Matching the right piece of content with the interests of individual site visitors should be a strong priority for content managers — and that’s one reason why real-time content personalization has become so popular.

Personalized content makes your website stickier, as visitors who are engaged with compelling, tailored material will stay longer.

The right content also provides people with the kind of deeply relevant information that incentivizes them to act.

Perhaps even more importantly, content personalization can provide a significant competitive advantage. The majority of websites still offer static, one-size-fits-all content.

Offer visitors something more dynamic that matches their specific interests and you’re more likely to earn their business in return.

So what’s the art and science behind effective content personalization? Let’s take a closer look at the basics.

Personalizing content through referrals, searches, site history and other techniques

First time visitors to your site may seem like an enigma, but there is useful information you can use to personalize their experience.

Real-time identification of referral sites and keyword searches can help you assess their interests and get the right content front and center.

One example: If you’re in finance and the search phrase is “how to get a mortgage,” delivering the appropriate content to that visitor immediately is critical.

It’s not the most highly-targeted approach, but it’s often an invaluable first step toward fuller personalization. Once these visitors return, of course, you’ll have more information at your disposal, including how they interacted with your site on the previous visit.

If you’re an attorney and your site visitor previously spent an unusual amount of time evaluating your state divorce law page, real-time personalization allows you to instantly provide relevant information.

Other common techniques for delivering personalized content include evaluating user location, device, demographic data and metrics such as time spent on particular page areas.


Real-time personalization channels

Survey results recently published by eMarketer offer some interesting insights into how marketers deploy real-time personalization.

Websites are the primary channel for personalization efforts, cited by 44-percent of respondents — a far greater figure than those using mobile websites (17-percent) or mobile apps (9-percent).

Overall, eMarketer says 57-percent of U.S. marketing managers are using some form of personalized digital content based on real-time interactions.

Pop-up messages, surveys and callouts are all common vehicles for delivering personalized messages or content.

Most encouragingly, survey data indicated that nearly three-in-four site visitors saw deeper engagement with personalized content. and more than half of marketers report greater conversion rates.


The takeaway

Investing in real-time content personalization is a win win situation for marketers and consumers. They access the information they need faster, while you benefit from happier visitors and more conversions.