Great Examples Of Website Personalization

We are well and truly in the technical era – every man and their dog has a website, and if you have a business without some sort of online presence, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

Partly thanks to this advanced technical era, consumers are getting smarter and expectations are growing. No longer is it acceptable to simply have a webpage with information and expect the consumer to do all the work. Unless you are able to personalize the content in some way, then there is a very high chance that the consumer will get bored or be uninspired and go somewhere else.

The fact of the matter is that there is so much competition, and you can bet that there will be a company or two (or more) offering the same product or service as you, but with better personalization. If the consumer has a choice of two websites – one which makes them feel like an individual and which only makes them feel like a number or statistic, then you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know which company will generate the most business.

The internet can be a complex and often confusing web of information. It is fine for me to say ‘personalize your content’, but what exactly does that mean? Are you, as a business or website owner, expected to be online 24/7 waiting for a visitor to the website to then work out who they and what they want? Or are you expected to hand type every single individual email to make sure that the same generic content is not sent out? You can if you like, but this is neither sustainable or at all feasible.

Luckily for you, there are many examples of websites currently using personalization that you can look at for inspiration, and there are online companies that exist purely to assist in the automation of personalized content.

Now that you know what you need to do, below is an overview on exactly how to achieve the ultimate personalization, complete with real-world examples. You will see that so many of your favorite and most recognizable brands already use personalization on their websites, without you even knowing it. That is the ultimate goal – don’t make it obvious that you are targeting individual people – make it subtle and effective and it won’t be long until you are reaping the rewards through improved click rate and increased profitability.

What Is Website Personalization

It is fairly self-explanatory – website personalization in a nutshell is personalizing the experience for a visitor to your website. Whether it be the tailoring the visible content on a website’s home page, or ensuring that certain emails and promotions are only sent to the prospects or customers that will properly appreciate them, and be most likely to use them. There really are so many different types of personalization that will depend on what you are offering, who your customers are and what industry you are in.

Examples Of Website Personalization

Website personalization is not a new concept. It has been around for some time, and is currently improving and evolving over time. There are many industries and businesses currently engaging in website personalization.

1. Amazon

Amazon and other online department stores are all about personalization, and are really reaping the benefits. If you have ever logged onto Amazon or any of the other online stores (whether they are selling electronics, clothing or even pet supplies), you may notice that it seems to read your mind and will predominantly feature products that you are interested in, or even products that compliment previous purchases you have made.

This is personalization. The home page for Amazon looks different to every person that visits. The website analyses previous shopping behavior so it actually is kind of reading your mind!

2. Netflix / Google Play

Even websites that are not your traditional shopping sites offer personalization. The biggest evidence of this is the fact that if you are located outside of the United States, you cannot even visit the U.S Netflix site. For example, if you are on an Australian IP address and you type in, it will automatically redirect you to the Australian website. It has worked out where you are located and personalized the website to suit you. It figures that you have no use visiting the U.S site.

All online streaming sites offer personalization – they remember what you have previously watched, and when you log in (regardless of what device), the home page will introduce new movies or shows that it feels you would be interested in. This is really beneficial for the users as at times this is the only way that they may know of certain shows, and creates customer satisfaction.

3. Spotify / Pandora

Working in the same way as Netflix, but focusing on your ears rather than your eyes – Spotify, Pandora and other music streaming sites offer personalized playlists and radio stations based on what you have listened to the most. It will even recommend new albums and songs that it thinks you will like. It is a great way to find new music, and benefits both the artists and the consumer. Enter in a particular song or genre and it will a build personalized playlist for you.

4. Facebook

Possibly the most deliberate of personalization is on social media – namely Facebook. Nearly everyone has a Facebook account, and anyone who has logged in within the last few months will have noticed strategic posts and sponsored adverts that are freakishly relevant. You can be scrolling through your newsfeed and suddenly an advert for a product or service that you have been thinking about will appear. As if Facebook read your mind. Rather it reads your browsing history, both within and outside of the Facebook website.

Facebook will also note frequently used key words in your posts and put two and two together to work out what you are into. If you start talking about volunteering in Cambodia and have googled different companies that offer such volunteering programs, prepare to start seeing volunteering adverts pop up on your Facebook feed. Another way that Facebook personalizes content is to predominantly show posts from close friends that you interact most with, rather than those who have profiles that you barely look at.

5. McDonalds

Ever noticed that the McDonalds website seems to know when it is time for breakfast no matter what time zone you are in? This is personalization. Rather than have a homepage that offers every potential burger and meal under the sun at all times, the website will work out where you are by your IP address, and it will not only show you meals for that particular time of the day, but will provide specific information about your local restaurant. So you will not get information on a burger that is not available in your area.

A lot of fast food websites use this style of personalization – otherwise if the website looked identical no matter when or where you logged in, then there would be a lot of irrelevant and potentially incorrect information given to you.

