The best websites have mastered A/B testing, but they’re still leaving a lot of performance on the table. A/B testing without personalization is like peanut butter without jelly. If option A wins a test with 60% of your audience, the other 40% of your audience who preferred option B are left out in the cold when you take it away from them. That’s a bummer and your one-size-fits all website is doing a big disservice to a large chunk of your audience. With personalization you can have the best of both worlds by showing each visitor what they want most. Your visitors will have a more engaging experience and you’ll smile when you log into your analytics dashboard and see the results.
That sounds good in theory, but how do you know whom to show variation A or B? You need to dig to your test results with audience analytics and find out which types of people preferred either variation. What does each group have in common? Are they all returning visitors? Is there a connection to whether they found your site from social or from search? Do they have specific interests in common? Is there a geographic correlation?
Once you’ve figured out who wants what, you need to use segmentation to bucket your audience into groups based on which factors were related to them preferring one variation over another. Then you target each segment with the message that resonated with them. You can do this with AddThis Audience Targeting, setting up separate messages that target your audience segments with messages and calls to action that are right up their alley.
It’s cool that you’re now reaping the rewards of personalization, but you need to know that this isn’t a one-time thing. People’s interests are changing constantly with the seasons and current events and you need to stay on top of them. You need to be continuously testing – vary your messages as well as your segments to see if you can do better, especially if your performance starts dipping because, for example, your returning audience gets used to the rules you set up for them and are ready for something fresh. It’s also possible that you can improve on your first pass at personalization with a bit of experimentation.
We’re just scratching the surface here and we’re going to cover this topic again with more AddThis pro tips. But now you know there’s a huge opportunity to drive more engagement on your website by understanding the needs of your different visitors and giving them what they want, instead of the one-size-fits-all site experience most websites offer right now.