Personalization and personally customized content are today’s most important marketing watchwords. Separately and together, they measurably improve engagement, conversion, and ultimately sales. 

Personalization and customization have similar goals, to show users content designed to get their attention, offer them what they are most interested in, earn conversions, and keep them engaged. 

But while they have similar goals, they are not exactly the same. They represent significantly different approaches to the same problem. 

What is Personalization?

Personalization is not just a buzzword. It’s an automatic, data-based feature. Choices are made for you, based on existing information provided to or captured by the website. Each interaction on a website adds a bit of information: what interests you, what you like most, what you do next, and even the length of time you spend on a page adds knowledge that helps build a more personal experience for you. 

Imagine having your own personal shopper that knows exactly what you like. And when you visit a store, you have a private entrance to a room containing things your personal shopper has chosen. Everything in the room fits, is your style, and is in the range of colors you most like to wear. 

In addition, your personal shopper has analyzed your wardrobe – what you already own – and added some suggestions based on specific needs in your future. You have a ski trip coming up, so you’ll need some warm clothing. That’s over here. You’ll be attending a formal event next month, so we’ve added a selection of formal wear. Oh, and here’s a rack of entirely different things, because we know you like to mix it up now and then. 

Personal shopping is a very different customer experience compared to ordinary shopping.If it sounds like a personal shopper would make your shopping a great deal faster and easier, you’re right. Which is exactly why rich people have personal shoppers. So they can make fast decisions and get on with more important things.That’s how personalization works. User interests are prioritized. Every click you make and answer you give adds knowledge and that knowledge is used to build your own private website, with blocks of content tailored exactly to your needs and wants, with suggestions about what you might want to do next.

What is Customization?

Customization puts you in charge. You can check off a list of things you’re interested in and content is provided from those selections. You provide some information, like your name, geographical location, and company name, and that’s used to personalize greetings and direct you to some content, without really using insight. 

With customization, your name is probably at the top of the page, and you choose the type of content you want to see. 

When you create an account, Insights for professionals (IFP) asks what content you want to see with a series of screens: Basic information > Broad topics of interest > Specific interests within topics. 

Why You Need Both Personalization and Customization

Every personal web page begins with customization. Website visitors are strangers until they voluntarily enter a little information, sometimes just a name and email address. 

To use both customization and personalization, websites capture and analyze user data starting with information given by visitors. From there, the user’s journey is captured, including browsing behavior, user’s interests, purchase history, and other experiential data to inform marketing strategy, touchpoints, and a personal experience for each customer.

If you’re a Netflix or Hulu junkie (like I am), you know what customization and personalization looks like. You can make separate accounts for each person in your family, because your interests and your four-year-old’s interests are very different. 

Both services track what you watch and make recommendations based on what you’ve seen. Your home page invites you to keep watching, and features shows likely to interest you. They also show what’s trending. There’s Tiger King in the top ten. It must be really good. Right?

Fans of Doozers might like Pocoyo…what on earth is Pocoyo?

Creating the Ultimate Customer Experience

Personalization and customization are most familiar in an e-commerce setting, but can be adapted to improve customer satisfaction and boost conversion rates for any type of business. 

Almost every business today uses basic personalization. Most marketing emails greet you by name, and many websites use basic information to do the same. Customization makes this easy, because users input their own preferences, but limits the business in terms of guiding the customer journey. 

More sophisticated websites take tailoring to the next level with both personalization and customization. You’re asked to create an account so they can collect information necessary to show you relevant content, and they incorporate information captured in real-time to refine your user experience.

Your web visitors want an experience personally tailored to meet their specific needs. The one-size-fits-all solution is not good enough. Every business needs to implement the tools to turn customer data into customer satisfaction.

How Can I Personalize My Website?

Some companies think personalization is out of their reach, and only a few years ago, it was. That’s why we made it simple and affordable for you. Experiences allows you to build highly personalized user experiences with zero knowledge of coding. 

Here are 7 examples of personalization you can do on your website using Proof Experiences:1. Use merge tags of the visitor’s identity such {{First Name}} and {{Company Logo}}.

  1. Show the perfect call to action for the visitor’s stage in the customer journey.
  2. Adapt a product mockup to relate with the visitor’s company.
  3. Segment the customer logos to match the visitor’s industry.
  4. Recommend content based on the visitor’s browsing behavior.
  5. Offer upgrades based on what customers already purchased.
  6. Invite visitors to events near them based on their location.

Want to see more examples proven to boost conversions? Check out our library of personalization case studies