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How to Massively Personalize Your Website With Janrain

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Welcome back to Marketing Marvels! Here today is Jamie Beckland, Vice President of Product at an amazing company called Janrain. Today’s audiences expect top-notch, tailored experiences wherever they encounter your brand online. Janrain allows you to craft those customized experiences with exceptional accuracy and across multiple channels. Forget hit-or-miss, third-party data—Janrain goes straight to the […]

Welcome back to Marketing Marvels! Here today is Jamie Beckland, Vice President of Product at an amazing company called Janrain.
Today’s audiences expect top-notch, tailored experiences wherever they encounter your brand online. Janrain allows you to craft those customized experiences with exceptional accuracy and across multiple channels. Forget hit-or-miss, third-party data—Janrain goes straight to the user, so you can serve up more relevant ads, offer content suggestions, and build trust in your brand.
Ready to see what Janrain can do? Watch Jamie’s demo in the video below!

Jay: Hey, guys. It’s Jay Baer from Convince & Convert and welcome to another edition of Marketing Marvels, the technology show where I find amazing marketing tools in tech and recommend them to you, the busy marketer because you know what you don’t want to do? Have to try to figure out which of the like 16,000 marketing software applications make sense for your business. I’m going to do that for you.
That’s what this show is all about. I do all the research. I figure out what’s awesome and when I find something awesome, I bring it to you right here on Marketing Marvels. Each of these episodes is a short demo and a short conversation with somebody who runs one of these companies that produces excellent software.
Today I’m super-excited to be joined by my friend, Jamie Beckland, who is the Vice President of Product at a company called Janrain. Janrain and I have worked together for a long time. Jamie and I have worked together for a long time, for years and years. What they do over there is amazing. A lot of the really cool stuff you see on websites where you get a very, very relevant super-customized, highly personalized experience is based on data and systems that Janrain brings to the surface.
It allows you to really figure out what your customers want not in aggregate, not in average, but at the individual level and then customize and tailor an online experience just for that one person. It’s pretty amazing. You’ve got to see it to believe it. You’re going to see it in just a second here on Marketing Marvels. Jamie, thanks so much for being on the show.
Jamie: Thanks, Jay. It’s good to be here. I really appreciate that you’re putting this series together. I’m, of course, really excited that we have another opportunity to talk about some of the cool stuff that we’re seeing. Some of the cool stuff that we’re seeing marketers do in their own ecosystem and their own stack and kind of walk through a little bit of how it all comes together today.
Jay: Well, and it is just a little bit too because your platform, Jamie, does a lot of different things. There are tons of different use cases for it. So, we’re only going to get a little bit of the surface today, just a few minutes and a couple of examples of how it might work, but you should know out there, folks, that it does a lot more. You need to do a full demo of Janrain to really understand how it works and what it can do for your business. But we’re going to give you a little taste of the good stuff here today on Marketing Marvels. Are you ready to jump into a short demo?
Jamie: Yeah. Let’s do it. Let me share my screen here. All right. Can you see that?
Jay: Yeah. It looks great.
Jamie: Great. So, what we’re going to walk through today is an example of how Janrain’s identity platform can help support bringing new customers into your owned and operated properties and then delivering back a customized experience that’s just for them. So, here we have a website that’s a content website. It’s a news website. Let’s say I’m interested in this article about Russia and Syria. Of course, it’s a really fascinating topic.
The first thing that we noticed over here on the right side is just a really simple example of how you can start bringing in some of the engagement and conversation that’s happening in the broader social ecosystem and bring it back to your website to kind of support the primary rail here. You have all of the content from the . . . But now we have some mentions of content in the article that’s trending on Twitter. You can see some examples of that there.
Jay: Is that like a widget that Janrain provides that pulls those hashtags into the article?
Jamie: Right. That’s exactly right. That’s totally customizable, the look and feel and what content it’s pulling. Here we’re just pulling two hashtags, one for Syria and one for the UN. So, it’s a really simple way to pull content from Twitter, content from Instagram, other locations out on the wider web and bring them back into your site to show that the content that you’re talking about in this article is relevant and there’s a conversation happening about it.
