It’s clear that personalization is the future of content and eCommerce. 92% of marketers already report using personalization in some way, and 58% report using it specifically on their website. Plus, you can bet that those who aren’t will be in the near future.
In this article, we’ll be providing a complete introduction to content personalization, and showing you what it is, how it’s currently achieved, and what it will look like in the future. Let’s get started.
What is content personalization?
Content personalization is a marketing strategy in which marketers use visitor data to show audiences/customers the most relevant content possible based on their interests, demographics, motivations, or behavior.
It’s all about anticipating what they want to see on your website and showing it to them.
There are many different use cases for content personalization; it can range from personalized product recommendations based on geographic information and purchase history to personalized, targeted call-to-actions. It can include personalized in-line content, banners, call-out messages, pop-ups, survey questions, and more.
Examples of content personalization in eCommerce
That might all sound a little abstract so let’s look at some concrete examples of content personalization in action.
Imagine that a customer lands on your fashion eCommerce store. Based on the data you have about that customer, you know that they’re female and from Australia. In Australia, it’s currently summer, so your website homepage automatically displays women’s summer items like hats, dresses, and sandals.
A few moments later, another customer lands on the same page. In this case, the customer is a man from the US. It’s winter where he lives so this time, your product homepage is populated with men’s winter items, like coats, jackets, and boots.
The third visitor that lands on your site is a lady from the UK who’s been on your website before. Last time, she spent a long time browsing Fossil watches but left before making a purchase. She visits your homepage and is automatically greeted with a page full of Fossil watches.
In each of these cases, the visitor’s on-site experience is personalized based on the data you have about them in order to maximize the chance of a conversion.
How it works
There are three core steps to content personalization:
- Capture customer data points (i.e. location, behavior, interest, and referrals)
- Analyze it and use it to create ‘customer personas’
- Use those customer personas to automatically deliver personalized content
AI-powered tools, machine learning algorithms, and other tech solutions can help to automate these processes.
Machine learning integration allows marketers to capture and analyze large volumes of data from website users, like products clicked, purchase history, and demographic information, and analyze it. Data points can also be collected through customer opt-ins (think customer surveys), analytics platforms, and cookies.
This data is then used to define and segment your audience into groups of customer profiles. Once you’ve done that, all that’s left to do is to deliver your personalized content to your audience based on the group that they fall into. This is done by configuring personalization ‘rules’ based on your different audience segments.
This whole process is made easy through software solutions. Tools like Gravity and Smart Content can be installed on your website to collect data, create audience segments, and deliver segmented content.
Your job as a marketer is to decide on how best to segment your audiences and what kind of content you want to deliver to each of those segments.
Benefits of content personalization
The main reason to invest in content personalization is to increase conversion rates. Customers are more likely to buy when they’re presented with the products they’re most interested in, which is why product recommendation engines are so successful.
Here are a few more benefits of content personalization:
- Increased conversion rates
- Improved customer experience
- Increased visitor engagement
- Improved brand perception
- Increased eCommerce revenues
- Reduced churn
- Lower bounce rates
- More time on site
- Better customer retention
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons you might want to personalize your website content. Now, let’s look at some different ways you can do it.
Content personalization ideas to try
Here are some different personalization strategies you can try implementing on your website.
- Recommendations – use AI-powered product recommendations to show personalized content based on your user’s buying history or interests.
- Personalized search results – use data to inform what products or services appear at the top of your in-site searches
- Website popups – personalize your exit, on-scroll, or on-load popups to different customer profiles.
- Pre-populated forms – automatically personalize website forms to fill them out with information you already have about your customer and improve the user experience
- Automatic discounts – apply discounts that are relevant to your visitors based on their geographic location or other data points
- Abandoned cart emails – automatically send a personalized email to your website visitors when they abandon their shopping cart to remind them to finish their purchase.
Future of content personalization
In the future, expect more sophisticated, low-cost AI tools to help with content personalization. One prediction is that we’ll see a switch from rule-based personalization that targets whole segments to 1-to-1 personalization.
Up until now, AI has enabled us to collect data and segment customers into ‘pools’, so that we can personalize content to large groups of users. In the future, machine-learning algorithms will be able to sift through data and select the best content assets for individuals in real-time, so that we can personalize content at the 1-to-1 level.
It’s an exciting time to be a marketer!