Industry Insights

What Does Content Personalization Mean to You

Personalization; What is it? Does it come in packs of 10? Does it take batteries? On Wednesday, June 26, CMS Connected will help to expose what the topic of personalization has morphed into over the last few years. But as a teaser I’ll look at a few items that might get some airtime, or perhaps spurn a little discussion because this is a very big topic these days.

How Personal is Personalization?

Personalization really is a wonderful thing at the core of its motivation. It’s pretty much a requirement now with such a high level of competition for clicks and eyeballs. If you don’t present instantly meaningful content to your visitors, you run the risk of them leaving immediately in search of someone who ‘understands them better’. Enter personalized content strategies.

Location Based Content

Early personalized content relied on regional or geographic (GEO targeting) based information. IP lookups would be used to communicate the visitor’s geographic location in the world. With this information we could programmatically deliver content which was tailored to their location. For instance international currency could be automatically applied to product listings. Language probing tools could be launched asking the visitor whether they would like to switch to a multi-lingual version of the webpage. Regionalized news items could be snapped onto the page adding relevance and local interest to the website. Generally personalization in this era was limited to this regionalization of content. And with the dependency on IP based information, these assumptions were sometimes false, based on a proxy or router configuration.


Cookies, those little files that are invisibly stored on your computer, tracking your internet activity, only to be shared again with the originating website. Cookies can be configured to store quite a bit of information about your browsing session. From pages visited, products viewed, preferences, etc… When returning to websites you may not realize it, but these cookies are feeding your personal browsing history back to the website so they can alter what they present to you. On the surface, they are only trying to make your experience more customized, relevant and personal. Like “hey, we noticed you had this product in your ‘shopping cart’ but didn’t purchase, was there something about the process or the product?” that sort of thing. On the other hand, up until recently, websites could collect your browsing info without telling you and use it for their own market research.

Now it’s Getting Personal

Enter Social Media and 'social connect'. Social Media has exponentially exposed a vast resource for data exploited for personalizing content. Naturally, all this information sharing caused tidal waves of privacy concerns and a general collective 'Freak Out' across the internet community. Specifically when Facebook started to really take off and people began to publically interpret their privacy guidelines after each revision.

Facebook Connect

Site owners with the appropriate training can now dive into your complete Facebook profile and can extract very detailed information such as: age, birthdate, current location, places you’ve lived, marital status, spiritual leanings, musical tastes and genres, all of your page ‘likes’ and the list goes on. This level of detail is worth its weight in gold in the hands of the right marketer. Consider logging into your favorite outdoor equipment store on your birthday only to have them flash a ‘10% additional savings code message on your birthday’! How about 20%? Or by using your location and page ‘like’ data to bicycle events and pages, a bike store franchise could display the store closest to you and the sales that are active right now. That’s personalization at its finest. Using your data (whatever it is), to feature extremely relevant and meaningful content specifically for you. Add a content box with a list of your ‘Friends’ who have also purchase from the same website and sales conversions go through the roof!

The Posibilities are Endless

That is just a very small sampling of what some aspects of personalized content could look like. If you would like to learn a little bit more about these strategies, we are welcoming Tim Walters from Digital Clarity Group (DCG) for this month’s CMS Connected show. Please join us! We are also thrilled to have Seth Gottlieb in studio again to give us some insight into the rebranded OpenText ECM (formerly Vignette). We are quite intrigued to hear what Seth has to say about this much maligned platform.

Register today and learn what our expert guests have to say about modern day personalization.

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Written by Jade Carter

Jade Carter

Jade Carter

Jade is a content writer for CMS-Connected, facilitating the needs of the company blog. Bringing 10 years of Search and Digital Marketing to the table, he strives to build informative, relevant and fun editorial posts for the blog feed. Jade is an ultra distance (26.2 miles+) trail runner and lives to run trails in and around his home town of Victoria, BC.

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