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The Knot goes mobile-first for secure future with millennials

Leading wedding resource The Knot has relaunched its service with a mobile-first perspective, a recognition of the fact that smartphones and tablets now account for more than 50 percent of the brand?s traffic. 

The relaunch is supported by a sweepstakes called the "7 Days of Giveaways." Participants can win prizes from The Knot partners Disney Honeymoons, Mikasa, Watters, Aspen & Co, Cuisinart, Maggie Sottero and Sottero and Midgley.

?Mobile is key to the future of The Knot,? said Dhanusha Sivajee, executive vice president of marketing at XO Group Inc., New York. ?In our view, the disruption that digital technology and mobile have had on, for example, travel, real estate and ecommerce is catching up to the analog nature of the wedding sector.

?In the past, brides have always had to go in and try on that dress and visit the reception hall and go taste the cake in person,? she said. ?Now, with the personalization of The Knot and our enhanced methods of discovery, couples are able to take action on those analog behaviors in real time.

?Of course, they?ll still want to go taste that cake, and walk through the venue, but with our technology and a little love The Knot is able to engage, match and connect our couples to just the right local vendors that are just about perfect for them and their unique wedding. The Knot will be helping couples from inspiration to activation, and our new site will make some pretty perfect vendor matches.?  

XO Group Inc. owns The Knot and is a consumer Internet and media company focused on information, products and services for weddings, pregnancy, new couples and new parents. 

Millennial brides
XO Group invested in technology and product last year, launching apps for the wedding and baby space. The company built two brand new sites from ground-up at The Knot and The Bump, both designed as mobile-first. 

?Not only did we apply key tech learnings from our apps, but we utilized more than 15 years of our proprietary data on brides, couples and the wedding industry alongside hundreds of hours of in-person user testing in order to create perfect matches between our couples and our local business partners around the country,? Ms. Sivajee said. 

No two couples will have the same experience on the new The Knot site.

A major evolution in the new site is the ability to match and connect its users to 250,000 vendors in 30 categories to ensure a unique wedding experience.

More importantly, the site offers a completely personalized experience for couples through their entire wedding planning and purchase journey. This includes tailored wedding photographs customized, checklist and the matches with local vendors.
A personalized dashboard called ?My Knot? serves an automatic feed of relevant content, tools and offerings based on the couples? stage in the wedding process and tied to preferences including wedding location, style and color. 

The site is completely responsive on mobile devices. 

In addition to the mobile site, the fashion, planning and guests verticals optimize The Knot apps. 

?You will see some visual similarities between our apps and new sites," Ms. Sivajee said. "If it worked well for our mobile apps we applied it to our new site for desktop and mobile.?  
The local aspect is played up. 

For example, local businesses have storefronts on the new site, making it easier to connect the couple with the wedding venue, DJ or band or local hotels that can offer a block of rooms. 

The Knot?s site serves contextually relevant ads that target against specific user criteria. The site uses a variety of native ad formats that support video, regeneration and custom content. 
?We are engaging with couples as they are making decisions about the rest of their lives,? Ms. Sivajee said. ?Not only is a bride talking about the wedding dress she has to buy, but the couple is deciding which wireless company they want.

?Both our brands have great relationships with endemic advertisers for the wedding and baby space and these new sites open a greater pathway for brands to reach an affluent millennial audience as they?re making purchasing decisions across the board. 

?As our audience is making big life decisions and registering for must-have products, they have a higher proclivity to create brand loyalties and associations. They are not looking just for items or services for their wedding or baby, but for the rest of their life. Non-endemic advertisers such as consumer package goods, life insurance, auto and pharma, among others, could benefit greatly from tapping into this audience.?

Target advertising
Personalizing the site benefits the user as well as the publication?s advertiser clients. Display ads can now be created based on the page?s content such as wedding themes and details, settings, locations and color. 

Having ads and content coincide creates advantages for both the publisher and advertiser. Non-intrusive ads aid in traffic to the mobile Web site, if the ads match the content it will help keep readers coming back. 

This also means consumers are more likely to click on the ads. By creating these ads through the studio of The Knot this can accomplished. 
The Knot is able to personalize the site so well because it has created its own content management system. This means it can create custom videos, slideshows, custom as well as branded content programs, multifunctional banners to support native ads, image carousels and responsive native ad cards. These ad cards can work across all mobile platforms.

The educated, affluent millennial bride is the typical reader of The Knot with an average age of 29. 

Weddings are an extension of a couples? personality and most brides also want their planning experience to be as well. 

These millennial couples are the first to grow up in a mobile world making these publications work harder to keep up with the expectations. The biggest decisions of person?s life in this demographic are being decided through mobile. 

The wedding resources business must evolve with this shift and compete with bloggers and social media such as Pinterest and Instagram as well as traditional wedding registries from retailers nationwide. 

?Our longtime goal is to help inspire, plan and book every wedding in America,? Ms. Sivajee said.

?In 2015, we will work towards this by making the best connections between our audience and relevant products, services and connections to just the right local wedding vendors,? she said.