Inspiration for Personalization

  • Updated
  • Optimizely Web Personalization

Optimizely Web Personalization lets you edit and deliver experiences at any time. This ability to deliver granular campaigns lets you devote time to creating, managing, and scaling your symmetric messaging with some of the methods suggested. You can also assess the impact of your campaigns on different audiences to adjust your strategy. 

Uploaded Audiences and Dynamic Customer Profiles (DCP) let you deliver messaging based on customer data. With this feature and integrations with platforms like Demandbase or Skymosity, you can build data-rich campaigns using behavioral re-targeting and contextual empathy.

Three core tactics for delivering personalized experiences are symmetric messaging, behavioral re-targeting, and contextual empathy. You can use the scenarios below as a starting point to brainstorm campaigns. Do not implement these ideas without researching your business needs and customer behaviors. 

Many examples in this article use third-party data and technical expertise. Although the methods were simple, these campaigns were difficult to implement and change. After launch, adding different experiences or delivering messages to additional audiences required significant effort and resources.

Symmetric messaging

Symmetric messaging is setting expectations in ad campaigns that match website experiences. When visitors click from an ad hosted on a search engine, social network, or third-party site to your landing page, their experience should be seamless. The CTAs, messaging, and imagery should meet the interest they expressed.

PPC landing page headline

Optimizely Web Experimentation used its A/B Testing product to test symmetric messaging by sending traffic to a PPC landing page from several search engine marketing campaigns. These campaigns used a few different terms to advertise: Split testing tool, A/B testing tool, and Multivariate testing tool.

The company hypothesized that matching the landing page headline to the ad visitors clicked would improve form submissions. This simple test was designed to create an empathetic experience.

The campaign

When a visitor clicked an ad that said A/B testing tool, they saw a landing page headline announcing The #1 A/B Testing Tool. If they clicked a Split testing tool ad, they saw The #1 Split Testing Tool.

Visitors in the control group were not given a personalized experience. They landed on a page that read Test it Out for Free no matter which ad they clicked.

Interpreting results

Optimizely lifted its form submission rate from 12.21% to 16.99%. This improvement translated down the funnel. Sales leads increased by 39.1% without additional ad spend.

Personalization inspiration

Here are a few suggestions for scaling symmetric messaging beyond the landing page:

  • Scale for SEM campaigns – The use case above involves three SEM queries and one landing page. Your company may use many more search terms to drive traffic. Scale your symmetric messaging campaign to capture more of these terms. As you deliver targeted experiences with more granularity, an increasing percentage of your visitors receive a better experience. By scaling symmetry, you optimize the performance of your media campaigns.
  • Scale for multiple channels – Make your landing page symmetric with display ads and social and email campaigns. These channels allow more nuanced messaging and imagery than SEM to create more compelling experiences.
  • Scale across your site – Extend symmetric messaging beyond your landing page. Adjust CTAs and keywords across your site to deepen visitor experience. Align value propositions on your home page, pricing page, and product pages with your media campaigns. Weaving symmetric messaging into visitor experience maximizes your site's potential to drive conversions.

Prioritized product listings

Secret Escapes, a travel site that provides members with exclusive discounts, also tested symmetric messaging. The company sent traffic to its PPC landing page from SEM campaigns that advertise New York or All-Inclusive vacations. They hypothesized that prioritizing listings for visitors who clicked on certain ads would improve conversions.

The campaign

When visitors clicked an NYC ad, they saw a Secret Escapes Home page with NYC listings at the top. When they clicked an all-inclusive ad, all-inclusive vacation offers were prioritized.

Other visitors saw the default experience: a home page with vacation listings worldwide with only timeliness of the deal for organization.

Interpreting results

Showing visitors a product list curated to their preferences increased conversions across the funnel. Conversions between the sale page and the detailed listings increased by 24.4%. Click-throughs to the purchase page rose by 30%. Completed purchases improved by 210%.

Symmetric messaging helped customers find and buy the vacations they were interested in.

Personalization inspiration

  • Diversify SEM symmetry – Try targeting multiple paid search terms. For example, Secret Escapes might curate its home page offers based on the last three search terms that brought a visitor to the site.
  • Build symmetry into a timeline – Limit symmetric messaging to certain time-sensitive interests. If Secret Escapes knows that spa vacation customers stay interested for a week after the search, they could target offers based on spa vacation clicks for the next seven days.

