Three Ways You Can Create Responsive Content
In most marketing scenarios, the visitor is unknown to you — their session is anonymous. How, then, do you achieve “anonymous personalization”?
- May. 13 2014
Website personalization is not new — content management systems have been claiming this functionality for years. However this ability was always predicated on self identification: the user logs into their account, and this identifies who they are. However, most marketing scenarios, the visitor is unknown to you — their session is anonymous. How, then, do you achieve “anonymous personalization”?
To do this, you can draw clues from three general domains of information.
Three Domains of Visitor Information:
1. Their Web Request
When a visitor loads a page on your website, their browsing device has sent a request for content. In this request is quite a bit of information.
- Their IP address, from which you can geo-locate their rough location.
- Their browsing device profile. At the very least, this will identify their browser, and in many cases it will identify their viewing parameters (screen size, etc.)
- Their language preferences. Often, multiple languages are specified, in preferential order.
- The website or referring URL from which they linked to your site. Alternately, this is empty, which often indicates they are an “organic” visitor that proactively typed your URL in the address bar.
- Any tracking or analytics code in the URL which would tie this visit to a specific advertising or social media campaign.
- Their connection speed (while technically not sent with the request, it can often be derived).
- The search keyword they used to find your page in search engine results.
2. Their Browsing Behavior
After receiving the initial inbound request, you can track the visitor’s behavior during that session and answer such questions as:
- On what page did they initially enter your site?
- What content are they interested in? Specifically, how many pages have they visited in Content Area X, or how many pages have they visited that contain Tag Y?
- Have they visited Page X?
- Have they filled out Form X?
- How many total pages have they visited?
- What is their total time on your site?
- Did they use the search feature on your site? What did they search for?
3. Global Information
Beyond the visitor-centric information of their request and behavior, there is more site-centric, or global information available:
- What time of day is it?
- Is it a weekday or weekend?
- How is the site performing? How much load is it under?
- Do you have new content available since the last time they visited?
The above information can be detected, combined, and analyzed to provide remarkable insights on the current visitor’s audience and context.
Now you can make educated assumptions about the visitor and their needs but what should you do with this information?
You adapt your content to their needs. You change your website in small or significant ways in real-time in order to present the visitor with content and an experience that matches their specific needs at that specific moment.
- You replace default content elements with content created specifically for that audience.
- You rearrange navigation to highlight options they might be interested in.
- You direct them to custom initial landing pages that would appeal to them.
- You show or hide paragraphs of text in narrative sections.
- You alter graphical and photographical elements to those designed to appeal to them specifically.
In the process, your website ceases to become a single thing. There is a “default”view where –barring any detection or analysis of the current visitor — your website displays “default”content.
However, in the ideal situation, every page on your website becomes an on-the-fly aggregation of content specifically designed to appeal to this visitor in this context at this specific moment.
From a content perspective, your website becomes a bottomless well from which you assemble dynamic, targeted experiences which might be different for each visitor.