Personalisation – web design for an audience of one

Everyone is talking about personalisation in web design, but how is it achieved? We're going to shed some light on the nuts and bolts of personalisation in this blog so you can begin to truly engage with your target market and generate those all-important leads!

“If we have 4.5 million customers, we shouldn’t have one store. We should have 4.5 million stores.”
Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon. 1998

Personalisation is not a new concept. Branding has been tapping into the human desire for customisation and individualism for a long time now. But personalisation ramps this up a gear by aspiring to communicate to an audience of one.

In a nutshell, personalisation is understanding that your customer base is made up of individuals who have their own specific motivations for engaging, or not engaging, with your product. By understanding their individual needs and expectations, you can attract better quality leads, design tailored customer journeys for higher conversion rates and nurture long-lasting relationships of real value with returning customers. It all sounds great, right? But how is personalisation achieved?

Personalisation web design for an audience of one MadBit Web Development and Web Design Dublin

The nuts and bolts of personalisation

Have you noticed that when you’re on Netflix, scrolling through the catalogue of shows and movies, that the thumbnails are sometimes different to the last time you were signed-in? Now you’ll often see a secondary or tertiary actor in the main preview image instead of the official poster. Why is this? The clever people at Netflix have personalised the thumbnail for you based on actors that appear in other movies/shows you watch! Netflix also uses personalised artwork to target you based on your genre and theme preferences.

Netflix is a master of personalisation, but the magic ingredient to its success is no secret. It simply knows its customers. Personalisation can only begin when you understand what it is your customer is interested in. What drives them? What makes them tick? The first step to personalisation is to identify your customer base and then segment them into meaningful groups.

A few ways you can segment your customers

  • Geography – This is an obvious one and simple to start with. Designing a personalised experience based on geography is vital in industries such as travel, but it can be a powerful way to engage for just about any company with international customers. Take Spotify for example, if you’re an Irish user you probably have been recommend the playlist “Fresh Breath of Eire” at some point.
  • New customers/Returning customers – If you know someone is familiar with your offering because they have visited your website before, then you should use behavioural analytics to push the content they are most likely to engage with based on past actions. As for new customers, say hello! Welcome them! Give them the tour.
  • Industry – If your customers tend to come from very specific industries you could personalise their experience with you based on this. This is extremely effective in B2B because you are immediately able to filter your product offering, reducing the customer journey and enhancing customer satisfaction.
  • Time of day – Optimizely had a fantastic homepage that appeared only for customers visiting its website late at night. The headline lead with, “Still awake?” and the background had a darkly lit scene of a woman at a computer. A small, but charming use of personalisation.

Personalisation in web design

If you are looking for inspiration as to what to personalise in your content, just take a look at the graph below. It shows what elements of creative content companies decided to personalise in 2017:

personalisation in web design

Nearly every aspect of your website’s design can be personalised, but of course that doesn’t mean it all should be. Ideally, you will pick the most impactful elements to customise and retain your brands overall feel and voice, so visitors know that they are still on the right website! But how do you do that? Here are three technical foundations to personalisation in web design that you should be aware of before you dive in:

Behavioural tracking

So, you know that you are getting visitors to your website. Great! But what are they actually doing when they get there? Are they leaving immediately because they were expecting something else? Are they going straight to your contact page? Are they looking at your service pages? How long do they spend reading your blogs? Do they put something in the shopping cart only to abandon it two minutes later? Behavioural tracking allows you to access this information, so you can make informed decisions when interacting with your customers rather than shooting blind and hoping for the best. The most popular and free behavioural tracking out there at the moment is Google Analytics.

Personalisation – web design for an audience of one - Madbit Web development and web design - Dublin 1

A/B testing

A/B testing is a simple way of testing out two versions of something on your audience to find out which is the most effective. By randomising who gets to see which version, there is no confusion for the customer. This can be used to analyse the performance of something as simple as the colour of your CTA buttons or the headline for your homepage. It is a good way to get a feel for which marketing strategies are getting the best results. However, it can be a slow process. Ideally, you will only change one variable at a time in an A/B test to ensure meaningful results.

Machine learning

Machine learning is powerful and leaves A/B testing in the dust. It is able to collect, interpret and act on data in real-time. While a customer browses different pages of your website, machine learning technology can interpret this behaviour and engage with the customer by providing relevant information or guidance to enhance their experience. The result is a dynamic website that automatically responds to the customer’s preferences. The fantastic thing about machine learning is that, as the term suggests, it really does learn. It can predict results based on historical data and keep you up-to-date with changes, so you are always ready for the next opportunity.

Believe personalisation is the way to go? We certainly do! If you would like to have a conversation about connecting the dots between customer research and UX design, then get in contact with the MadBit team today.