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Kara Andersen
May 23, 2024
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Five easy ways to start personalizing your content right now

If you clicked on this article, you already know that getting the right message to the right person at the right time helps drive conversions and boost the overall ROI of your content.

But where to begin? Plotting out your personalization strategy can feel overwhelming when there are so many opportunities. How do you know what will drive the most value? 

We’ve rounded up five simple but highly-effective ways you can start personalizing your content right now. These are common use cases we see among Optimizely customers when they want to provide more targeted experiences, whether they've been running personalization campaigns for a while or are just getting started.

1. Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral targeting shows visitors a personalized experience based on how they behave on your website. For instance, when a visitor shows interest in a specific product, you can immediately adjust their site experience to that interest by showing them the same type of product again.

Example: A visitor clicks through an apparel site and views two specific shoe products, but doesn't take further action. When the visitor returns to the homepage later, the content updates to show the shoes they were shopping earlier.

How to set it up in Optimizely:

  1. Set up a page for your product detail pages. in Optimizely Web Personalization, go to Implementation > Pages. Click Create New Page and choose a name that encompasses all your product pages (e.g. "Product Detail Page").
  2. Create tags for your product detail pages. On the Product Detail Page you just created, set up tags to capture relevant product information, including product ID, product name, and product image URL. Make sure these tags are implemented across all your product pages.
  3. Set up an event for viewing a product. Go to Implementation > Events. Create a new Custom Event and name it something like "Product Viewed." This event should be triggered whenever a visitor views a product detail page.
  4. Create an audience for visitors who viewed specific products. Go to Audiences. Click Create New Audience and name it "Recently Viewed Products" (or something descriptive). Set up the audience conditions to include visitors who have triggered the "Product Viewed" event at least once in the recent past.
  5. Create a personalization campaign. Navigate to Campaigns and click Create New Campaign. Name your campaign (e.g. "Homepage - Recently Viewed Products"). For the Page, select your website's homepage. For the Audience, select the "Recently Viewed Products" audience you created.
  6. Design the personalized experience. Within your campaign, create a new Experience. Then use the editor to modify the section of your homepage where you want to display the recently viewed products. Use the captured Product Name and Product Image URL tags to dynamically display the products the visitor viewed previously.
  7. When you're ready, set the campaign live (don't forget to test first!)!

2. Symmetric Messaging

When you use symmetric messaging, you're setting expectations in ad and email campaigns that match website experiences. When visitors click from an ad hosted on a search engine, social network, or third-party site to your page, the CTA, messaging, and imagery they see on your site matches their ad experience.

Example: An activewear company sends customers an email promotion about a two-day discount on yoga gear. When a customer who received the promotion visits their website, they see yoga products in the homepage header, and a banner displaying the discount code.

How to set it up in Optimizely: 

  1. Use UTM parameters for tracking. Implement UTM parameters to track which specific ad campaigns are driving traffic to your site.
  2. Create an audience based on a UTM parameter. In Optimizely, go to the Audiences dashboard and click Create New Audience. Give your new audience a descriptive name (e.g. "Facebook Campaign Visitors"). In the conditions section, select the URL condition and choose the UTM parameter you want to target. Then enter its value. For example, if you wanted to target visitors who came to your website from a Facebook campaign with the UTM parameter “utm_campaign=summersale,” you would enter “summersale” in the Value field.
  3. Create a personalization campaign. Once you've created your audience, follow steps #5, 6, and 7 above to create a new personalization campaign, design the experience, and set it live!

3. Category Affinity

You can use previous browsing behavior to understand visitors' preferences and show preferred product categories later in their journey, or during future visits. You can do this in Optimizely by using existing events to target based on existing page views and more.

Example: A customer visits a specific product page on a marketing technology company’s website twice in one week, and when they navigate back to the homepage, they see imagery, a CTA, or offers related exclusively to the product.

To set it up in Optimizely, use events to track page views for your product pages. Create an audience based on existing page views, and build the personalized experience.

4. Loyalty Promotion

You can use existing clues or triggers to offer incentives to increase usage of loyalty tier benefits and move customers up-tier. 

Example: An airline customer uses their site to search for a flight from Chicago to LA, but doesn’t complete a booking. When they later return, the airline shows them a banner that as a 1K member they get free checked bags for a flight to LA.

You can track loyalty tier clues/triggers via events in Optimizely, or using attributes if you need to pull the data in from another platform. 

5. Merchandising

You can tailor the experience on your homepage to an existing audience, using a multi-armed bandit (MAB) to understand which experience customers prefer. Set different images or headlines as a MAB depending on the key audiences you've likely already identified and segmented, to let visitors choose their personalization preferences.

Example: For a home goods retailer, sub-$100 product purchases is an important segment. But the team isn't sure which image to use on the homepage to promote those products. So they set it up as a multi-armed bandit targeted to that audience.

How to set it up in Optimizely:

  1. Create an MAB optimization. Go to Web Personalization (or Experiments) > Create > Multi-armed Bandit. Give your MAB a name, description, and URL to target, then click Create Bandit. Create at least two variations in the editor.
  2. Target the MAB to the desired audience. Click on Audiences, and select the existing audience you want to target from the list.
  3. Choose your primary metric. Click on Metrics to choose your primary metric, which is used to determine how traffic is distributed across variations. 
  4. Test and launch!

Want more help? Sign up for our free personalization course through the Optimizely Academy. Log in or register here to access eLearning, Office Hours, and our roster of instructor-led sessions.

May 23, 2024


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