What is Website Personalization?

Website personalization is a process of tailoring content and interactions to the individual needs of every visitor, typically using artificial intelligence to do so on a mass scale. According to our latest Relevance Report 2022: Ecommerce, consumer expectations for website personalization have risen considerably. More than 2/3rd believe that personalization effort is still lacking.

Not too long ago, website personalization was not the norm. Personalization campaign ideas were limited to the ability to use the recipient’s first name in the greeting of an email. This was before the boom of analytics. Today, the average site visitor is bombarded with lots and lots of information.

A few decades ago, in 2005, Americans saw more than 3,000 branded messages per day. It is estimated that by 2019, this number can go as high as 10,000.

In this new age, predictive personalization, in advertising and products, is the solution to cut through the noise. Personalized marketing can empower the customer. In fact, according to our Relevance Report 2022: Ecommerce, 52% of customers are willing to pay more if they can find what they are looking for in a few clicks. 

Your target audience may feel that with a personalized recommendation, their voice determines what they see.

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AI, Machine Learning, and Personalization

In the past, website personalization required manual input of rules-based software. As your marketing and audience grew, so did your personalization efforts, or worse, these efforts did not grow and your rules just become more inaccurate.

Now, with the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence, hyper-personalization or marketing automation of digital experiences is possible. Every interaction can be made a unique experience tailored to every individual website visitor’s exact context and intent – without having to increase the investment in resources and time as your website grows.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence can understand the needs of your visitor based on user behavior. It scans the customer data platform and compares selected buyer persona to other visitors in similar contexts. It will also refine its understanding as your audience grows.

A million experiences for a million website visitors is possible – and companies are already embracing it. AI and machine learning have supercharged website personalization strategy to a new level enabling personalization at every moment across the customer journey.

Why It’s Time to Invest in Real-Time Web Personalization

Website personalization made easy with Coveo for Sitecore

Emerging technology is opening up new avenues and platforms to deliver a personalized experience. In-home products that rely on voice, such as Alexa and Google Home, are built on a value proposition of how well they can personalize. Geofences, Internet of Things sensors, and beacons are opening up how to personalize a person’s digital interactions as they walk through physical space.

These new personalized products with big data and analytics give marketers visibility into what happens after the sale.

Does the customer use the product?

What kinds of relevant content can I suggest that would nurture them into using additional products?

With access to quality insight, marketers of these products can deliver an unprecedented level of personalization.

In addition, new technology combined with personalization ideas, such as account-based marketing , enable highly targeted messages from your emails or other touchpoints to prospects, whose next step is to research your company online.

According to Acquity Group , about 84 percent of prospects check businesses’ websites (not social media) for information in their research process. When the content recommendation and search results are generic, the website just doesn’t resonate and the lack of website content personalization is disorienting.

In short: customers’ patience for non-personalized experiences is only getting shorter. Marketing managers with a one-size-fits-all website are going to fall behind. You need to deploy a website personalization tool – and fast!

How Do You Personalize a Website – To Convert?

What happens to customer satisfaction when customers don’t find the information they need on your website? The research shows they are frustrated. Customers can persist through a little frustration for a great product, right? Overwhelmingly, the answer is no.

When visitors can’t find the answers they need on your website, it takes them just two clicks to navigate away from your site. Off they go to their favorite search engine only for their needs to be addressed by the first google ads result. Information is just too easy to find on search engines to spend time on a website with poor site personalization.Overcoming the challenges with website personalization requires setting search as the foundation of your personalization strategy, and building a search-driven user experience.

Below is a list of some basic principles, but for a more in-depth understanding, download the whitepaper “The Ultimate Guide to Site Search User Experience.” 

How Do You Get Started With Website Personalization?

A Step-by-step Process

First step in website personalization - identify your content gaps!
Source: www.brand.coveo.com
  1. Understand your content gaps. Do you know the questions that your website does not answer? The effect of “no results” on exit rates is real. It’s one of the reasons why administrators need to log into their analytics dashboard regularly and immediately navigate over to see their content gaps, which also include the queries that return results with low click-through rates.
  1. Take the user’s context into account. When vendors have multiple product options, it’s crucial that the search results don’t just do a simple keyword match and pull results from every product to answer a simple ‘how-to’ style query. In order for it to be relevant to prospects, it has to also take into account their online browsing behavior patterns.
  1. Connect your search to the existing marketing personalization tactics. Marketing leaders are making huge bounds with how to completely personalize every step of the website journey. When users get to the search box, the results page should follow those same rules by personalizing search results by role. The deep integration of Coveo ™ for Sitecore helps advanced marketers capitalize on complete personalization of the digital experience.
  1. Learn from your users. Anyone who has worked in customer engagement (or really anything involving other people) knows that users don’t always follow expectations. Their search behavior follows that rule as well. This is why website search results should be automatically personalized, or use machine learning on the usage data to deliver the most personalized recommendations. Setting up complex rules and doing this manually is resource-intensive and time-consuming.
  1. Suggest what they need. Going hand-in-hand with users not always following the expected path, users are not always going to know what they don’t know. Provide suggestions for what they need to see or content recommendations with proactive suggestions to deliver true website content personalization.

The bar for a customized experience gets higher and higher – and marketers and website administrators need to deliver. Personalized customer experiences are worth the return in customer retention rates, conversion rates, and more.

Dig Deeper

In Episode:1 Digital Personalization at Scale: Fact or Fiction? of our podcast, The Ecom Edge, Ciro Greco, Vice President of AI at Coveo, and podcast host, Diane Burley, Content Head, Coveo share practical insights – with examples – of how small and big companies can deploy personalized experiences at scale. In a little over 40 minutes, you will learn all that you need to know to build personalized experiences at scale!

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About Rachel Schultz

Rachel Schultz is the Content Marketing Manager at Coveo. She blends her background in journalism seamlessly with her B2B marketing expertise and obsession with data to create compelling content for the Coveo community. When she’s not working, you’ll find her reading (strictly non-fiction), hanging out with her puppy or taking in all NYC has to offer with her husband.

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