Content is king. Context is queen. This is true, when they are relevant. Content within a certain context when not relevant can result in high bounce rates, exit rates, a lack of engagement and a decrease in overall conversions. So the question is, how do we ensure this doesn’t happen and how do we make content more relevant and the context in which it is set more appropriate to an audience of the 2.5 billion that use the web and all those users viewing and engaging with our website?
Personalisation increases relevancy, which in turn increases commitment to that usage. As humans, we have a distinct ownership bias where we value goods or services more highly once we feel like we own them. This is a similar feeling to when we purchase cars instead of leasing them or when we used to prefer our computer game rather than our friends’ (even though they owned the exact same game). When the content is tailored to you, as an individual, you feel like the site is talking to you and you alone and that you own that content. In addition to this, people seek opportunities to express their personality, feelings or ideas - a form of self-expressing if you will. This is much easier to do when the user is in control of the content, and the context is personalised towards you.
Here are some great examples of personalisation.
Put the user in charge of content.
Burton outfitter allow you to choose your own winter outfit. Aside from the fact that Burton ask you questions such as “are you a man or a woman” and the type of snowboarder you are, they humanise the content even more by adding a face to your man/woman and outfit. Giving it this human feel increases the relevancy to you as an individual – we like people, right? What do you think we prefer, people or mannequins? Burton go even further and … I won’t ruin the surprise. But move your mouse around the screen and see what happens :)
Burton’s board finder does a similar job, there’s no human involved, but asks you similar questions to get your ideal snowboard.
Asking the user questions to personalise their results is a popular way of personalising the content around them. Not only is it relevant, but it’s also fun and challenging. Even going as far back as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualisation results in striving to achieve a certain aspiration or challenge. Do you prefer games that are easy to complete or those that challenge you? We delight in challenges, especially ones that strike a balance between the overwhelming and boring. By taking the user through such a journey – one that’s not too difficult or too easy – the user will ultimately appreciate and revel in the experience. A good example of this is Morrisons’ Cellar, who give you a taste test to determine your taste profile and give you relevant results as a reward.
People like you.
We like people like us. In my psychology days I once wrote a paper on “Do birds of a feather flock together or do opposites attract?” and the results were…well, generally inconclusive and context dependant (sorry but it’s true!). Either way there is definite argument for birds of a feather flocking together and if you have a think about your social circle, you can definitely see elements of yourself in them – be it humour, characteristics or mannerisms. Taking a look at Speedo, they split their reviews into “people like you” by asking users “what type of swimmer are you” when leaving a review – and in turn this allows other users to filter to the same type of swimmer profile. If I swim mainly for racing/training for competitions, I can see other users like me and what they thought of the product I am looking at. This will in turn help me make a more definitive decision about whether or not to buy this product. Great, no?
You can personalise content further if you like. As I said, content is king, but think about the tone of voice in your service or product. There’s a reason why Innocenthave a friendly, colloquial tone to their marketing campaigns (and even the infamous “stop looking at my bottom” on the bottom of their packs). It’s because it’s more relevant to the user, more appropriate and easier to associate with. I’m not saying all content should be “hellos” and “what’s up”; it is completely market, product and brand dependant – but on this occasion, Innocent’s way with words is more personalised to the user.
Not to mention adding that individual twist on phrases. Human computer interaction is a term used to understand the relationship between users and computers. The more human a computer feels, the more we associate ourselves with it, we give it feelings, we like it more. Again, why do you think Honda’s ASMIO robot has a face that smiles? Just some examples from Morrison’s Cellar to prove the point:
“View your basket” instead of “View basket”
“You may like” instead of “Other products”
[when you add something to your basket] “Your personal case”
[when going through the checkout process] “My Addresses” instead of “Address details”
Thanks for listening, user.
That wasn’t really relevant or personal was it? But my point stands that more personalised content and more relevant context can increase conversions by making the user feel special, loved, cared for and individual.