Personalization has been the holy grail of digital marketing before the days of blogs and social media.
While personalized approaches have always been somewhat successful, marketers are now entering an era where more user data is readily available than ever before, giving them more accurate ways how to Use User Data to Personalize Experience.
That’s why personalization has once again become a popular topic in the business world, and it’s time for you to learn about how to use user data to personalize your experience so that you can create the ideal shopping or web browsing experience for each user, resulting in higher satisfaction and sales.
What Is Personalization?
Simply put, personalization is using information about a user’s preferences and past behavior to adjust their experience.
This could include delivering custom content, products, or services based on what you’ve done in previous sessions.
The ability of an online store, for example, to tailor its offers and recommendations is a good example of personalization at work.
By showing users exactly what they want, businesses can make it easier for them to buy from them again.
In fact, research shows that when companies use personalized marketing strategies—such as targeted ads and emails—customers are likely to spend more money with them than with non-personalized offerings.
Additionally, it can increase customer loyalty by making them feel like they’re getting a better deal than other customers. It also makes consumers feel like businesses know who they are and value their business, which can help build trust between both parties.
And finally, offering personalization can differentiate your brand from competitors. For example, if you have a local restaurant page and one of your competitors doesn’t offer any kind of location-based recommendations, then yours will stand out.
What Are User Data
User data, also known as customer data, is raw information about how users behave and interact with your website or application.
It can help you understand how users use your service and help provide insights into how to improve your offerings.
For example, if a large number of customers abandon their shopping carts during checkout, it may be due to high shipping costs; by analyzing user data for trends in cart abandonment behavior, you might decide to lower shipping costs to keep more customers from abandoning their carts.
Benefits of Collecting Customer Data
The biggest benefit is a better understanding of your audience and their wants and needs.
It also provides valuable feedback that can make your marketing campaigns more effective, which ultimately leads to higher conversions and sales.
Collecting user data can also help you uncover insights into how customers behave, giving you ideas for new products or even entirely new business models.
And it’s not just important in theory: A 2012 study found that companies with customer data in their CRM systems are five times as likely to have exceeded revenue targets than those without. So if you aren’t collecting user data yet, now is the time to start.
Different Types Of User Data
When it comes to user data, there are 4 main types:
- and Derived.
Demographic data consists of raw information about who your users are; age range, gender, ethnicity, and so on.
Behavioral data offers more insight into how your users are interacting with your product (or brand); while contextual data helps you understand how people are using their product in real-world situations; for example within their physical environment.
Derived data, meanwhile, allows you to create specific user profiles based on multiple sources of information – in other words, if I know that Sally Smith lives in New York City and works at Company X, I can infer that she’s most likely interested in news related to NYC startups or jobs at companies like Company X.
Each type of user data has its uses. For example, one use for demographic data would be in understanding which geographic regions interest your users. As another example, combining various types of user data may allow you to develop a clearer picture of whether certain segments respond better to certain messages than others do.
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Let’s break each type of these user data down for better understanding.
- Demographic data
To make a website or application appealing and usable for all your users, you must understand who they are.
Demographic data reveals basic information about what kind of person is using your app, so you can better understand their needs and ensure that you meet them accordingly.
For example, if two-thirds of your users are 65years+, you may want to adjust text size or contrast so it’s easier for older eyes to read.
If 80% of your users have children in their households, you might decide to include an age range filter on movie listings or provide more family-friendly content on restaurant listings.
The demographic data helps inform these decisions by revealing which features will be most useful for your audience.
To make a website or application appealing and usable for all your users, you must understand who they are.
- Behavioral data
The best way to personalize user experience is to first understand your audience’s behavior.
The more user data you have, (how much time on site, pages visited, etc.) the better you can tailor your site experience for that user.
If you don’t collect any behavioral data from users or have not updated it in some time, consider implementing an analytics solution. Many are free and easy to use.
For example, Google Analytics allows you to track page views and bounce rates as well as where traffic comes from and what keywords people are using when they find your website.
This information will help determine how best to create a personalized experience for each visitor.
There may be privacy concerns with tracking user activity; however, by making sure all tracking is voluntary and completely anonymous you should be able to avoid these issues.
Also, keep in mind that collecting too much data may limit your ability to personalize because there just isn’t enough time or manpower available to analyze all of it!
It’s important to strike a balance between having enough data to make informed decisions and not having so much that it becomes overwhelming.