So, that’s sort of a teaser, but then obviously the article itself is where the meat of the story is. And of course, that’s something that you want to get your audience to participate in too. So, I’m just going to leave a comment here. Of course when you go to leave a comment, I’m going to post it on the website and it’s going to prompt me to login. So, here you see the opportunity for the user to create an account or login with an existing account that they already have.
So, obviously we’ve all been in a position where we’ve left a comment on a website before. But I think one of the opportunities we see that’s most meaningful is to take that comment and start to collect some data about who this user is. On the top you see two options to login with Facebook and Twitter. Of course, those are just example options. Janrain supports more than 30 different identity providers on our platform.
So, whether you have a Russian presence and want to support VK. If you’re an image sharing website and want to support logging in with Instagram, all of those are available on the platform. Or we also support the idea of creating a username and password. Most people if they have a choice, they don’t want to do that anymore. How many passwords have you forgotten in the last month? For me it’s probably about a dozen.
Jay: Well, it’s just faster too, right? It’s quicker to click one button than to type all that stuff in. Even though you support 30-some logins, didn’t you tell me at one point that the preponderance of people still select or prefer Facebook as their kind of login system?
Jamie: I see a lot of consumers preferring login with Facebook. That Facebook ID does a good job of articulating what data is going to be shared with the website you’re logging into. Of course, everybody’s logged into Facebook across multiple devices. It becomes a really convenient way for the user, for the audience to be able to login quickly. It’s very popular and common there.
But what we also see is that different identity providers are useful in different contexts. So, if you want to promote a hashtag battle or some voting or polling that’s going to go to Twitter, it’s a good opportunity to connect the Twitter ID in and start collecting multiple identities into one user account.
Jay: Yeah. That’s a really good point. I didn’t really think of that. But ask people to login using the system that’s going to best allow you to do what you want to do down the road, not at this maybe exact snapshot in time.
Jamie: Exactly. For this example, we’re just going to login with Facebook. I’m going to login with my Facebook account. You can see it’s processing that login with Facebook, returning you back to the website, processing that authentication. Then you can see boom, I’m logged in. You can see my username. Boom. I already have an account created and then if we scroll down, you can see that my comment has been left on the site.
So, you know, we’ve all seen this before. We’ve all experienced commenting on the web for a long time. You’ve probably even used social login as a user. But I think one of the most powerful aspects from a marketing perspective is to understand what the data is that we’re capturing about that user and how we can really take that data and make use of it.
So, let’s just continue navigating over across the rest of the website. I’m particularly interested in the lifestyle section. Here I see an article for Sam Smith. He released a new theme song for the new James Bond film “Spectre.” Over on the white rail, you can see I have this beautiful bottle of Belvedere vodka. You can see that’s a 007-branded bottle. It’s part of a promotion for the new James Bond film also.
So, this Belvedere ad unit was rendered for me. And I kind of want to walk through how we got to the point of making that customized ad recommendation for this particular user and expose some of how that equation happens.
Jay: That ad appeared for you because the site knows some things about you. It’s not as if every person who went through this page and read this Sam Smith article is going to see that particular Belvedere ad. The ad itself was dynamically inserted based on what the site knows about you as an individual.
Jamie: Yeah. That’s right. I think it’s one of the most powerful connection points, right, of Janrain into the rest of your digital infrastructure is that we see this conversation around personalized experiences being more and more important to your customers, but we don’t have very good tools today to be able to realize that potential. Right? So, this is one of those ways you start to integrate Janrain into a variety of touchpoints, so your website, your mobile app, other places. Now all of a sudden you can start to deliver this kind of personalized content, personalized advertising and personalized experiences anywhere the customer goes.
So, how did we get to this recommendation? Well, the first thing that I want to show you is the context of the user profiles. So, this is the actual record for my profile here in the database. You can see we’re capturing a lot of data about who this user is and we’re writing it into the Janrain database. This is the details of my Facebook ID and a bunch of details about the things I care about that all came from Facebook.
So, I just want to flip over to Facebook and show you my Facebook profile for one second. This is a list of all the pages that I’ve liked. You can see here that some of the pages that I’ve like include Samsung, some brands that you probably recognize. I’m also a fan of James Bond and I’m also a fan of Stoli vodka. You can see there are a whole bunch of things. You’ve probably liked a couple hundred pages in your own profile.
Go back to the Janrain profile. You can see the details of the pages that I’ve liked actually starting to insert into the profile on your website. So, here we have the fact that I’m a James Bond fan, Samsung. We also saw Stoli vodka and others.