6. Scholar Advisor

Scholar Adviser is another unlikely source of website personalization. It is an essay writing service, and when you register, they use the information gathered to basically build a profile of you. Then every time you log in, they know who you are, what you are interested in and from all that, the services that you are most likely going to use. If you log in as a 17-year-old high school student majoring in sports science, then it would be pointless for them to offer up essay writing services on university nursing studies. When the 17-year-old sports scientist logs on, they will notice plenty of advertisements and offers for sports science writing services. Same as if you were a writer – you would only be offered jobs that fit into your field of expertise.

Types Of Website Personalization

We have already looked at some of the more common examples of website personalization that many of you will have experienced firsthand (unless you have never ordered a burger or been on Facebook). But what are the types of personalization? If you have a website and you know that you are needing to personalize, then where do you start, and what is even out there on offer? Below is a brief highlight of the three most common and most effective types of website personalization. Not all of them will be relevant to you, but they are good to know, and should be utilized where possible.

1. Variable tags in an email

Arguably the most basic type of personalization is the use of variable tags in any emails or other correspondence sent. If your company or website is corresponding to customers or prospects over email, then variable tags are a must. Otherwise you will either need to hire someone to manually fill out their name and personal information before sending, or have every email sent be identical with some sort of impersonalized ‘to whom it may concern’ as a header. With variable tags, all you need to do is spend just a bit of time writing out a standard body of an email – perhaps one targeted at one demographic (young females) and a different one targeted at a different demographic (older males). Leave things like their name as variable tags – these tags will self-populate before being sent.

So these customers or prospects will receive an email that appears to have been personally written for them, and is only based on their individual needs (so females will not be sent marketing material for men’s pants). The main benefit being that once the initial work is done, the rest is automated and personalized emails can be sent out while you sleep or holiday!

2. Segmentation

Segmentation is another highly utilized method of personalization. Put simply, it is when a website targets a particular demographic or area. The website will build a profile of a customer based off information it might gather from a survey or a log-in, or even the browser history, and only offer content that is relevant to them. So if you were to log into an online clothing store, it would use your purchase history and your gender to display other clothes or items that you would be interested in.

One commonly used method to gather data for segmentation personalization is to offer an incentive to sign up or subscribe – a few strategically targeted questions will give you all the information you need to successfully target them in a way that will maximize the potential for a sale (if that is what you are after). This can be the first step in building a long term relationship with a customer. There are many businesses that can assist in providing segmentation strategies, such as Yieldify which uses a predictive marketing technology to assess your customers and market accordingly.

3. Dynamic Content

Dynamic content is basically taking a segmentation strategy to the next level. It does more than just market according to the user, but it will change the entire website according to the user’s demographic. The potential for dynamic content is endless, and it really depends on what type of website you have and what you are trying to achieve (simple sales or gaining of long term contracts). Examples of dynamic content include having a ‘locations’ page only show the two or three closest stores to the customer, or have special deals and prices visible only for customers in a particular area.

Dynamic content is just that – dynamic. So even the same customer will get different content depending on what day it is, what the weather is like in their local area, their past behavior and browsing history or even what is going on in their area (such as Independence day in the United States). Any part of a website can be made dynamic – landing pages, forms, available products etc. One business that specializes in building dynamic content for website personalization is Personyze. Using Personyze, simply group your visitors into particular audiences, tell them how you would like to target each audience and leave the rest to them. Your existing CRM data can be easily integrated into Personyze for maximum effectiveness.

Steps To Website Personalization In A Nutshell

Now that you can recognize companies that use personation, and know about the main types of personalization, there are some basic steps in getting there. It will not happen overnight, but if you take it seriously and invest time into your website personalization, then the results will definitely pay off. These steps are just a basic outline to get you going in the right direction. Your best bet of course is to seek the assistance and guidance of a professional.

  1. Consider your audience. The number one step is to know your target audience. Who are they and what are their different visitor attributes? If you were a customer to your website, what would you most like to see? What would you not like to see?
  2. Create personalized content. There is no reason you cannot start creating personalized content from the get go. Start typing out simple emails aimed at your different segments from step 1. Do you want to have special promotions purely aimed at a particular demographic?
  3. Optimize and automate. This is where you may need to seek the advice of a professional. Automation is the key to great personalization. Worker monkeys don’t actually exist, so having your website work for you around the clock is vital. Especially for global websites where you can expect visitors at all hours of the day. Once you do have automation in place, then set up control groups to measure overall impact. The only way of knowing how well something is working is to measure its success. Sounds simple, but it is a step you cannot take too lightly.

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  1. Hi…
    Great content. I like these examples and your way of expressing this information. personalization is the process of tailoring pages to individual users’ characteristics or preferences. You have uniquely described types of personalization. Thanks for such an amazing post with us.

  2. In today’s times, there is a lot of personal information available to advertisers which can help them personalise their websites to suit the tastes & preferences of their users.

    Landing pages & dynamic content are a great way to customise the content that a user views. Most of these technologies rely on cookies though.

    I believe that over the coming years, the internet & websites will be entirely customised based on a user’s preferences & tastes.

    Region Manager, Preply Inc.

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