How marketers can manage experiences with agility using sin…


Yesterday, the world of content management systems (CMS) was all about creating and managing traditional webpages and ensuring they were responsive across all devices. Today, that world is vastly different. With the proliferation of channels through which IT and marketers are required to deliver content, a CMS must provide the scope to meet the ever expanding omni-channel charter of today’s brands.

Benefits of SPAs for marketers

Required CMS-supported channels have expanded beyond mature channels like web and mobile to include emerging ones like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, Single Page Applications (SPAs), Point of Sales (POS) systems, and personal voice assistants and in-venue kiosks. The growing pressure to develop and deliver more content to an ever-expanding number of channels is resulting in IT and web developers increasingly shifting to SPA JavaScript frameworks for webpage development due to the significant reduction in code writing. The problem for marketers is that IT often cuts them out of the equation. Yet, marketers can benefit from SPAs too, and leveraging SPAs will give them a seat at the table with IT.

IT may be attracted to SPAs for the time it saves them, but there are many reasons for marketing to appreciate SPAs for powering microsites, ecommerce pages, and many webpages or webpage components at different points in a customer’s journey. When visiting a SPA, customers will experience instant and seamless delivery of content with each click they make, experiencing content faster. Faster page loading times mean reduced bounce rates, longer site visits and higher conversions.

Benefits of SPAs in comparison to traditional webpages

To put SPAs’ benefits into perspective, let’s look at a SPA compared to a traditional webpage:

  • Traditional webpage (HTML-based): Upon entering a URL into a browser (referred to as the client), the browser makes a call to the server that is hosting the website. The server sends back the HTML code required to load and display the requested webpage. This way any time a link on that page is clicked, the same process occurs again, meaning the new page loads while the consumer watches the spinner in the browser tab. We all know how frustrating that is for a consumer; it can result in the person abandoning your site.
  • SPA (JavaScript-based): With a SPA, the request to the server from your browser happens once. The initial load provides everything needed to browse through the website or microsite without having to make recurring calls from the client to the server. Therefore, there is no waiting for pages to load.

The client-side nature of SPAs provides a few more meaningful benefits worthy of mention. First off, SPAs function offline like a desktop app, which further improves the customer experience. They’re also responsive by nature, meeting a marketing requirement and saving IT time. Cost savings is another big benefit. Personalization – key to delivering an exceptional customer experience – becomes easier and less expensive.

Best practices for working with IT with SPAs

There are a couple aspects with SPAs that marketers should keep in mind and work with IT to solve. The single page JavaScript nature of SPAs make crawling/indexing difficult for search engines, meaning extra effort must go into developing SPAs with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in mind from the start. In addition, most SPAs are created and managed outside a CMS – cutting marketing out of the content management and authoring equation which requires marketers to request even the most minor of edits from IT. This is a problem previously solved in the early ‘00s. A lack of powerful CMS tools also means a loss of efficiency when trying to manage a growing number of SPAs across worldwide digital experiences.

A modern CMS can help marketing and IT get the most out of SPAs and improve the speed at which content is produced, or what we call content velocity. However, it must include the following three elements geared toward delivering omni-channel experiences at scale:

  • Decoupled architecture allowing content delivery anywhere (essentially a Hybrid CMS): This architecture separates the presentation layer (commonly referred to as the ‘head’), which is the publishing of a webpage, from the content layer (or the ‘body’).  While most traditional CMSs tightly couple these two layers which prevents the use of content in non-website channels, a hybrid CMS will also support headless use cases for emerging (currently known and future) channels like SPAs, ensuring both IT and marketing have the tools they need to future-proof and scale their worldwide digital experiences.
  • A SPA Editor for in-context JavaScript editing: To truly support a brand’s use of SPAs, a CMS needs to provide a SPA Editor that works with various SPA JavaScript frameworks, like ReactJS and AngularJS, to provide in-context, WISYWIG editing of SPA components for marketing and IT to author and edit SPA content in tandem.
  • Content services: The modern CMS should provide the ability to store lightweight content formats devoid of HTML code so the content can be used across any channel, including SPAs. Content created and stored in a traditional CMS is locked down with HTML tags that make it very difficult to pull out of the CMS content repository and use in a channel other than a website. This then requires the exact same content to be re-authored for reuse. A hybrid CMS will provide a way to create and store content in a lightweight format like JSON so that IT can reuse and deploy that content to any channel.

As the channels and ways people consume content constantly evolve, SPAs managed within a CMS provide marketers with a solution to deliver more content quickly and effectively in tandem with IT.

 

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