So, what we’re seeing here is you have this really, really rich set of data now to start to understand the psychographics of the user. It’s much more reliable than our traditional demographic characteristics or third party data attributes because its first party as declared from the user and it’s a lot richer information for us to be able to provide personalization for.
So, obviously what we see here is a lot of granular information. As you might imagine, it’s really difficult to say if somebody has liked a certain page on Facebook, how do I really get that into a context where I’m able to personalize and ad against it? That’s where our segmentation capability comes in so useful. So, I’m going to look for the segment . . . to see what we’ve done when the user logs in in real time.
We take the data payload from Facebook, from Twitter, from other identity providers that you might be supporting and we run it against some common segments that marketers use every day, so things like metropolitan statistical area. This is the location of the user, age ranges, what continent, whether they’re employed or not, what generation they fall into, etc.
And you can see I have one custom field that’s setup for my own website, which is whether the user falls into the Belvedere campaign. So, this is some basic logic to say look, if the user has liked any of the James Bond fan pages or if the user has liked any of the competing brands of vodka or if they’re into a segment that says they’re part of the Belvedere campaign.
Once I have that data in the profile, now when the user logs in, you can see when I go back to the website that that’s how we made the connection to be able to show the right ad to the right user.
Jay: And it wouldn’t just have to be ads. It can be other types of content as well, right, Jamie? I can insert particular modules or different photos or different news stories. I can do a lot of things with that content if I wanted to.
Jamie: Yeah. That’s right. I think one of the most powerful aspects of this discussion is around what we’re seeing being personalized. Often times these different pieces of the digital marketing infrastructure, they use different tools and technology and each one has a separate connection to the customer. What Janrain is doing is we come in and we unify that understanding of the customer so that whether it’s an ad unit, whether it’s a piece of the mobile app, a piece of your website, whether it’s on your Apple Watch, wherever it is, you have the same data, same experiences.
Jay: And kind of stitch it all together in wherever that person may be, right? That’s a really important point that even if somebody’s using the mobile app or multiple versions of your website or maybe you’ve got special campaign-driven micro-sites, etc., if you install Janrain as sort of a single source of identity across the board, then you’re going to be able to follow that customer wherever in your ecosystem they are and serve up these super personalized experiences in each of those places. It’s not just we know this on the website. If you know it, you know it in all the places that customer appears, which is a pretty interesting opportunity, I think.
Jamie: Yeah. That’s right. I think when we see the amount of data that’s being collected from each one of these channels and kind of consolidating it together, the other thing that often comes up is what about the privacy aspects of this conversation because what you’re doing is you’re starting to collect data from multiple [inaudible 00:13:42] you’re getting it together.
We take that really seriously. That’s why everything that you were able to see in the demo is all opt-in experience. The user has the ability to “yes, share this data,” “yes, share it from the identity provider,” “yes, agree to these terms of service,” “yes, agree to the private policy.” And I’ll just share the edit profile screen because we have a pretty rich preference management center attached to the product as well.
This allows the user to have the ultimate control to be able to say look, here’s all the data that you’ve collected about me and how do I want to use that and what should it be used for. So, this gives the user the ability to say, you know what, I understand why you want this data. I understand what you’re going to do with it and I’m comfortable with that.
Jay: Because some of that data was inferred or derived from their behavior on the site, right? So, we know that you are interested in national news because you keep clicking on national news stories. Some of it’s pulled out of their Facebook profile. Some of it they may have given you in some kind of progressive profile login sequence over time.
It’s a combination of different methods but in that profile management screen, you kind of give them the collected information and they can say, “Yeah, I’m no longer interested in baby cribs because the kid’s too old now or whatever the circumstances might be.
Jamie: Exactly. Yeah. It’s one of the limitations of so many of the behavioral systems is that the user doesn’t really have the ability to confirm or validate the behavioral inferences you’re making are actually relevant to them. When you look at this, when you look at third-party . . . you know, you see the accuracy 30 to 35%. But with first party data, where the user has the ability to control it, you see data over 90%. We see it often times 95%. Because you have the ability to say, “You know what, that’s actually not me. You thought that was the right thing, but let me course correct for you.”