Behavioral re-targeting

Behavioral re-targeting shows visitors content similar to past browsing. When a visitor to your site shows interest in a certain product, you can immediately adjust the site experience to that interest by showing the same type of product again.

Optimizely Personalization lets you capture and target customer interests in real time. You can behaviorally re-target for visitor interests in the same browsing session. It gathers historical data to help you build audiences to segment and deliver personalized experiences to these visitors in the future.

Past purchasers

The Clymb, a daily deal site that focuses on products for an active lifestyle, used behavioral re-targeting to incentivize a segment of its customers.

When the company analyzed its data about customer purchases, it discovered a pattern. Customers who had previously purchased were more likely to buy again than new customers, including any product in different sizes. The Clymb decided to use behavioral re-targeting to engage these customers.

The campaign

The company hypothesized that they could increase sales by targeting a promotion to customers who had previously purchased. To test this theory, they delivered an email campaign advertising a desirable product to these customers and paired it with promotions on social media.

They also created a symmetric experience on their landing page.

Interpreting results

Sales increased by 10% with this campaign by behaviorally re-targeting customers based on their past behavior.

The company found that this outcome was fairly common for their personalization efforts.

Personalization inspiration

  • Recent browsing patterns Suggest content based on You recently viewed and might also like. In ecommerce, shoppers who display an innate browsing behavior (viewing more than one product at a time) are statistically likely to purchase. Encourage your visitors to browse.
  • Urgency, discounts, and sales – Use urgency messaging or specialized discounted cross-sells (bundles) to simultaneously increase cart size and conversion rates. This is useful for the following situations:
    • A visitor has browsed a product multiple times.
    • A visitor who did not purchase the first time returns to your site.
    • A visitor adds products to the cart without purchasing.

Contextual empathy

Contextual empathy adjusts your site's tone, imagery, and navigation based on a visitor's context. The place a visitor is coming from can be literal, such as a particular city or country. It can also be metaphorical, such as a device, a referral site, or a set of expectations.

If you know where your visitors are coming from, you also know something about their preferences. Adjust your site to your visitors' contexts to deliver a high-value, personalized experience.

Visitor expectations

AdRoll, an ad retargeting platform, personalized its site for the different business contexts of its visitors. Small businesses (SMB) want to run quickly, while enterprise clients are used to long approval and implementation cycles.

AdRoll presented different CTAs to match the mindsets of SMB and enterprise customers.

The company used several forms of data to deliver this campaign. They combined internal research about how different user personas consume their content with an IP address identification service (Demandbase) and query parameters. They used this data to infer whether a visitor came from an SMB or enterprise and display the relevant content.

The campaign

SMB visitors who viewed the home page saw a CTA suggesting they Try it out. Enterprise visitors were encouraged to Request a demo.

Personalization inspiration

  • Mobile
    • Streamline the experience for mobile visitors, who usually have less time to browse. Present suggestions based on past behaviors.
    • Provide social sharing buttons to visitors who like to share or promote content.
    • Make CTA buttons rounder and more finger-friendly for sites that are more difficult to navigate on mobile.
    • Promote phone conversion channels.
  • Location
    • Adjust content and imagery based on your visitor's location. Many organizations achieve better performance by adjusting landing pages to local preferences.
    • Present content that is relevant for certain geographies. For example, a visitor in a foreign country or rural region may be interested in your store's shipping policy.
  • New and returning users
    • Show social proof to new visitors who may be less ready to complete a transaction. Consider surfacing validating information to build trust.
    • Streamline the funnel for returning users who may be familiar with your site and its offerings, especially if your funnel requires multiple touch-points.
  • Visitor cohorts
    • Segment your visitor cohorts to meet different customers' needs. For example, you can present visitors with a new user experience on their first, second, and third visits. Present a different experience for the fourth or another visit.
  • Referral Site
    • Present content that anticipates the needs implied by the site your visitors are coming from. For example, if a visitor arrived from a comparative review of your service against a competitor's, you might present information highlighting those differences or use language from that review.