As wedding planning site The Knot realized that over 60 percent of its traffic was coming from mobile devices, the XO Group publication embarked on an ambitious mobile-first redesign that would reflect the shifting focus of local advertisers and readers.
The Knot relaunched its site in early March. The goal was to present a mobile-friendly way to navigate through its commercial and editorial content, while offering a uniquely personalized experience to all users — as well as connecting them with The Knot’s brand partners.
Intended brides (or grooms, as the site tries to appeal to both sides) now create personalized accounts on TheKnot.com through the “My Knot” dashboard. When they sign up, they have the option to input information about everything from their wedding colors to their desired venue location. That information, together with location-based technology, works to help connect approximately 250,000 wedding professionals with potential clients.
“[With My Knot], we guide brides all the way through their journey, from engagement through their wedding day,” said Steven Dziedzic, The Knot’s director of Product, Marketplace. “For example, if they say that they’ve found their venue now, then we can guide them over to photography. Our entire navigation is now set up to do that. It’s all topic based.”
This customization certainly serves the interest of couples planning a wedding, especially as the on-demand economy necessitates personalized experiences and real-time responses. But it also provides great opportunities for brands.
A (Brand) Match Made In Heaven
Through The Knot, brands can target customers based on their preferences, judging based on the items they may be searching. If a bride is browsing pictures of, say, pearl earrings to match her wedding gown, The Knot can serve up native or display jewelry ads that fit that description. Currently, The Knot’s brand partners include Macy’s, Cuisinart, and M&Ms.
Dziedzic also broke down some of The Knot’s more advanced ad targeting capabilities.
“[It goes beyond serving ads] for dresses because some is looking at dresses. One of the ways that we serve local advertisers is that they can target based on [both behavior and] where the couple is planning their wedding,” Dziedzic said. “So, we have a couple who is in L.A., and then we have a venue partner in upstate New York. With our data, we know that this L.A. couple is planning their wedding in New York City. And we also know that half of New York City brides like to travel upstate. So we can actually serve up that ad [for the upstate New York business] to the bride sitting in L.A. based on those factors.”
Counting Local Love
A key element of the “new Knot” is the way it caters to local businesses and interests specifically. This carries added importance because wedding industry is so inherently location-based; i.e., a Boston-based florist doesn’t do much for an NYC bride, even if she loves their arrangements.
“I think one of the things on our old site that was problematic was that local was very much in a silo, and that’s not how a bride experiences or plans for a wedding,” said Kristin Savilia, The Knot’s EVP of Local Enterprise. “So what we did is we took the inspiration step, [for example, when a bride browses] ‘real weddings,’ and combined it with the wedding professionals [section] and completely tied them together into one sort of step, click, move on process.
“There is still a section that says ‘local’ for the customer who knows she wants to go there, but the majority of our traffic is coming through by being embedded within the content. We are turning them over at the right moment to the right local wedding professional.”
It can be hard for small businesses to market online effectively, Savilia acknowledged. She noted that listing a “storefront” on The Knot, which reportedly attracts eight out of every 10 brides, is an efficient way to attract new customers. And The Knot’s VTR, or vendor tracking report, provides daily, weekly, and monthly metrics to show each business how many leads are being generated and how the program is (or isn’t) serving them.
“We are truly aligned with the success of our small businesses and our wedding professionals now, and that’s exciting to me,” Savilia said.
Targeting Happily Ever After
Given that The Knot presents sumptuous clickable images paired with a variety of listing information, a decent way to explain the site’s offerings may be to compare it to a wedding-based blending of Pinterest and Yelp.
But Savilia is quick to point out a key difference between Yelp and The Knot’s wedding listings.
“What’s very different from Yelp and some other companies that do geomarketing is that, for us, where a user is at that moment doesn’t matter nine times out of ten,” Savilia said.
“Someone might be working in New York City, so they’re on their phone, but they’re actually getting married in Long Island. They don’t actually want a New York City wedding planner to show up.”
Savilia is confident that The Knot’s targeting abilities are on point, and that the site’s new iteration is set to both serve brides through their journey and provide brands with the connections they seek.
“A lot of niche people do very specific pieces of what we do,” she said, “but there’s nobody in the industry that does what we do end-to-end. And now with the [mobile and millennial-first mindset], we’re even more excited about that.”