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What’s the magic behind personalised content?

Content, Personalized

When we say something is magical we don’t say it lightly. Few things can be directly attributed to increasing organic traffic, revenue and overall performance when it comes to Publisher sites. And yet… you may have heard the phrase content is king. This is more true today than it ever was.

With ad spend down on average 9% this year [Source], Google algorithm changes affecting search traffic, and an incredibly competitive technical landscape dominating the sector, Publishers are continuing their battle to retain high CPM’s, organic traffic, and let’s be honest… their ultimate survival.

So what is content personalization?

This is the ongoing and non-relenting pursuit of linking your content with your audience interests, needs and behaviours. When readers find content they like guess what…, they share, comment, and subscribe.

Surface content and experiences that readers will value

Says Julie Beizer, Chief Product Officer at Bloomberg Digital [Source]


How consumers (your readers) interpret personalization

Personalization can mean different things to different consumer groups. Understanding these variables can be useful.

Screenshot 2019-06-24 at 09.14.33



What are the benefits of content personalization?

The benefits are numerous, but a key goal is audience acquisition. ie: how easily can publishers expand their audiences via natural and organic growth, rather through paid means.

Indeed to put numbers to words, personalized content has been found to reduce the ‘cost’ of audience acquisition by 50% and lift revenue by between 5-15% [Source].

Higher reader engagement: This is the likelihood audiences will engage with your content. Content engagement has a direct impact on dwell time, and this is greatly improved when delivering personalized content.

Improved reader loyalty: Individualized site experiences, garner more loyal readers, reduced bounce rates and higher repeat visits.

Benefits of Content Persnolization



This is how the New York Times personalises content…



The New York Times Content Personalization strategy



The New York Times have used email newsletters to drive traffic, but the same principles could apply to any content recommendation widgets, recommended articles and other website only features.

Lets break this down…

  1. Content snippets are succinct, they entice a click
  2. Imagery is present, all content has a feature image
  3. The audience has been profiled, only relevant content is surfaced

POLL: Do you already use content personalization?

How can I build a personalised content strategy?

1. Capture audience insights — In this step, you will be defining what reader information is needed and how will it be collected through various channels, including on page polls & quizzes, google analytics data, and commenting features.


2. Data Analysis — After collecting the data, making sure you understand it’s significance is the next logical step. With DOT | Polls & Quizzes for example, full analytics is provided with regards to reader opinion and this makes reader segmentation easy.



3. Act on your insights — This involves building content, articles and posts that clearly resonate with your audience.

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