Personalised Content

Technology, for a real-time, on-page personalisation can now provide targeted messages to different, previously anonymous users as they arrive on your site. Shaun Ernst Breaks down what is new, what data is relevant and how to use that data to create a personalised experience for your site visitors.

Personalised content and design is providing the best web experience to different target audiences. At the most basic implementation, personalisation is setting up marketing campaigns for different groups of users, with ads for different audiences linking to different audiences linking to landing pages optimised for that audience. At the more complex integration, it is the use of browser cookie information or other technology implementations to dynamically display optimised content and design for a site as a site loads, to audiences depending on previous behaviour or demographic information.

What you are, probably already, doing.

If you are already running any sort of marketing campaigns online, you probably already use personalisation in your marketing campaigns. If you don’t, you can start this today. You ideally send AdWords leads to a landing page customised to a campaign that is different to the landing page that users who come to your site through social campaigns or organic traffic land on. In addition, paid channels such as Social and Display advertising allows you to target different campaigns at very specific groups; you can show different display ads to targeted groups. In your analytics, if you see that specific interest groups respond better ot a particular message, then you can create a specific target audience for that group. This allows you to only reach the most valuable customers while not advertising to those who are unlikely to respond positively anyway, or you can target the rest separately but pay less to reach them.

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What is new in personalisation?

Technology for real-time, on-page personalisation can now provide targeted messages to different, previously anonymous users as they arrive on site. This new tech stems form A/B testing software; software such as Optimizely or ABTasty, presenting a different version of a page to users at random, with the purpose of judging how the different versions perform. Rather than showing a different version of a site to different users randomly, personalisation solutions show the page according to personas or behaviour; different people will respond positively to different message at different times. On-page A/B testing is reaching the mainstream now; personalistaion will be the next wave of optimised content and is already being implemented by digital leaders.

What data can you use to personalise the content?

Cookies and other tracking formats that determine characteristics of users in real-time are becoming more advanced and at the same time, much cheaper. Pesonalisation tools tell you many characteristics of your users:

  • Where they came from
  • If they have been to your site before
  • If so, what pages they looked at previously
  • If they have been to a partner site in the recent past
  • Geo-location
  • Search terms used

More detailed information around demographics is becoming more accessible as well, such as gender, age group and interests.

Once you have this data, what do you personalise?

Once your site knows certain information about your anonymous users, it is able to dynamically provide content that is going to be much more relevant to those users. Users who have previously visited your site will not need to see a splash page explaining what your service is. An Ecommerce site that sells Men’s and Women’s clothes would increase sales by showing the right type of clothes to the gender of the viewer.

How do you choose the segments?

This technology is exciting, but using it to reach the best people is what personalisation is about. It is unlikely that you are going to be able to place all of your users into personas to target, but two driving criteria should determine those that should be a priority. Firstly, users who are already categorised as high-value to your business. Whether that means they typically have high order values, high conversion rates, or other criteria. The second and alternative criteria are those who are not currently high value but are alikely to become high value if they received a personalised experience. As with all digital marketing, once segments are chosen, you will nedd to test and measure using your analytics tools to see if the personalised experience has improved conversions.

Where is this going?

Dynamic on-page real-time personalisation is being taken up very rapidly by digital leader such as Google, Dropbox, and more. Unlike A/B testing, personalisation doesn’t yet have dedicated solutions. In the next 18 months, we expect to see a dramatic increase in the number of digital savvy sites using personalistation , and we expect the price of tools to drop and the usability to improve.

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