- Contextual data
The key to success is providing your users with relevant information at just the right time.
By integrating contextual data into your app’s algorithm, you can provide users with only what they need and when they need it.
This helps users reach their goals faster while offering a seamless experience.
For example, if someone is using an app for meal planning and has selected several recipes, sending them more recipes related to those ingredients could be helpful.
On another note, if a user has been working out consistently for several weeks but hasn’t logged any workouts in over two days, an encouraging email or push notification might encourage them to get back on track. Keep in mind that contextual data can be anything from location-based services to weather reports—the possibilities are endless!
- Derived Data
Derived data consists of information your users send you directly.
For example, if a user explicitly sends a feedback message indicating that he or she has had difficulty navigating an aspect of your site, that’s derived data.
You can use it to tailor your experience and improve their ability to navigate your site.
How To Personalize Experience With User Data.
The way people use a particular product or service is often very different from one user to another.
This means that a user might abandon your website or application after just a few interactions if he/she isn’t getting exactly what they need from it.
To prevent users from abandoning your product, you can personalize their experience based on how they interact with it.
To do so, you will have to track and analyze user data;
Let’s say you have a business that sells very specific products – such as bicycles or running shoes.
If customers are interested in buying these products, but they don’t find exactly what they want on your website, they might leave without converting.
But if you track their interactions with your site, and understand their preferences, you can make suggestions for similar products that will likely be more suitable for them.
So if someone comes to your bicycle store looking for an electric bike, but doesn’t find anything he/she likes there (maybe it isn’t in stock), then maybe you could recommend another model of an electric bike from another brand instead?
Or maybe suggest some accessories related to e-bikes? This way, you can help users convert faster by offering them options based on their interests.
This is just one example of how you can personalize your users’ experience based on their behavior; now let’s take a look at other ways to do so.
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How to Collect User Data
There are several ways that you can collect data about your customers, but before you begin collecting any data, it is important to determine which information is most relevant and valuable.
For example, if you have a website or an e-commerce store that sells products and services, then you probably want to start with information like name, shipping address, and email address.
You might also consider asking for demographic information such as age range, gender, occupation, income level, interests, and hobbies.
The more specific you can be in your request for demographic information, the better – after all, knowing that someone’s favorite hobby is playing golf will tell you much more than knowing they enjoy sports in general.
If you’ve been seeking to Enhancing User Interaction With Personalized Data, the below are ways you can collect user data.
- Web Tracking
One of the easiest ways to collect user data is through web tracking.
This involves installing a bit of code into your website, which will monitor what visitors do and click on your site.
Then, you can get it to report back that information to you, so you know exactly what actions the users are taking on your website.
When it comes to Personalizing Experience Using User Data, we need more than just an idea of their location and their interests; we need real insight into how they’re using our product.
Web tracking gives us that insight by letting us know when people aren’t engaging with content in the way we expect them to, or when they find things confusing or unhelpful.
In addition to being able to identify these issues, web tracking also lets us identify what aspects of our service are most popular among users.
This can help us figure out where we should invest resources—or whether certain features need adjusting or even scrapping altogether.
When you want to take advantage of Enhancing User Interaction With Personalized Data to improve your products and services, knowing where you stand is crucial.
- Transactional Data
At its most basic, transactional data is user data that are collected and retained during a specific event.
In the case of e-commerce, it could be the name and address of a user who purchases something.
As with email addresses and phone numbers, transactional data is usually discarded immediately after the event (or logged), but stored/shared information may be linked to personally identifiable information to create comprehensive profiles.
More often than not, such data is used for marketing purposes.
For example, when someone buys a pair of shoes from Zappos, that person’s shoe size might be added to his or her profile.
Your knowledge of How To Personalize Experience With User Data, isn’t enough, without knowing how to use surveys to gather user data.
Running surveys on your website is a fast and effective way to Personalizing Experience Using User Data.
Surveys are commonly used for gathering opinions about the user’s experience, or for directing them towards certain experiences.
Polls can be as simple as a survey of three questions that helps you analyze how users feel about your product.
Survey Monkey is an example of one such service.
You can also easily create free surveys with Google Forms.
A/B Testing: A/B testing is a form of experimentation in which two versions (or variants) of a webpage are shown to users at random.
Each version contains different content, but only one version will be shown to each visitor.
