Creating an experience on the web customized to the user's preferences is called Web Personalization. Website Personalization uses the user data to create a tailor-made experience for the visitors.
Web Personalization can get very confusing for marketers. But think about it in a way that the website or an app is communicating to the user as a human would. If you go to a doctor, the doctor will understand your concern and prescribe you medicine based on that. But that doctor won't prescribe the same medicine to another patient. Web Personalization works in the same way. If a million people visit your website every day, then every person should have their own experience.
Personalization offers the user unique offers, product recommendations, greetings, and so on based on their data.
Now that you understand what web personalization is let's understand how it works and how it can help a marketer?
Web Personalization has become extremely important in today's time. It is a way of showing your user that you care about them and want to help them choose nothing but the best. This also is a way of keeping users engaged with your platform by showing them what they like. When your platform offers personalized recommendations to the user, it also increases the trust between the user and the brand.
For marketers, web personalization is extremely beneficial. It gives the marketers insight into what the user likes and design campaigns around it. Web personalization is an effective tool to increase the user experience.
There are many benefits of personalization; a few among them are:
- Increases the conversion rate from unknown users to loyal customers
- Optimize the landing page
- Relevant recommendations
- Improves customer retention rate
- Increase in cross-selling through recommendations
- Effective communication between you and the user
Personalization is a way of telling your users that they are valuable to you and you are committed to giving them the experience tailor-made for them. Before we understand how web personalization works, let's first understand the basics of web personalization.
A user's journey on your website or app helps in understanding the personalization that you can offer. It also helps understand your business's challenges when reaching out to the user and see how personalization can help you reach your end goal. However, before you start personalizing content for each user, there are some basic questions that you must seek answers for:
- Who is my target audience?
- Which parameters should I personalize to deliver the most effective experience?
When a company enters the online league to sell products, the main objective is the sell them to a maximum number of people. However, it is a challenge to find the target audience to personalize and sell the product to.
You can solve these problems by:
- Understanding your current user base.
- Listing your products and see who is buying them or showing interest in them.
- Understanding what users are buying from your website/ app and what drove the purchase is important.
- Understanding which kind of users are bringing more business.
When you understand who your important users are and what drives your sales, you can personalize the website depending on that data. You can further segment your users into different locations and the history of their purchases, whether it was a high-end purchase or a mid-range.
- Understanding the Intent of the User
After figuring out your target audience, you must determine your user's intent or understand what they want when visiting your website/ app. This can help you personalize the content and products for your users, so they have options to choose from.
a. Contextual Intent: Most common and widely used method to understand your user. Look up at the keywords they are using to search for a particular product or the keywords they searched to arrive at your website. Using the keywords can help you show the content which matched the intent of the user.
b. Behavioral Intent: The browsing history, past purchases, and browsing trend of the user gives you an idea about their likes and dislikes.
c. Stated Intent: Here, you ask the user directly about their basic information, likes and dislikes, and what they are looking for to give them the options.
- Personalize the Content
After you have figured out the user's intent, as a marketer, you would want to make sure that the content is that you are personalizing for the user gets across effectively. Use images/ videos, and text to keep the user engaged with your platform and explore more. You can also use the intent to personalize the content relevant to their field, location, or the industry they work at.
- Implementing the Personalized Web Pages
Now that you have content ready, it is important to implement the correct page's personalization for maximum impact. Personalizing pages such as landing page, homepage, checkout page, etc., help you cater to your user's requirements effectively.
It is necessary to understand that not every user who enters your website will land on the homepage. Some may land on the product page through the web search. An effective personalization will be when you have designed the campaign that runs across different platform pages and not just any specific page.
Every user who lands on your platform is important as they will be bringing you business, and hence, it is necessary to treat them in the way they feel welcomed by your website. There are ways with which you can personalize the user's experience."
One of the most preferred ways to personalize the web page for your target audience is through geo-location. Depending upon your business, geo-location can help you with the necessary information and personalize the audience specific to a certain location.
For example: If you are running an E-commerce website that provides high-end clothing across the globe, you can personalize the content depending on the user's location. You can show clothes to the audiences where summers are at peak and offer discounts on the winter wear where the winter is at peak. If your company has different shipping policies for different regions, you can show it, depending on the location.
