Personalized Content Targeting on the website

What is Targeting?

My understanding of targeting is to provide content to the user which has a high probability to be consumed.  It may be over-simplified, however, easier said than done. Now that I am in my 6th year of the web analytics industry, I now started realizing what & why probably Jim Sterne has his firm’s name as Target!

Content personalization and targeting are two interchangeably used words that I have come across. However, they are separate from behavioral targeting which has more to do with the targeted ads to be shown to the user. There is significant debate getting generated on Anil Batra’s Blog about the definition of behavioral targeting, however, let’s keep the focus of this post to content personalization and not behavioral targeting!

Different levels of targeting:

I can think of two levels of targeting;

1. Segment level & Individual level:

The difference is in the granularity by which you can segment. In other words, this classification is based on the degree of small segments that you can create for your individual users. For example, you can create two segments of your visitor new & repeat, and provide them with different content. This is pretty straightforward as you create two different design of the page which works for your new & repeat visitor.

2. Individual-level targeting:

I call one-to-one targeting a more granular and personalized targeting one, where you provide exactly the content that your specific visitor would like to consume. For example, if you are coming back to Amazon, it provides you with specific unique content that would want to consume based on your prior visits to the site.

While Derek has a great content personalization presentation, I plan to expand the concepts that he has laid out. Another nice variable that should be added apart from different levels of targeting is the situation in which the customer is viewing the site.

In other words, your targeting effort doesn’t stop at just segmenting your traffic, but it should also include the situation in which users are coming to your site. For e.g. if you go to Zaaz on Friday night, you will see a great message customized for you for Friday night.

More to come on content personalization – What are your thoughts?

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