The basics of online personalization

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The basics of online personalization

Introduction: Generating leads, building relationships

Our expectations of personalized content are increasing at a high rate - often without us even realizing it. Personalization is a must, at least if you want your business to stand out among the loads of information that people are confronted with on a daily basis. The trick is to find the right balance between personalizing your messages without scaring off your website visitors. After all, far-reaching personalization can feel like an invasion of your website visitors’ privacy, and that is of course not the intention. So make sure you have a transparent approach. 

For companies, this marketing technique is an opportunity to seize with both hands - otherwise they risk losing popularity. Generating leads, building relationships with (potential) customers, offering targeted content ... all goals that can be achieved efficiently with smart personalization. In this blog you will find an introduction to personalized online content. We dive deeper into how personalization works and what the costs and benefits of such an investment are.

In this blog you'll learn about:

What is personalisation?

Personalization is a very broad concept. In this whitepaper we focus on online personalization. Content on a website is adapted to a person or a specific target group. This ranges from a chat window that pops up on a website to the complete personalization of a website. Adapting an online product range to the wishes and needs of the customer. This way, you can create a unique user experience for the visitor and respond to his or her personal needs. In other words, your website visitors will find the information they need in a much more targeted way.

Thanks to online personalization, people are less likely to feel overwhelmed with unnecessary advertising, which of course has a positive effect for both parties.

But how does online content become personalized and what’s it based on?

How does online personalization work?

Now that we know what online personalization means, it’s interesting to take a closer look at how it works. Of course, personal information about website visitors doesn’t just fall out of the sky. There are different ways to get that information. Online personalized content can be based on a few different characteristics of the website visitor. The concrete implementation is shown below. 

The main ways to obtain a user’s personal preferences: 

Online profile

The online profile is the pre-known information about your visitor that can be found on the internet. It’s a rich collection of information about an internet user, such as taste, interests, buying behavior ... With the help of this online profile it is possible to adapt your content to the personal characteristics of your visitor and track down your preferences and needs. For companies it is helpful to use this data and implement it in their strategy, in order to reach (potential) customers with personalized content.

Customer Journey

Every visitor who lands on your website is at a certain point in the customer journey. That customer journey is the path your (potential) customer takes. It goes from the first moment of contact with your brand, to the moment you can call a visitor a loyal customer. To illustrate, a sketch of the different phases of the customer journey: awareness, interest, evaluation, discision, retention. 

Based on the phase your website visitor is in, you adapt your content. It goes without saying that you approach a loyal customer in a different way than someone who is only in phase one or two of the customer journey.

Click behaviour

The click behaviour gives you more information about what the surfer is looking for, because people don’t click on something that doesn’t interest them, do they? However, it is not easy to draw uniform conclusions from click behavior. People occasionally click around without a logical explanation. In order to extract relevant information from click behavior, you must try to gain insight into the behavior of your visitor in order to extract the useless clicks.

Type of device

Another way to obtain information is by looking at what type of device the content is viewed from. More than ever before, consumers have a choice of devices they use to visit your website and view content. Do they access it from a fixed device (computer) or a mobile device (smartphone, tablet or laptop)? Use this information to reach the right audience with your content. So make sure you have a have a responsive website that adapts to each device for an optimal browsing experience.

Visitors frequency

Visitors who come to your website for the first time are approached differently than those who have already visited your site several times. For example, you can change the ‘about us’ button in the navigation menu to ‘subscribe to our newsletter’. This way you approach your visitors more personally and don’t let them read or view the same thing twice.


The (geographical) situation in which your website visitor finds himself can also have an influence on their surfing behavior and thus release a lot of information. For example: location, date, time ... . The weather, for instance, also has an influence, but not in every sector, of course. So find out what situation your visitor is in, in order to respond to his wishes and needs.

Why online personalization?

Of course, personalizing your online content offers a lot of advantages. First and foremost, people spend a much longer time on your website and feel that they will find what they are looking for. This way, the value of both your content and your company is increased and that can lead to a lasting and better relationship between the customer and your company.

