The word "Content" written on a chalkboard, representing content personalization.

Great content personalization is customer-specific.

Content personalization is a vital part of digital marketing. Consumers expect it to one degree or another. However, what your particular customers want from personalization could be very different from consumers looking for something in another industry. That means you need to understand the right way to provide content personalization for your audience.

Going by Demographics

Demographics are probably the most common way to personalize content, even though it may not be the most effective. Basically, we take a group, let’s say Millennials, and then make generalizations like, “They are always on their phones.” So the way we personalize content for this group is to market to them on mobile devices. Remember that recent surveys show nearly three-quarters of people who shop online get upset when they are suggested products that are not actually relevant. So be careful about overgeneralizing because it leads to alienating at least part of your audience.

Email Marketing Needs Content Personalization

What is the difference between spam email and an email marketing campaign that puts the individual customer’s name in the subject line and first sentence of every email? Nothing — at least not in the consumer’s mind. Email marketing is great, but it has to contain real personalization, like recommendations based on search history, previous purchases, item left in the cart, etc. Research shows a 41 percent increase in CTR for personalized emails.

Behavioral Advertising

This is where you really get down to genuine personalization. When you observe what a user is looking at on your site, what results in an interaction, what sales have been made, what has been saved for later, then you get a real idea of what that one consumer in particular likes. Take a page from Amazon’s playbook. You shop for a product. They suggest two more that go with it. You make a purchase. You get a list of suggestions for next time. You add something to the cart, but don’t buy it. You get an email when it goes on sale, and the email also contains some other suggestions in case that wasn’t exactly what you were looking for.

Content Personalization in digital marketing needs to actually live up to its name, and be more personal, rather than the generalizations of using demographics.