Personalization Experiences


Customers expect and demand exhilarating experiences every interaction. Since no two customers are the same, personalizing content, channel, user interfaces, experiences, and messages goes a long way in progressing customer relationships.

Showing highly relevant content to each individual, increases engagement and conversion every time customers interact with your web or mobile app.  Almost 90% of customers expect personalized experiences and close to 98% of large organizations are personalizing content in one way or the other, but in varying levels.

I blogged about The growing ubiquity of PersonalizationMarketing & Personalization strategies in App Marketing Lifecycle and Meaningful Personalization in Messaging & Conversational Interfaces earlier.  In this blog, I am listing some of the most commonly used types of personalization.

Message Personalization

Email marketing for acquiring new users, as expected, is the most commonly used personalized option.  Typical criteria like first name and last name, recipient’s geographic location, demographics, campaign source, etc, is used.

Some marketers use atypical criteria for personalization with much wider success. For instance, what does an email address ending with – as opposed to – tell you about the user?  What does an email address ending with tell you about the user?

Personalizing email content for transactional emails for existing users is not as widely used highly effective.  Personalization works wonders when you know about your users. In addition to using geographic location and demographics, user profile data, past sessions usage history can be also used in personalizing message content.

A personalized end-of-the-month fitness report complete with goals, text and graphics is an extreme personalization only relevant to the person it was created for.

Similar to email, SMS, MMS, push notifications, local notifications and in-app notifications are widely personalized.

Orthogonally, best time to deliver a message can be personalized for high open rates.

In-app Search Personalization

Google has been personalizing search for a decade.

Personalizing search content in a web or mobile app based on user profiles returns content that is relevant to users on the first page.  For instance, when a user who owns a 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS searches for engine oil on an app, he or she could be shown synthetic oils approved by Porsche on the first page.  Such personalized experiences save users time and are appreciated.

Pricing Personalization

Personalizing pricing based on geography, past purchase history, browsing activity, search results, prior returns, demographics, income-level, type of device used, weather, time or the year, current market demands is a common tactic used effectively by many vendors.

  • Pricing aggressively before and after Christmas by geolocation is also common.
  • Pricing based on organizational demographics is common in B2B environments.
  • Large digital retailers change prices 3-5 times a day based on a number of criteria.
  • Dynamic pricing based on supply and demand

Outside of E-commerce, pricing personalization examples include:

  • Surge pricing based on supply and demand is common in ride hailing apps.
  • In-App Purchases’ pricing can also be personalized by creating multiple IAP items and selectively displaying items for purchase

User Interface Personalization

UI Personalization is not so common but highly effective approach to serve different users.

For instance, an expense management web or mobile app could have two interfaces.  A user who enters expenses rarely would use a wizard like interface to enter one expense at a time. A sales person who enters expenses every week, would prefer to add the expenses in a tabular interface.

In-Session Personalization

Personalizing content based on real-time activity.  For example, depending on how you interact with pins on Pinterest, the web or mobile app can show personalized pins when you scroll down on a page.  This technique is used both for paged content as well as infinite-scroll content.

Sort, Browse and Navigation Personalization

The order of items shown when users browse or navigate for items on an e-commerce site or app, for smart sort selections like relevance, popularity or featured, is personalized to provide results congruent with user’s brand affinities and profile and preferences. This technique is also known as Personalized E-commerce Category Sorting or Personalized Category Browsing.  This is a very effective technique used by retailers with a large number of SKU items.

Navigation personalization is also common in digital surveys.  Based on answers of previous questions and what you know about the user, questions or multiple choice answers are skipped or changed.  This provides for a much better experience as surveys are perceived to be shorter and personal.

Personalization is known to increase conversions, influence decisions and improve customer retention. It makes marketing relevant, helpful and useful to your customers.  It is a win-win for both consumers and marketers.