This will help in providing users an experience that is personalized to their location.
You can track User Events, how they navigate through your website, and take action. This will help you understand the overall user behavior and answer questions like:
* What are the pages they navigate through on your platform? * What are the categories they browse through for longer? * What are the actions they take on your website? * What are their searched items?
This behavioral data helps you lay down effective engagement strategies and personalize the user experience.
Targetting users based on the demographics such as age, gender, income, and so on will help you create a highly engaging user experience.
For example, a teen boy will have different requirements and buying history than a middle-aged woman. Segmenting them separately will help in optimizing and personalizing the user experience.
When it comes to personalizing your website, the end goal matters a lot. But is it the only thing that matters? No.
As a marketer, you must know that to create an effective campaign; it is necessary to understand the user data. The end goal is important, but an efficient web personalization considers the user data and designs your end goal. This will help drive more traffic to your website and increase the sales and conversion ratio.
Few steps can help you create an effective web personalization process:
STEP 1: Collect Visitor Data
Before you begin with your web personalization strategy, it is important to understand your user data and how you can utilize it. For that, you will have to gather the user data. There are many ways through which you can gather the user data:
- Ask the user directly when they enter your platform by asking them to fill the form.
- Map the journey and noting the customer's behavior will give you a brief idea about what the user is browsing through on your platform and their interests.
- Cookies help you track the user's browsing history, where they have been, and what they are looking for.
- Any data that the user shares on public platforms such as social media are open for everyone's access.
STEP 2: Profiling
After gathering the data, you must create customer profiles. These customer profiles represent the user's virtual replica with the name, age, and other attributes. You can segment these customer profiles based on their age, preference, or any other attribute and design the personalization around it.
STEP 3: Setting your Goals
Now is the right time to set up your goals. These goals can be anything from increasing sales to reducing cart abandonment. Your goals can vary depending on the segment and location. However, before setting up the goal, think about the following question:
- What are the errors you are trying to fix?
- How can you engage with your users better?
- Which language should you use to engage with your user to drive sales and increase the trust between the user and you?
- Is there any specific area you find that the users will be willing to respond more?
STEP 4: Preparing the Strategy
Draw the strategy that will ensure that you reach your end goal. Do not hesitate to include pictures, videos, reviews, or anything that can help keep the user engaged and reach the end goal.
STEP 5: Implementing the Strategy
When you design your strategy, it is important to implement it to get the desired output. You can design campaigns and prioritize the campaigns and run them across the different pages of your website.
STEP 6: Measuring the Sucess
It is important to measure website personalization's success not just for mapping the performance but also for determining the ROI on the campaign and whether they are working or not. The efforts should be measured during the early stages of implementation, mid-stage implementation, and the last stage of the implementation.
Let's take an example, you decided to have a quiet dinner and go to your favorite restaurant. Now imagine that the restaurant manager guides you to your preferred table, and the waiter brings you your favorite food and wine menu without asking your preferences. The waiter also serves you the water (Still or Sparkling) as you like. Wouldn't that be a great experience, rather than explaining to the manager what you prefer and what your likes are? It also created a greater trust between the restaurant and the person.
Both personalization and customization are used interchangeably from time to time. They are an effective tool to increase user engagement, increase the conversion rate and retention. However, there are minor differences between the terms:
Let's explain how Personalization and Customization are different with an example.
Let's assume that you run an e-commerce website that specializes in selling clothing and footwear from across the globe and you also ship worldwide. Now, you have users from different countries, time zones, and weather conditions. One size fits all won't be applicable in this scenario. You will have to sell products depending on their location.
Since every person has a different taste, a website without web personalization can only offer so much. Web Personalization will let you design the page and promote the brands according to the likes of the user.