Jay: Yeah. I think we’ve all had experiences online where you’re being targeted either with retargeting or with progressive profile or something else like, “Okay, I already bought those shoes. Stop showing me ads for the shoes I already bought,” or, “I don’t want to go on vacation anymore so how come I keep seeing ads for Aruba,” or what have you. It just gets annoying.
When you’re pulling most of that from the individual and they are saying, “Yes, this is still true and I want you to customize my experiences based on these data points,” obviously it’s a better outcome not only for the consumer, but also for the site publisher and for advertisers and everybody else. So, as I mentioned, it’s incredibly powerful.
So, just that one example, look, we know that Jamie is interested in James Bond. We know that Jamie loves vodka. Therefore, hey, we’ve got this advertising opportunity for Belvedere. Let’s only serve it up for people who are a) interested in James Bond and b) interested in vodka. That’s amazing. You can charge a lot more of those ads, obviously, because it’s hyper-targeted.
Again, you can do the same thing with content, but that’s just a little bit of the things that Janrain can do because once you pull in this third-party data and first party data and start to be able to make custom experiences based on that information, really the sky is the limit, truly. I do want you Marketing Marvels folks who’ve got large websites, you need to have a half-million, million visits a month to make Janrain kind of work. You have to have enough people for it to really make sense to do this heavy customization.
But if you’ve got a big site and you want to deliver these hyper relevant experiences to people–and frankly, you do, trust me–absolutely go to and setup a full demo with Jamie and his team where you can really see all the things it can do. It’s going to blow your mind. Actually the setup is not bad. There’s definitely some work that has to happen to make sure that they can pull in the data from different places and your reporting is setup and all that, but the Janrain services team is amazing. They make it really, really easy for you to do all of that kind of work, right?
Jamie: Yeah. It’s absolutely the case that we see these kinds of maturity in organizations developing over time. So, that means we help you identify where the quickest wins are, whether it’s this advertising opportunity that we just saw, content or cross-channel opportunity and then we want to build over time with you into multiple channels and make sure they all get connected.
The fact is we’re moving from more of an opt-out conversation to an opt-in conversation with all of our customers. So, getting out in front of this and starting to build some capability within your own organization is a really critical step in the process of learning what works, testing and optimizing and that’s part of the process that we work through with you over time.
Jay: Yeah because it’s not going to be the same for every site because the composition of your audience is different and what they want and expect from you is going to be different than another site or another site over yours. So, I think it makes sense to try to get started with this kind of stuff now and test and optimize and see what works for your audience, not because of the technology but just because of the culture of your site, the expectations of your users and what they want from you.
How do you guys charge for this? Is it sort of a monthly license now based on how big the site is and how many different flavors of Janrain you have installed or how does that get calculated?
Jamie: Yeah. Basically we look at how many profiles are we managing for you on an annual basis. And then obviously we want to look at how many connections we have into how many websites, how many back end systems, those are some of the elements that we’re thinking about, but really primarily it’s looking at if your lifetime value of the customer is x, is it worth a few pennies a year to be able to manage and maintain the data about who that user is in a way that creates the capability for this kind of experience.
Jay: And to get it setup, like, is it a couple of months to get this wired or longer or shorter?
Jamie: Honestly we have clients who are live with us in ten days or less. You can really move fast from our perspective.
Jay: Sounds scary.
Jamie: If you look at some kind of averages, we’re looking at 30 to 45 days to get a real implementation on a couple of websites in a couple of backend systems all connected together. Yeah. We’d work with you to get through that process but that’s what we’re looking at.
Jay: That’s not bad considering how much data has got to get wired together. That’s pretty slick. Thank you for showing us a little taste of Janrain. Again, folks, if you’ve got a decent sized site and you want to get started on this and trust me, you do, go to, do a full demo with Jamie and his team and see how it works for you in particular.
You’re going to be glad that you did because I’ve got to tell you something. Here’s the truth–if you’re not doing it, your competitors are and you do not want to be late to this game, guys. You want to be leading this game because it’s going to be real hard to catch up if other folks in your space are way out in front with Janrain. It’s going to be hard to get there, so get started now.
Jamie, I wanted to ask you a couple questions before we go as well. How did you get started with Janrain? You’re a smart guy. You’ve been in digital for a long time. You could work for anybody. Why this company, why here, why now?
