What is website personalisation?
‘Website personalisation’ is the term given to creating a customised experience for somebody who visits a website. Put simply, it’s about taking the standard, ‘normal’ web page you would show to a visitor, and altering it based upon the particular criteria of that unique visitor.
When used correctly, brands can tailor their generic website to present visitors with personalised content, or to provide a user-friendly route to the content that particular visitors care about the most.
When we talk about online or website personalisation, we’re essentially talking about how we can use data to drive website personalisation in real-time. That might sound scary, but, it’s actually quite simple. In fact, it’s been happening in places such as social media and eCommerce websites for quite a long time already.
For example, when I log into my Facebook account, Facebook asks me “what’s on your mind, David.”
That single line of content is personalised to me, based upon the criteria of my first name. Another popular example of website personalisation that most of us are comfortable with now is email personalisation:
The personalisation of online experiences is actually nothing new. However, the trend of businesses personalising content on website pages themselves is something relatively new and is definitely worth exploring.
Why should businesses care about website personalisation?
As technology has improved and the digital space has evolved, the demands and expectations of users have continued to grow. Customers no longer want to see the same old website homepage, which is being shown to a million other customers. An entrepreneur from a small online marketplace brand said it best:
If we have 4.5 million customers, we shouldn’t have one store. We should have 4.5 million stores.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon.
Sometimes users might not be able to describe what sets a good website apart from a bad one, but they’ll remember the websites that gave them a simple, easy user experience. Most users might not even be aware that elements of content on websites are personalised, they’ll just see that website as ‘helpful,’ or ‘easy to navigate.’
Whilst the Facebook example is quite simple and overt, we believe website personalisation is best utilised when it’s improving the user’s experience. There are some very simple, but effective uses for website personalisation which our own teams have experimented with previously, this includes:
- Changing a homepage to show content and imagery which aligns with the user’s demographics (prioritising products which cater to a male or female audience, for example, or displaying messaging relating to older users).
- Tailoring a landing page to reference the specific geographic location where the user is searching from. (searching ‘digital agency Chester,’ and ‘digital agency Nottingham,’ may show you two personalised versions of Clicky’s homepage).
- Personalising content on a landing page to reference the specific search query that a user typed into Google (for example, if you were to search ‘PPC agency’ or ‘CRO agency’ to find Clicky, you may find personalised versions of the homepage).
- Changing how a website attempts to convert a user depending upon whether the user is on a mobile device or desktop. (ie. ‘give us a call,’ in place of an online form).
- Changing the content and imagery on a website depending upon the time or day (for example, late night Sunday browsing suggests a visitor might need to get this sorted before Monday).
These are all fairly basic personalisation experiences to create, taking a lot less time and resource than you might think.
However, personalisation experiences such as these offer significant opportunity for businesses, as there is almost always a conversion rate improvement to be gained through the personalisation of content. It’s simple, we know users will convert better on a website which is personalised to them – yet for some reason brands are still slow to adopt this technology.
Only 36% of brands who responded to eConsultancy’s 2017 Conversion Rate Optimization Survey stated that they were creating a different experience for known and unknown site visitors.
The opportunity with website personalisation
Here at Clicky, we’ve created website personalisation experiences for a number of our CRO and ProSupport clients, and we’ve found there is a clear and demonstrable return on investment to the activity, purely down to the conversion rate improvements that can be achieved almost immediately.
33% of respondents stated that they saw a major uplift in conversion rate after implementing website personalization, with a further 61% stating that they saw a minor uplift in conversion rate. Only 6% of respondents stated that they saw no uplift from website personalisation.
eConsultancy, CRO Report, 2017.
Given that businesses have been slow to adopt website personalisation in their marketing arsenal, it’s still very much an opportunity which can provide a competitive advantage. For the brands we’ve worked with, it can be the difference between a 6% conversion rate and a 10% conversion rate.
If you consider how much you would have to invest in PPC traffic in order to generate an additional 4% of enquiries, or products sold, it becomes difficult to argue against it. Take Optimizely for example, who saw a 117% increase in conversions on their website CTA from introducing some personalisation to their homepage (well worth a read).
Whilst the cost of introducing website personalisation can vary from site-to-site, it can often prove considerably more cost effective than one might assume it to be. To take Clicky as an example, our packages begin at 6 hours per month, which at our £70 per-hour rate, equates to £420 + VAT. Now, there aren’t many tools or channels out there that can deliver a conversion rate improvement, pretty much from day one, for less than five hundred pounds.