Personalization Starts With The Individual Persona (Not with the Content . . . gasp!)


When delivering a personalized UX – do you focus on the content or on the experience? Personalization starts with persona. And how we profile our persona should also drive how we build our personalization strategy.

In this rich post, chuck full of case studies and statistics (two things close to my heart), Shanelle Mullin, blogger for ConversionXL, argues that content personalization is not experience personalization.

What does she mean?

Well, when we think personalization we usually think “real-time individualization of a site to suit each visitor’s unique needs and guide them through a custom conversion funnel.”

See these two B2C ecommerce examples:

This can be seen to a great extent on B2B sites as well, with tools such as Real Time Personalization by Marketo and Brightinfo.

Indeed, personalization is everywhere these days. And there are certain tactics that we see more than others. According to survey by Evergage, provider of a real-time personalization platform, the greatest use of personalized web messages are via pop-ups (53% of those surveyed use this), inline content (inserted text or images, at 53%), and information bars at 43%.

Personalization is popular for good reason. It has proven to have a dramatic impact on conversion.

However, when personalization is focused on the content and not the experience – the user experience can be as negative when done wrong as it is positive when done right.

So how to avoid doing it wrong? What are the two major pitfalls to avoid?

  1. Focusing only on content and not the persona

  2. Segmenting audiences ineffectively.

Number one is about realizing that it’s not only about “the right message at the right time to the right visitor.” We need to make sure that the personalized experience is not just right, but is remembered, understood, helpful, and delights the visitor.

One way to increase the chances for successful experience personalization is to look at segmentation through a different prism. Namely, it’s not just demographics, firmographics, or geography.

It’s also about previous content consumption, new vs. returning visitors, and mapping the user’s journey before they got to that piece of content. This way we look at our visitor as not just a consumer of content but as someone who is experiencing our brand in the most impactful, and ultimately – converting way.

Want to deliver impactful experiences? Get in touch and let’s do great marketing together!