How to Optimize Personalization On a Website

4 min read

Published on May 3, 2024

Solutions: DXP – Digital Experience Platforms
How to Optimize Personalization On a Website

Personalization tips to elevate your users' experience on your website and keep them coming back

One of the most fundamental and important goals every organization has for its website is for users to return and visit the site again. How can your organization ensure that this happens? By deepening your understanding of your user’s wants and needs when they visit your site, and using this information to provide a personalized website they want to keep coming back to.  

Adding website personalization is a trend many companies have recently shifted to due to the benefits received. What are some of these?  

  • When personalizing a website, organizations identify not only the behaviors of their target audiences but they can also pinpoint the site pages that will help audiences engage with the desired content and tasks.  
  • Displaying customized content to users that aligns with their needs will not only attract them back to the website but also provide more opportunities for engagement and conversions.  

This sounds like a win-win situation, so what is the problem? Due to the availability of so many open-source tools that can be used to personalize websites, many companies face challenges in determining not only which tool to select for use but also how to implement it successfully so that website personalization is continuously improved for an optimal experience. That’s what we will discuss today – how to optimize personalization on a website, regardless of the selected tool.  

Pre-requisites for personalization 

First, before personalization can be started, the following pre-requisites must exist for the site:  

  • User Experience details are in place, documenting the site’s user personas, journeys, and the content strategy 
  • Data Analytics is implemented, identifying the goals, metrics, and tracking for dashboard reporting on the site   
  • Technology that is well-integrated for the website platform, content management system, and analytics reporting (i.e. CDP, GA, GTM, Salesforce, etc.) 

5 steps to continuously optimize personalization 

Once the above prerequisites are in place, the following 5 steps can be utilized to continuously optimize personalization on the site:  

  • Preparation 
  • Data-Driven Ideation 
  • Planning 
  • Implementation 
  • Learning  

Read on for what's involved in each of these steps.   

  1. Preparation

The preparation stage helps to establish a solid foundation for an internal personalization strategy. In addition to referencing user research materials and the existing content strategy, a cross-functional team will be identified for an ongoing in-house process. Typically, the roles and departments involved in the personalization process include the Marketing team for strategies, XD resources for research and content design, Developers who handle CMS changes, and Data Analytics resources familiar with analytic strategies and data engineering. These resources, which are usually in different departments, will need to work together to implement a successful continuous optimization process for personalization. The key tasks to complete during Preparation include:   

  • Defining and researching the key audience to better understand and empathize with them  
  • Define key user flows and navigation points for the key audience 
  • Develop a content strategy based on user research 
  • Gather a strong cross-functional team for the in-house personalization process 
  • Identify the various data types that are available with the selected personalization tool 
  1. Data-Driven Ideation

The data-driven ideation stage involves reviewing analytics and reporting in an effort to identify both target audiences and new hypotheses or ideas. Once there is a backlog of ideas, these can be prioritized for experimentation. Key tasks to complete during Data-Driven Ideation include: 

  • Identifying which target audience to focus on and the job to be done (JTBD) 
  • Define the entry and exit criteria that will place a user in or remove them from the targeted segment audience 
  • Define the UX change for the target audience, the content variations, and the content strategy needs   
  • Identify the slot location for the new experience 
  • Define a working hypothesis for the experiment and identify the success metrics 
  • Prioritize the use cases and select the best experiment to run 
  1. Planning

Once ideas have been identified and prioritized, the cross-functional team can begin planning for the selected experiments, gathering the required data, experience design, and technical requirements. (e.g., tool setup, configurations, segmentation qualifiers, etc.) Key tasks to complete during Planning include: 

  • Develop an experimentation plan for testing the prioritized use case, including specific deep-dive details on the target audience  
  • Identify any required changes to the CMS that will support personalization experiments (e.g., setup, config changes)  
  • Determine which customer data attributes will be used in the open-source tool selected for personalization  
  • Identify and document requirements and specifications that will measure analytics captured from the campaign. (e.g., site, goals, dimensions, segments, tools, etc.)  
  • Modify wireframes and prototypes to reflect the personalized XD and content creation for the target audience 
  1. Implementation

Once the requirement details have been identified for the selected experiment, the cross-functional team can begin to implement changes across the technical stack, updating the tools integrated for personalization on the site. Key tasks to complete during Implementation include:  

  • Align the cross-functional team members with an action plan to identify tasks, owners, and target dates 
  • Modify Drupal development and configuration as needed for the personalization experiments and campaigns 
  • Complete configuration changes for the open-source tool selected for personalization campaigns (e.g., metadata, events, goals, slots, segments, rules, etc.) 
  • Modify and configure Analytics tools as needed to handle experiments and campaigns on the selected open-source tool for personalization (e.g., GA4, GTM, Adobe) 
  • Conduct testing of the campaign on the selected open-source tool in the staging environment to ensure behaviors and data are captured in sources as expected 
  • Roll out the campaign on the selected open-source tool in the live production environment 
  1. Learning

After experiments have been conducted over a span of time, the cross-functional team should review results to glean insights from them and develop new questions and test ideas. This iterative process is ongoing and cyclical, and the more a cross-functional team uses it the smoother the learning and in-house process becomes. Key tasks to complete during Learning include: 

  • Analyze personalization campaign results across the integrated tools (e.g. GA, GTM, selected open-source tool for personalization) 
  • Share personalization campaign results with the cross-functional team, usually a high-level executive summary of findings  
  • Document conclusions and findings for future iterations, keeping in mind the broader impacts of the overall site 
  • Communicate findings to the wider organization so that the results can be considered for strategic goals for the site 
  • Share and socialize findings in the wider organization by sharing results 
  • Develop a central repository, or knowledge base, to store insights, best practices, and learnings that will help ideate new questions and test iterations  

Note: It’s important to remember that the prerequisites should be completed prior to implementing the 5 how-to steps provided above. 

If the suggestions above are followed and implemented, then your organization is on the right path to implementing a continuous optimization process for personalization on the website – one that will delight users and encourage them to return to your site often! 

Not sure where to begin? Contact us to discuss how personalization would work best for your digital platform


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