Three Steps to Create Personalized Dynamic Content

When terms like “dynamic content” and “personalization” become buzz words, content creators are left with a question: how do we actually create personalized dynamic content?

Here are three steps you can take. Each step guarantees you’re building content for your target audience – and not just throwing money at a buzzword.

Step One: Define Personalization

There’s more than one way to personalize content. For example, there are low-tech content personalization methods, and high-tech. To figure out how you’ll personalize content, write down your overarching goal. Consider: why do you want personalized content, and how will it help your audience?

Once you know that, you’ll know what personalization means to you. For example:

  • Is there experience pre- or post- login? Pre-login personalization will be dependent on self-selection, IP-address, or cookies. Post-login can be tied to a person’s profile.
  • Are you targeting ads, editorial content, or products? Based on interests, or location?
  • Do you want to remember what people have done before? This will require cookies, or a logged in experience.
  • How much control do you want the end-user to have? More control can be easier from a development standpoint.

Step Two: Learn What Users Want

Personalized dynamic content is a big, broad world. Rather than trying to give people everything (including a lot of things that may get in their way), find out what will benefit them.  

For example, maybe you can personalize by location, age, gender, and up to 100 different interests. This could result in an experience as personalized as (for example) a Facebook feed. But now think about the complaints many people have with Facebook:

  • The same information appears over and over, giving people a sense that they’re missing information
  • It feels “creepy”
  • No sense of control, or ability to search for more information

Perhaps in a situation like this you can save money AND create a better experience by focusing on personalization by only location and 5 interests. Or by allowing people to self-select into interests and age range.

Step Three: Set up the Algorithm

Once you have your criteria – essentially the business goals and the user goals – it’s time to build the algorithm.

Don’t worry! A personalized dynamic content algorithm is not as scary as it sounds. As with so many content strategy deliverables, this is… a spreadsheet!

In your spreadsheet, you’ll need the following columns. Please note, these are working backwards:

  • The action the end-user will take (e.g. clicking on an ad)
  • The message you will provide to suggest the end-user take that action
  • The prompt that lets you know a message is appropriate (e.g. looking at a specific product)
  • A default message for anyone who has not triggered any prompt

Personalized Dynamic Content Made Easy

Of course, this isn’t everything. You need to note how you’ll measure success. You’ll want to usability test, to ensure your messages are appropriate. And you may need A/B testing, voice and tone, a proper CMS and much more. But this is a start.

And what better place than with three easy steps.

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