The goal of an A/B test is to figure out what version works best for users—which page converts more visitors into customers, generates more revenue, etc.
The most common method for conducting these tests is through the use of software like Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer. However, some marketers have found success using services like Wufoo, iContact, Typeform, and Wix instead.
- Social Media
You can glean a lot of information from social media, in particular LinkedIn and Facebook.
Social media users often freely share a lot of data about themselves, including Where they work, who they’re friends with, how often they tweet, and what types of content interest them.
Here are some tools that can help you gather user data on social media.
- 1. Facebook Insights
- 2. Google Analytics
- 3. Twitter Advanced Search
While it may seem like an invasion of privacy at first glance, gathering certain types of information via social media is a fairly standard practice among businesses; In fact, most modern companies have entire departments dedicated to mining for useful insights into customer behavior data.
When done correctly (and without crossing any legal boundaries), these techniques can provide a wealth of information for marketing campaigns.
Understanding Customer Personas
With a basic understanding of who your customers are, how they behave, and what makes them tick, you can begin to build relationships with them and as well Enhancing User Interaction With Personalized Data.
You may never become best friends, but you’ll develop a deeper understanding of who they are and what makes them happy. This will allow you to deliver products that hit their sweet spot—and make them more likely to come back for more.
Collecting & Analyzing Data
Before you can use user data for personalization, you’ll need to collect it.
Google Analytics is a free tool that makes collecting and analyzing website traffic information simple.
The tool provides an overview of your site traffic and allows you to set up goals on your website (example: User registers for service) that track conversion rates.
You can then break down users by demographics or behavior to see what they are doing on your site and why they are doing it.
You’ll also want to monitor social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., as well as email marketing campaigns so you know what people are saying about your brand.
This will help you understand how customers feel about different aspects of your business so you can tailor content accordingly. It’s important to remember that one person’s comment could be another person’s validation. Every voice matters!
To further customize your customer experience, consider adding live chat functionality to your website.
Customers often prefer being able to chat with a real person instead of leaving a message or filling out a form. Having someone available via live chat not only shows that you care about their experience but also helps cut down on repeat inquiries from other customers.
Designing & Delivering an Optimized Digital Experience
Nowadays we’re bombarded with a huge amount of data, and with so much information available it’s hard to know what you should pay attention to and where.
By carefully examining user behavior you can ensure that your business is delivering exactly what users want, every time.
The more tailored your experience is, the more likely they are to keep coming back for more.
A/B testing allows you to make improvements based on real-world data rather than assumptions or guesses – so if there’s an element of your site or app that isn’t performing as well as expected, try changing it!
It may seem like common sense but by keeping an eye on how people interact with your site or app (and making tweaks accordingly) you can help boost conversion rates and engagement levels.
And when it comes to customer service, think about ways in which you can use data analysis to improve your support process.
For example, if a large number of customers call in asking about product X, maybe consider adding more info about product X to your website? Or maybe include some FAQs related to product X? There are many different ways in which you could use customer feedback and behavioral data as part of a wider strategy for improving conversions and boosting revenue.
What Can You Do to Keep Customer Data Safe?
An essential part of customer data protection is always keeping in mind that customers want to feel their information is safe.
They should be able to trust that you will never disclose or sell their information, and likewise, they shouldn’t have to worry about protecting it.
After all, your customers are trusting you with their information; you should also keep it safe as well.
Many companies use third-party services for storing customer data. It can be tempting to choose these services because they offer more features than what you might build yourself—but there’s one downside: if those services get hacked, so does your company.
By using third-party services for storing sensitive data (like credit card numbers), you risk putting yourself at risk of a breach that could cost millions of dollars.
An easy way to keep your customers’ information safe is by encrypting it on their behalf before storing it in any form.
There are two ways to do encryption:
- and software.
With hardware encryption, when you store encrypted data on an external hard drive or flash drive, only someone with a key can access it—not even someone with physical access to your hardware will be able to see its contents.
Software encryption uses algorithms to scramble your data before saving it, which means no one but you can unscramble it again.
Both methods work well; however, hardware encryption tends to be faster and easier to implement.
If you have sensitive customer information stored in a database somewhere on your server, then make sure that the database is encrypted as well.
Data may seem intimidating at first, but it’s the key to building an engaging user experience that retains and satisfies your users. Armed with the right data, you can make informed decisions about your product and use it to optimize your user’s time on your site or app.