Besides, it is also interesting to adapt the CTA’s on your website to, for example, the location of your website visitor or the phase he is in, in the customer journey. This way you reach people differently, depending on the phase they are in.

Online personalization is also affordable these days. This used to be less the case, but because of all sorts of extra data sources and marketing channels that companies now have available, personalizing content is much easier and cheaper. You can view it as an investment in your company’s digital future.

For the visitors of your website there are of course also a lot of advantages. They find what they need and this is also done in a fast and more efficient way. Your website visitors have to take far fewer steps to reach their goal. This ensures that they experience a positive feeling about your company, your brand and your website.

All these benefits significantly increase the ROI of your marketing efforts. Leads that are attracted with targeted content generate better numbers in your company’s sales force and personalized content also leads to a higher conversion than neutral content.

How to get started with online personalization?

There are several points of attention you need to take into account if you want to implement online personalization in your strategy. These steps determine the success of the value of your content. If you spend too little time on this, personalization in anefficient and effective way is practically impossible and therefore pointless.

Step 1: Define your goal

Start by clearly defining the goals you want to achieve with personalized content. This way you will work more efficiently and it will give you structure in the approach you use. If you don’t set a final goal, your personalization is of little use. Make a list of goals you want to achieve in advance. These objectives go hand in hand with the objectives of your company.

Step 2: Compose a well segmented target group

In order to make effective personalization possible, you need to define your target group properly in advance. Each customer or client segment has its own wishes and needs. As a company it is important to make sure that you respond to those wishes and needs by personalizing the content on your website.

Step 3: Thoroughly evaluate each personalization

To grow in personalizing your content, make sure you thoroughly evaluate your previous experiences. This will help you fine-tune the structure of your personalization. By doing so, you improve the visitor experience on the base of a continuous learning process.

Step 4: Start simple

If personalization is still new to your business, it’s smart to start simple. If, for example, someone has already subscribed to your newsletter, it is not relevant to show that CTA to that visitor. In this case it is better to show a CTA about downloading a relevant whitepaper. By doing so, you will not bother your website visitors with things they no longer have a message for. Another simple way of personalizing is to use the geolocation of your visitor. You respond to his or her location by, for example, prominently displaying the nearest store of your company on your contact page.

Step 5: Use analyzed data

It is very difficult to personalize if you do not have reliable information about your visitor. These days, it’s not that hard to get relevant data about your internet users. So look for it and invest in reliable information about your website visitors. Make sure you make a difference between interesting data and useful data. This is the only way to reach new and existing customers efficiently.

Step 6: Ensure a clear and well-organized website

It is very important to have a clear, structured and modern website. Today, many organizations have a website that focuses on design and structure. So you can’t afford not to pay attention to your website. When you don’t have the capabilities to build a high performing and beautiful website yourself, invest in people who can do that for you.

Also make sure there is not too much information on your website. This way, your visitors quickly lose the overview and don’t know where to look first. Your website is the first touch point between you and your (potential) customer. That’s why that first surfing experience should feel like a positive experience in which your website is the ideal source of information.

Step 7: Make use of content marketing

The aim is to provide your visitors with valuable, interesting and consistent content. That content should be relevant to the visitor of your website. This is the only way for you as a company to build a longterm and sustainable customer relationship.

Proven services of online personalization

There are many companies using online personalization on their websites - from small SMEs to large multinationals. Some examples.


Netflix is a perfect example of a multinational company that fully responds to the personalization of content. The American streaming giant used all kinds of data very early on to offer their customers a customized service. Two important applications enable Netflix to create value for its customers:

1. Personalizing recommendations

Netflix tries to efficiently solve the problem the overload of suggestions. They have a very broad catalog that appeals to almost every target group. But how do you deliver the right movies and series to the right target group? People quickly get lost when too much content hits them. How do you start looking for what you need in such a big pile of content?

Netflix tries to solve this luxury problem very easily by tailoring suggestions for films and series to the individual viewer. Their recommendation mode is based on customers’ viewing, search, scrolling and rating data. They also use data about the time, date and device used to predict what a particular viewer might be interested in at what time. 