Now, let's say, a user lives in the UK and likes to shop from brands like Tommy Hilfiger, and Levi's. Now that you have their personal data, down to the name, location, age, and preferences, you can use analytical tools and personalize the page for each user. Upon entering the website, wouldn't it be nice if the user is greeted with their name and the offers that are currently running on Tommy Hilfiger and Levi's? If it is winter in the UK then you can show them the banner that states that the latest winterwear collection has been recently launched by Tommy Hilfiger and is available on your website. This will surely make the user happy and the chances of them checking out the new collections and making the purchase increase considerably.
With Web Personalization you have reduced the user's effort to go to the brand page and filter out the winter wear. You can also personalize the web page based on their preferred language. This gives the user a very personalized experience and they will be regular on your website.
How is it different from customization, you ask? Well, in customization, the user has to design their own web page. They will have to manually enter their location, and filter out what they want to see.
The major difference between personalization and customization depends on who is making the changes. In personalization, the company takes in the data and applies the analytical tools to find the right marketing campaign. While in customization, the user has the power to design the web page as per their choice.
Personalization is where you take the user data through various means and curate the web page based on their past experiences and behaviors. Personalization helps in easier interaction with the user and meeting their individual needs effectively, thus increasing the chance of converting them to regular visitors.
Personalization is a completely automated process where it doesn't ask for any user input.
It will only show the user's information, which leads to user engagement.
Personalization can be unique for every user. For example, if you have 50k monthly visitors, all 50k users will have a unique experience.
User privacy can be in jeopardy when it comes to web personalization, and it can be harder to maintain user engagement. It needs constant work and attention to every minute detail to ensure the customers stay on the platform.
Customization gives the user the option to create the web page content based on their own preferences. It lets users do everything and design the page as per their needs.
As the user is in charge of designing what they want on their web page, the customer data is not involved.
It is easier to develop and maintain.
The scope of customization is limited but depending upon the audience, it can be used to full potential to reach the end goal.
Web Personalization offers multiple benefits to businesses across different verticals. Given its many benefits and aiding sales, Web Personalization is being adopted by many industries and exploring the advantages. Let's delve into and see how it can help different segments:
Personalization is a must-have for all e-commerce websites. Users want to see what they prefer rather than skimming through multiple pages or customizing themselves.
Let's understand the application on Web Personalization through a use case:
Let's assume that you are an e-commerce company that offers a wide range of children's clothing from different brands and ship them worldwide. Your catalog includes clothing for children, footwear, activity books, and toys.
With Web Personalization, you can track the following:
- Personal details of the user (name, age, location, and so on)
- The age group they shop for
- The type of toys they shop for
- Gender of the clothing they shop for
- Brands they love: Custom Event = Purchase Completed/ Order Placed | Custom Event Attribute = Product Brand
- Recently viewed items
When the user enters your website for the first time, they will see your homepage. You can track the user events and see what the user likes. With web personalization, you can make the next visit for the user tailored to their needs.
By tracking their geo-location, you can show them the children's clothing suitable for the weather in that country. You can also use their browsing history on your website and show them offers and discounts on the brands they love. You can also cross-sell similar items from different brands.
The travel industry was the early adopter of web personalization. Over the years, they have incorporated analytical tools to make personalization more effective. Today, the travel industry has effective tools and data to make their platform communicate with the user effectively and give them a one-of-a-kind experience when planning their trip.
Let's understand this with a use case:
Many travel websites personalize the web page in real-time. As soon as the person clicks on the website, it takes the geo-location and IP address into account and shows the personalized page.
Consider a travel website that uses Web Personalization. They can personalize the user experience on their platform by:
- Tracking their location
- Looking into their past travel history
- Understanding the type of holiday they prefer (luxurious/ modest)
- Whether they hire a car rental service or prefer getting cabs whenever they want
Consider a user who lives in India and loves to travel to coastal areas, and prefers staying in hotels or holiday homes near the sea. The user also prefers taking uber to the places they want to go.
When the user logs in to your website, you can show them the banner welcoming them and the list of popular coastal holiday destinations. You can also show them the offers that are available on hotels and stay homes near the sea. If you have tie-ups with a company that provides cab services, you can show the offer for the same.
When the user looks for the hotels in one of the places you have recommended, the travel websites show you the number of rooms available in real-time. It is unlikely that the user will book the hotel or tour in one go; they will look for more options. In this case, you can save their searches and let them pick up exactly from where they left once they come back.
