Personalization is the practice of dynamically tailoring your site to the wants and needs of each user.
You’re already used to a personalized experience when you visit Amazon, Pandora or Netflix. Their recommendations are a valuable discovery mechanism that connects you with the content and products you want. Personalizing your own site will give visitors a more relevant and engaging experience and is one of the best ways to boost loyalty and conversion.
Boost Social Engagement
One way to personalize your site is rotating your social calls-to-action based on what you know about the user. We’ve been analyzing data from our share, follow, and trending content tools, and we’ve found some interesting results.
Users who arrive on your site from social networks are twice as likely to share as those who arrive from search. In addition, users are more likely to follow you on their second or third visit to your site, rather than their first.
This has diminishing returns however; frequent visitors are more likely to already be following you, or have had enough chances to follow that bugging them further won’t help. You know they’re a fan because they keep coming back, so prompt them to share and recommend your site to their friends.
Understand Your Site
You should also consider the age of your pages as news tends to have a shorter shelf-life than retail products and reference content (video varies). Users are a lot less likely to share if they land on a stale page from search, or if they’re late in the social cycle. Your best bet is to get them to a fresher page on a related topic (maybe a follow-up article?) and see if they’ll share that one.
We’ve also found that users on their second page within a visit to your site are much more likely to keep on clicking, and extend their session if you can show them the right content.
Put Your Data to Work
Armed with this information you can make choices to show the right call-to-action to the right user at the right time. If you have any clues to their interests, or have segmented them on prior visits, you can take it even further and personalize your hero image, recirculation and recommendations by topic. There’s some work involved here but it can really boost your performance if you get it right.
Editor’s Note: This is the first post in a series about personalization. We’re looking for ways to help, so stay tuned to continue learning about personalization!