Today’s digital users often look for specific attributes on the sites they frequent. The ability to find the right information quickly and easily sets brands apart. Brands that invest in personalized user experiences can encourage engagement and conversions while maintaining a high level of user and customer satisfaction.
Personalization has been around since before digital marketing. As technology makes customer data increasingly available, personalization opportunities seem endless. Marketers sometimes don’t know where to focus. Some personalization efforts reach their intended audience and pay off in a big way, while others seem ineffective and waste money.
One marketing technology company studied the effects of personalization in eCommerce. They analyzed over 2 billion users and 120 million purchases to study the link between personalization and revenue uplift.
The study found the most important components of personalization are scarcity, social proofing, and urgency. Focusing on these aspects can improve a business’ revenue per visitor (RPV) by over 6%.
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- Scarcity – Personalize user experience by notifying consumers when the items they’re interested in are about to be out of stock. When a customer looks at a pair of shoes and three days later receives a text notification there are only two left in her size, she feels increased urgency to complete her purchase. This tactic lifts RPV by 2.9%.
- Social Proofing – This tactic involves using the behavior of others to influence conversions. When one person had badly stained teeth and sees amazing improvement through using a specific tooth whitener, the story makes others more likely to buy the same product. When consumers look for new headphones and see what others ultimately purchased, it influences their decisions. Social proofing generates a 2.3% lift in RPV.
- Urgency – When there’s a deadline, users are less likely to put off making a decision. Messages like “Act in the next two hours four minutes to receive it by tomorrow” promote urgency. Urgency generates a 1.5% RPV lift.
When customers leave items in a shopping cart, often they return to the vendor knowing there was something they wanted, but they don’t remember where it was or how to find it. Rediscovering those items in the cart gives a feeling of relief and delight.
Examples of Personalization
People know companies gather data on their online behavior, and they’re okay with it. 75% of consumers say they want retailers to use their personal information to improve their shopping experience.
The right personalized content can make all the difference. Using a person’s name or location makes a great first impression. Here are some examples of how successful apps go beyond a user’s name for improved personalization:
- Location-Based Activity Guides – Airbnb provides an extremely personal user experience for travelers. If you book a stay in New York City, the app immediately launches their New York City guidebook. When you’re there, the app recommends locations within driving distance, suggests places to eat, and offers reviews of local activities.
- Local News Updates – 49% of users choose to receive notifications and emergency alerts from local agencies.
- Product Recommendations from Previous Purchases – Amazon personalizes content by showing users choices related to items they viewed. If consumers started to look for a new toaster on their breaks, then forgot about it when they went back to work, they’re reminded next time they open the app. They don’t have to start their search all over again, because their choices are front and center.
Other businesses can gain repeat customers by doing the same. One report says 56% of online shoppers repeatedly visit sites that recommend products based on their previous searches.
- History-Related Content – YouTube pays attention to the types of videos consumers prefer and suggests others of the same type. If a user spends several minutes watching a livestream of bears in Alaska, YouTube might suggest other livestreams or other video that involves bears.
- User-generated personalization – Facebook lets users decide who they want to see posts from, what notifications they receive, and how their timeline displays information. Users like when they can create their own experience.
Six Ways to Personalize for Higher Returns
Designers are always looking for ways to create a better user experience. Personalization is one area that offers the greatest return. Users are more likely to go back to websites where they feel remembered.
That feeling is created by elements based on data that stores user behavior. Use tools such as Google Analytics to gather information on the following:
- Search and keywords
- Ad clicks
- Buying history
- Repeat visits
- Location, time, and date
- Demographics such as age and gender
Then add personalization elements that meet your goals. Here are some of the most effective personalization methods.
- Enable User-Created Profiles – When users make their own profiles, they choose the website options that most appeal to them. With music apps, users choose music that most appeals to them and receive suggestions based on their preferences. They give the app data necessary to make suggestions, and users feel as if the app knows them.
- Gather Location Data – Weather, map, and news apps can’t function unless they know where a user is located. Other apps can use this information to personalize user experience. When users go for a strenuous hike on their vacation, mobile apps might suggest a nearby spa with hot springs and massage services.
- Incorporate Seasons, Holidays, and Current Events – Use imagery and language that makes users feel you’re in their shoes. This often creates a sense of urgency, since there’s the implied idea that spring sales or holiday deals won’t be around for long.
- Protect Personal Information – Make sure users are aware the information you gather to improve their user experience will never be used against them. Protect email addresses and personal information from security breaches, and let customers know the steps you’re taking to keep their information safe.
- Build Relationships – When customers think you know their tastes and preferences, it leads to loyalty and trust. Use recommendations to keep users interested. Make suggestions based on behavior. Design a website that is constantly adapting to your user’s changing needs.
- Add reviews to leverage social proof – People are more likely to buy a product when they see positive recommendations from others who have bought it. Users also like being able to serve as a resource to others by reviewing products they have purchased.
Personalization takes marketing to a whole new level. Technology automates processes that impact users wherever they are, on any device. Businesses can dramatically improve customer relationships and increase conversions by personalizing each aspect of their user experience.