When you create a Netflix account, you can indicate your interests using films and series you like. If you already have an account for some time, Netflix will base itself on the films and series you’ve watched before and the algorithm will automatically search for similar content. This way every customer has his own personalized account that meets all needs and wishes.

2. Predicting successful new content based on customer viewing habits

When a new series or film comes on the market, Netflix uses all kinds of tools to test its success. The company does this by researching the viewing habits of its customers. For example, they look at how many subscribers are fans of a particular actor or actress. The series or movie will then be targeted through marketing and the recommendation mode to the people who will probably like the series or movie the most.

Logo Netflix

ASAP Interim

Another example of successful personalization is ASAP Interim, which has just over 80 interim offices in Belgium.

To improve the experience of job seekers, ASAP implemented a personalization strategy in collaboration with Taglayer. The company wanted to invest in a dynamic website that would only show relevant vacancies to the website visitors. Among other things, they added personalized recommendation boxes to the homepage and to the list page. When people used to scroll on their web page, they often left without applying for jobs. ASAP Interim therefore wanted to implement recommendation boxes that would show the right jobs to the right visitors. Those vacancies were determined based on location and interests. Ultimately, the implementation of the extensive personalization led to 29% more job applications.

Logo asap interim


Suzuki is a Japanese multinational that produces cars and motorcycles. The company employs more than 45,000 people and has 35 production facilities in 23 countries.

Suzuki wanted easy-to-use software that was easy to implement and could be used independently. To achieve this, the company turned on Taglayer again.

The main goal? A dynamic website that shows relevant cars to website visitors. That’s why they invested in personalizing the ‘onsite experience’ of visitors and also based the look-and-feel of their website on the current trends and effectiveness studies. In the past, for example, every visitor was shown the same banner. Now this banner is personalized, so that website visitors only see information that is relevant to them, for example an advertisement about a vehicle they were looking for earlier. In addition, they also added so-called ‘recommendation boxes’, where people in the sidebar of the site are shown the cars that interest them. These subtle changes resulted in 41% more online requests in just one month after implementation.

Logo suzuki

Privacy and GDPR (General data protection regulation)

As we already know, companies have a lot of data of their website visitors, but where is the boundary concerning the privacy of these visitors?

As Internet users, we are all concerned about our privacy, and rightly so. That is why a new European privacy law was introduced on 25 May 2018, with the buzzing name GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation. This law gives people more control over the management of their personal data on the internet. They retain more control over how the information is collected and how it may be used. The law does not prohibit marketers from collecting data about customers and prospects, but simply gives surfers more control over who may collect and store their personal data. People are quickly willing to share their data if there is something in return. After all, trust in a business motivates consumers to share more data, and better data also ensures more relevant content for Internet users. A win-win situation for both parties.

Numbers of Internet users and disclosure of personal information

Personal information of internet users

A survey by GfK shows that 27% of Internet users are willing to share personal data obtain, such as lower costs or personalised service. Some 19% of internet users do not want to share their personal data under any circumstances. In addition, the 30- to 40-year-olds are most willing to share that personal information.

If we take a closer look at the figures in our country, we notice that in Belgium only 18% of Internet users tend to share personal data inn exchange for rewards or benefits. 28% are even completely against it. The age category of 15 to 19 year olds has the least ojection to data sharing.



Spotify is a very good example of a company that builds trust and collects a lot of customer data at the same time. People with a Spotify account can create their own playlists with their favorite music. Spotify also creates its own lists of music that listeners are likely to like, based on previously played songs and thus each user’s personal taste in music. To create a personalized list of suggestions, people need to share their information with Spotify - otherwise they won’t get these benefits. So listeners want Spotify to recognize them, keep track of what they’re listening to and make recommendations for music they like.

Willingness to share personal data
Willingness to share personal data
Willingness to share personal data
Willingness to share personal data
Willingness to share personal data
Willingness to share personal data

Dropsolid DXP for personalization

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