The ed-tech industry is booming every day as more students and learners are looking for platforms where they can learn new skills. With the help of web personalization, learners can easily choose further courses or preparation kits.
Let's discuss it with a use case:
The ed-tech industry is vast and its scope not limited to just school or university students but also for professionals looking to boost their skills through various courses and certifications. Ed-tech also provides space for people who want to learn a new hobby or pick a new course.
- Tracking their age can help in finding what the person might be looking for
- Past searches can give an insight on the courses they are looking into
- Information regarding their line of work or profession
Consider a high school student who wants to pursue medical studies in university. The student comes to your website to look for study material. With web personalization, you can track the geo-location and look at the browsing history to identify the students' universities. You can show the student the study materials for different colleges and what other options they can look at.
Gaming can be particular for the user, and it is necessary to understand that every user will have a different preference and can be from various age groups. Some like simulation games, while others prefer online gambling or racing games. Some users also play games of different genres. With Web Personalization you can cross-sell different games and offers.
Let's understand this further with a use case:
Consider a user who likes to play online gambling and a simple scrabble game online. Both the games are of very different genres and highly engaging.
With Web Personalization you can track:
- Their past expenses
- Number of hours they spend on your platform
- Time when they play the games
With the user's past expense data and the number of hours they dedicate to the games every week, you can personalize their web page by inviting them to different tournaments that will happen online on your platform.
You can let them know that they are one of the few premium users invited to the tournament and can earn extra coins/discounts when they spend a minimum amount on Scrabble's game.
You can also give them an invitation to try out a new game that is in the beta stage and along the lines of their preferred genre. This will help in building trust between the company and the user. Their feedback can be constructive and will help in increasing the experience.
Fintech is one of the segments with a diverse set of customers. From new first-time bank account owners to large businesses, every customer has different needs regarding financial planning. With web personalization, the financial can offer custom-made offers and services to the user and stay ahead of the curve. This will help strengthen the understanding between you and the user as they would feel understood.
Let's understand this further with a use case:
Consider a bank or financial institute that lets the user open an account, purchase loans, pay their bills, and invest money in different sectors.
The financial institute can track:
- Personal information such as age, location, profession, income, and so on.
- Their recent investment
- KYC update
- Credit and debit cards linked to their account
Consider a user who holds an account in your bank. They have recently brought a home loan from you and have started paying EMIs. Since you already know their financial standing and how much they can afford, you can offer them home insurance within their budget. This will help in cross-selling your services and products that you offer.
Consider another user who holds an account in your bank. Since you already have their user data, you know that they generally shop online. You can offer them a credit card that can give them more points every time they shop online. When they log in to your website, you can show a banner welcoming them and offering them the credit card that suits their needs. This will attract the user's attention, and knowing that you have something that personally caters to their needs, will increase the trust and bond between you and the user.
Media consumption differs widely from person to person. Some may be interested in Politics, while others may want to see the news of technological advancements. Whether you are a newspaper, a magazine, or a streaming service, your content should cater to the user's likes to increase the revenue. Times have changed a lot since personalization has become a part of the media and entertainment industry. You are not just giving your user the option but also motivating them to choose you.
Let's understand this further with a use case:
Consider a streaming platform that has thousands of series and movies in its database. Users have the choice to make the payment for your service monthly, quarterly or yearly, and get full access to your library to watch anywhere, anytime. The user can create sub-accounts to keep track of their recent watches.
With Web Personalization you can track:
- User's location
- Personal details like age, family members, location
- Preferred genre
- Watch history
- Titles in their watch-list
Consider a user that has both family and a personal account on your website. When the user clicks on the personal account, you can show them picks based on their watch history. If they are a fan of period movies, you can show them the list of period movies similar to the user's taste. With the user data, you also know what language they prefer when it comes to watching movies or sitcoms, and you can show them the period dramas in their preferred language.
When the user clicks on the family account, you can show them the recent release in the family movie section or the best from their previous plays. If they like Disney movies, you can show them the most loved Disney movies to make their selection easy.
Updated 6 months ago