adaptive if it includes the geographic location and takes into account how the user does his search. Can that user buy a product right there with his mobile device, pay for it electronically, and then get the product sent home, since he has other scheduled appointments already? If the mobile website or shopping app offers such functions, all the conditions of adaptive content will be fulfilled.
The channel on which the content can be found is not the most important factor here, but the level of interaction that the content offers. When a user is at the point of sale, he is presented with different ways to interact. He can, for example, take the product home directly, order it online or leave a review on the company and his customer experience directly. In practice, adaptive content is published through various channels, is used for different purposes (for example, to solicit feedback or to sell a product) and results in substantial user interaction.
Adaptive content will likely be a trend in 2015. The overriding strategy of content marketing does not begin with the publishing platform. It begins well before that stage with content creation. Such content is not only useful for users, but it also adapts to different channels and use scenarios. The starting point is the user and his/her different desires, expectations and needs. Similar to a customer-centric approach, users are the starting point of all activities.
If the content can anticipate user questions, the effects are likely to show immediately. Adaptive content can increase interaction with users and customers significantly. Some side effects of the interactions may be recommendations by other users and an altered perception of the company. The feedback has a positive effect on the confidence of potential customers and the technical possibilities of interaction are evidence of a high degree of innovation. Especially in technical industries, this can be a competitive advantage.