Three Keys to an Exceptional User Experience

Our Guide to Personalization, Contextualization, and Segmentation

The web started as a very static environment where companies had a website that did one thing or served one purpose (in fact was even called static HTML). This was the case because of the limits and constraints of technology. Every day we see those limitations dissolving, and websites are becoming more and more sophisticated. In fact, marketers can now offer unique web content for specific users or segments.

For example:
If you've ever spontaneously added something to your shopping cart after seeing "customers who bought this also bought these" recommendations, that's an example of personalization done well.

Or, if you're on a business trip, and you search for "spin class" on your phone, you'll likely see results for your location first. This is an example of location-based contextualization.

Here’s some explanation on the necessary technology working behind the scenes so that a website can do this.

Website Contextualization Definitions

  • Dynamic Content - This is the underlying technology concept that allows personalization and contextualization. A content management system gives editors the ability to manage all content and tag it, and for pages to be rendered dynamically as the user opens the page. Based on personalization or contextualization settings, relevant content is displayed to that user.

  • Personalization - A situation where a user has provided personal data on your site that allows you to tailor content or the experience for them on a personal level—for example, first name or interests.

  • Contextualization - Showing unique content to a website user based off a broad data set or inferred information–for example, location or age.

  • Localization - This is a form of contextualization, where you provide localized content—always language (e.g. users in France are served pages translated in French, but the same page served to a user in Spain has Spanish on it) but usually the imagery you use is also from the user's location.

  • Segmentation - Combining website users into groups based off elements from the data—for example, combining all “men” into a segment to receive a special offer, or all purchasers, or non-purchasers. This allows marketers to zero in on opportunities for a better brand experience, more tailored offerings and increased revenue.

How to Put these Powerful Tools To Work for Your Business

This is the direction that websites and web technology are moving. Users have already begun to expect a unique and personal experience for every digital interaction. Big companies and eCommerce sites are leading the way, but this type of experience is accessible to anyone. We recommend implementing some sort of personalization to all of our clients—these days, it's a must-have, not a nice-to-have.

Personalization and Contextualization in Action

Here’s an example of this in action, from Chase bank:

Chase Bank welcome back


Chase Bank welcome back


Chase Bank welcome back

In this instance, Chase knows that their users are accessing the website from Seattle, so for their login screen, they display different photos from around the city. They take it one level deeper, too, and are also serving photos based on the time of day that a visitor accesses the login screen.

In the next three posts in this series, we will walk you through the common methods for creating a contextualized experience for your audience, and what considerations go into the development of them. You’ll want to really understand how this works before you start planning, so you can fully understand the business considerations for implementing them and what that means for your marketing budget and plan.

If you have any questions about Our Guide to Personalization, Contextualization, and Segmentation, please feel free to contact us directly or connect with us on social!