Website Personalization for non-FAANG companies

You must have seen several websites especially news requesting a login either voluntarily or making it mandatory. It might be a mobile website that you are visiting after clicking on some link shared on Whatsapp or Facebook. Or a website like Medium or Reddit which you regularly visit which keeps prompting you for logging in. Have you ever wondered why do companies sacrifice good user experience by keeping on nagging you for logging in?

Economic Times asking you to log in

The short answer is higher profitability achieved through user segmentation. The premise is simple – Tracking enables companies to track you across devices – home/office laptop, iPad, app & mobile, when considered at scale, they can better target you and improve their top-line and bottom-line. Google, Facebook &Amazon store massive amount of data tagged to you so they can create a better identity based on what sites you visit, how much time you spent, which device you are on, while the consumer (websites like economic times) benefit from verified email address and name. Which is why every time we visit we get a different set of personalized results

But let us talk about the smaller companies – how do they achieve such personalization for their website ?. E-commerce companies know that only 5% of users are ‘known’, the rest 95% are anonymous users which offers a huge amount of improvements. For example, Fjällräven, the Swedish outdoor gear giant served multiple video-based Homepage hero banners for every type of weather condition, with multiple variations per each weather condition which is continuously being optimized all year round. This single-use case resulted in a 79% uplift in CTR vs. that of a non-weather-based static banner. According to research from Invesp:

  • 53% of online shoppers believe that personalization is valuable
  • 45% of shoppers prefer to shop on sites that provide personalized recommendations
  • 57% of shoppers will give personal info if they benefit from it.
  • Personalized ads convert 10 times better than ordinary ads
Difference between website landing page

Even doing basic optimizations like matching headlines, content, and CTA to the one in advertisement can give surprise gains. The Pardot post-click landing page is a great example of this. Optimizely has around 26 variations of their website for different audiences based upon named accounts, industries, geography, customers and engaged visitors. This is all great, but how does a small company kick-start this? I will start with the easiest option first

  1. Recommended Products (E-commerce websites) – This is the easiest way to start off with personalization utilizing technology powering your e-commerce store. There are hundreds of plugins available for Shopify, Bigcommerce or Woocommerce which let you insert your recommended products right inside your website. You can customize them to a large extent without heavy effort required.
  2. Google Optimize: What better than a free tool that can plug into Google Adwords and Google Ads to tailor your landing pages for you. A part of the Google Marketing platform can offer all the basic and advanced features which you require to get started with website personalizations. You can use various data available from Google Analytics live for personalization
  3. Segment + Hello Bar/Appcues: A quick solution for people looking for notifications/popup (not website content). The solution enables non-technical website owners to create and install custom announcement bar scripts on their websites. I would recommended this solution for everyone if you want to experiment with personalization.
  4. Instapage Page Personalization: A paid service to alter your landing page based upon advertisement, demographics or firmographics. One of the simplest solutions available which justifies it price tag of $150 per month. The only downside to not using it is the tight integration which would be required between your website and Instapage in order to get to work seamlessly
  5. Logic-Hop (WordPress Sites) – If you have a website build on WordPress then you can utilize this $100/year plugin to quickly customize your landing pages based upon various user attributes. Based upon your needs and requirements you can utilize this
  6. Optimizely, VWO and Mutiny– Optimizely and VWO are visual website optimizers which allow you to personalize your website landing page by a huge number of variables as well as allow you to run A/B Tests as well. These are slightly more advanced as they require a larger engineering effort, but the returns are justified as well. MutinyHQ is a purposefully built for personalization of your landing page through dozens of data integrations already available
  7. Custom Coding – Based upon your website back-end you can do basic personalization based upon geo-location, data providers, user session etc. These can provide you with high level of customization but you would require dedicated resources to manage the additional engineering effort. On-page personalization can be achieved through basic javascript as well
  8. Marketo/Salesforce/Oracle Bluekai (Large orgs) – Larger Organizations should consider using Marketo or Salesforce which can offer hundreds of features for personalization and reporting. Its always better to have one marketing platform which can integrate across all the services and Marketo & Salesforce are more suitable candidates for them

Q. Where do we get the personalization data?
Ans. Companies like Clearbit, Zoominfo gave you large amounts of data of any user visiting your website through easily consumable API. You can see the value of the data based upon their pricing, a cool $100 for every 1000 requests where as Zoominfo charges $4.9k for 5000 contacts.

The above reasoning also applies why websites want to implement social logins. Social Logins have been around for a long time. It makes it easier for us to login without remembering the user ID-password combo every time. But companies can utilize the data from Facebook and Google to build a better customer experience around you. I am sure I must have missed hundreds of other small ways you can implement personalization but I hope I have covered the easiest ways. Let me know your thoughts either way.

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