Guy Yalif, Intellimize CEO
     Guy Yalif, CEO/Co-founder

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The perception is you need lots of planning and effort to start personalizing your site, but in reality, it’s best to keep it simple to start.

The Top Five Myths About Website Personalization

There is broad agreement among marketers that website personalization drives higher conversion rates and more revenue than showing the same site to everyone. However, the majority of marketers have yet to fully realize the potential of personalization. We regularly see misperceptions about personalization from some marketers, even while others are enjoying great gains. We’d like to shine some light on a few of the most common myths about personalization.

Myth 1: It will take me a long time to get started with website personalization

Personalization needn’t take a long time to put in place. For example, most of Intellimize’s customers began their first campaign within days of becoming a customer.

The perception is often that you need lots of planning and effort, but in reality, it’s best to keep things simple to start. In fact, we recommend you start by identifying three elements of a landing page or homepage to personalize (ones that you believe will have an impact) and test three different versions of each element at the same time. This allows you to get up and running quickly and helps you identify the elements of the page are having the biggest impact on performance.

Real-world Example: Perkville, an all-in-one referral and rewards program to help businesses drive customer loyalty and grow revenue, went from ideation to setting their first campaign live in days. Within three months they had tested 39 different ideas and saw 70% lift across their send referral flow.

Myth 2: My audience segments have to be rigorously defined to use personalization

Predictive personalization does not require you to predefine segments, unless you want to. Unlike rules-based personalization, predictive personalization automatically discovers segments by observing how your ideas perform for different audiences. These AI-based systems explore all possible combinations of visitor attributes to discover which of your messages perform best for each. There is no need to pre-define segments and specify messaging for each segment (unless you optionally want to). Predictive personalization often delivers new insights about your audience.

Real-world Example: Chime, an online bank that helps its members achieve financial wellness, learned that people responded to headlines differently on different devices. The predictive personalization system automatically discovered this and adjusted traffic to reflect this insight. Chime did not need to set up any audience rules about device type.

Different Headlines Performed Best Based on Device Type

Best Performer: Desktop Best Performer: Mobile Best Performer: Tablet
44% lift over
existing headline
13% lift over
existing headline
623% lift over
existing headline

Myth 3: I need first-party data to begin personalizing my site

First party data can almost always help improve performance, but it’s not required. Contextual data such as geography, device type, time of day, first visit/repeat visit, day of week, and device type is available on every visit to your site. It’s easy to overlook the value of this contextual data because it seems so basic on the surface; however it’s common for these attributes to enable double digit lift for marketers.

Real-world example:

A client of ours recently tested pre-populating city and state information in online order forms to see if prepopulating improved conversion rates. It turns out that during the day pre-populating the information generated more lift. During the early evening, which are a busy time for this client, hiding these fields (and only asking for zip code) performed better. Most marketers would not have thought that there would be a correlation with time of day for this kind of experiment.

Myth 4: Website personalization requires technical and engineering expertise

This myth is partly true. Building your own personalization engine in-house is resource intensive and requires specialized expertise. Integrating your internal systems and programming machine learning algorithms can be time consuming.

On the other hand, some third-party solutions can be implemented by adding a single line of code to your site. With this approach, getting started with personalization can be as simple as providing creative assets like headlines, images, and body copy variations to a trusted partner. If you have bigger, more involved ideas, most agencies and some vendors will also provide coding support to bring those ideas to life.

Myth 5: Website personalization will create inconsistency in our messaging

Your messaging needn’t be monotonal to be consistent. Personalizing your site experience enables you to engage each of your customers in ways that are relevant to them individually. Each potential customer has different questions and considerations in their mind before making a conversion decision. Personalization enables you to take a consistent message and focus on the aspects of that message that are more impactful to each individual visitor. Most importantly, you define all of the variations a visitor could possibly see, so you have complete control over your messaging and how it will be delivered via personalization.

We see real success among conversion rate optimizers that use personalization. We hope we’ve demystified personalization some and helped you think about how you can apply use it to achieve your marketing goals.