Jamie: Yeah. So, I had been working on building social networks back in 2004 and then oved to agency side in the late 00s. And I had been watching Janrain. The company has been around since 2002 and it had been focused on really deep technology building, the open ID protocols that supported authentication using third parties like Facebook and Twitter to login to another website.
And around 2011 is when I really saw the company sort of connect with the vision of creating these kind of relevant personalized marketing experiences. That’s what I had been working toward for a decade. Frankly it’s been the promise of 25 years of digital.
So, you know, when I looked at the landscape of all the different options and opportunities, I really got excited about this idea that we’re going to be able to control our digital world. We’re going to be able to bring our identities wherever we want. We’re going to be able to do it in a secure way and we’re going to open up this world of really seamless experiences.
So, that was really motivating for me and it’s why for me I’ve connected with the business and I’ve been here for six years. It’s been really interesting to see the space evolve and mature to the point where you’re seeing such acceleration in these experiences. When you think about the top five website and the top five mobile apps you use every day. They’re personalizing that experience to you in some way. So, it’s the default expectation in the mind of the consumer.
Jay: And only going to get more so. You’re going to get to the point pretty soon where anything that’s not personalized is going to standout, whereas today personalization is noticeable, lack of personalization will be noticeable eventually. I think there’s no question you’re on the right side history and the company continues to grow really quickly and has some . . .
Jamie, what is a marketing marvel for you? So, in addition to Janrain, what is marvelous marketing technology, marketing software that you really appreciate other than your own?
Jamie: Yeah. Well, one of the tools that I love that I don’t know if I could live without is a tool called Datanyze. What Datanyze does is they look out at websites across the landscape and they look at the JavaScript tag to index the technologies that are running on that site. So, you know, in my world, I’m really interested in the ecosystem of technologies that are running within each of my clients’ websites. It helps me from a product planning perspective. It helps me to understand what’s going to be important to my clients. So, I use Datanyze. They have a couple of really great features.
They have a Salesforce integration. They’re pulling off what email provider they’re using, what CMS they’re using. What are all the widgets on their page and who’s running them and who’s responsible for them? It integrates those into our Salesforce records, so then it can pull reports really easily on which of our clients and prospects are using which technologies. It helps us in planning campaigns. It helps us in planning where we should do partnerships and co-development with other technologies.
The other cool thing they do is they have a daily email alert so you can track where your own technology is being deployed on other websites and you can also see where other technologies that you’re interested in, whether it’s from a competitive perspective are being deployed on other websites in the landscape.
Jay: That’s really cool. It was not familiar with that technology. That doesn’t happen very often that I get stumped on the Marketing Marvels show. I’ve heard of the concept but I don’t know that company. That’s awesome. I’m going to go look at that myself. We’ll make sure to link it up in the show notes too. Look below here. There’ll be a link to Datanyze so you can check it out, of course, obviously a link to Janrain as well.
Jamie, thanks so much for taking the time. Awesome to see you. Congratulations on all the amazing product advances and developments at Janrain. It is super powerful and super cool. Congrats and I really hope everybody comes and visits you for a full demo. They are going to appreciate it. Thanks for being on Marketing Marvels.
Jamie: Thanks, Jay.
Jay: I want to just remind everybody that Marketing Marvels is part of Convince & Convert Media. We have an entire podcast network that includes not only this show but also Social Pros, the podcast for social media professionals, Content Pros, the podcast for content marketing professionals, Business of Story, which is all about storytelling in business, Influence Pros, which is all about influencer marketing and the Convince & Convert podcast, which is where we take our most popular blog posts and turn them into podcast episodes. So, if you wanted to listen to the blog instead of read the blog, we’ve got you covered there as well. Go to That’s for the full lineup or find them on iTunes.
Marketing Marvels is published about every three weeks where I bring new special marketing technology to you, the busy marketer, so look for new episodes. If you want to make sure you never miss an episode of Marketing Marvels, go to That’s, all lower case. That will take you to the main YouTube page where you can subscribe to this channel and get all the Marketing Marvels episodes. You’ll get an email notification when we publish a new one. That will be fantastic.
So, on behalf of Jamie, my friends at Janrain and all our pals at Convince & Convert, I’m Jay Baer. Thanks for watching Marketing Marvels and we’ll see you next time.

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