Your Very Own Internet: The Basics of Website Personalisation | DMA

Filter By

Show All

Connect to


Your Very Own Internet: The Basics of Website Personalisation


As of 2017, there are over 3.5 billion internet users around the globe. But, perhaps what’s more shocking to hear is that on average 55% of visitors will only spend 15 seconds on your website. Now it’s unlikely that all 3.5 billion users will be visiting your website, but either way 15 seconds is an incredibly short amount of time to get people hooked. Whether you’re trying to sell a product or a service, this can make it very difficult to drive sales from your website.

However, fear not, because there is a way to keep people on your site for longer and the answer lies with Website Personalisation. This doesn’t mean giving users the ability to customise your website because that’s clearly a recipe for disaster. The simplest definition, according to the business dictionary, is ‘tailoring the presentation of a website’s content to match a specific user’s instructions of preferences.

So, What is Website Personalisation?

The principal of Website Personalisation is incredibly simple. If someone is trying to get your attention, how much more successful will they be if they call you by name rather than just shouting ‘hi’ across the room? Forms of Website Personalisation could be as simple as a clothes store recommending items based on your size and favourite styles or a music store recommending concerts based on the albums you’ve bought.

Two good examples of Website Personalisation are Amazon and Netflix. If you shop regularly on Amazon, you’ll have probably noticed how the product recommendations are very similar to products you’ve previously been looking at. Amazon isn’t trying to sell you an electric tooth brush if you’ve spent the last hour looking at coffee machines! If we look at Netflix, it’s always trying to recommend TV shows or films based on what style of films you tend to favour. Netflix builds its recommendations by analysing your previous history on Netflix.

How Does Website Personalisation Work?

Website Personalisation is only possible due to the data received when you visit a website. There are three ways to identify the attributes of visitors to any website:

  • Demographic Attributes:
    This is based upon who you are and where you are coming from. This information could include anything from your age, gender or even your job occupation. A website can only get this information if you have previously given it to them. This could, for example, be through an online form to sign up to a newsletter or the details used for an online store when completing an order. If you’ve previously bought clothes online, the store may personalise your future visits to the website by using your gender or age. They are recommending clothes that are more likely to be suitable for you.

  • Behavioural Attributes:
    This is based upon what the visitor is doing on your site or what they have done on previous visits to your site. This could include what products they spend the most time looking at or what section of your website they usually visit first. For example, an online toy shop may push more Lego adverts your way if you have frequently looked at other Lego products, on previous visits.

  • Context:
    This is based upon real time data. This could include anything from the time or location that you are visiting a website or the browser or device you are using. This allows companies to personalise their website to your current situation. The simplest example of this is an international store showing your currency. For example, a watch company could see you are based in the UK and show prices in Sterling even if they are based in the USA.

Why Should You Use Website Personalisation?

According to CMO, 74% of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g. offers, ads) appears to have nothing to do with their interests. The CMO have also found that marketers are seeing on average a 19% uplift in sales when they personalise their web experience. In 2013, John Lewis found that by personalising their site their Christmas sales online increased by 27.9%. If you’re not currently using Website Personalisation, then these statistics make it something to seriously consider!

Personalisation is becoming a massive trend across many different platforms, whether it’s the ability to order personalised birthday cards or Website Personalisation. The amount of potential in Website Personalisation is vast and it’s likely there’s a huge amount of money you could be making by implementing it. According to Usability, ‘88% of online customers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience’. Using a personalised website that is more tailored around the user will also give the user a better experience. This will make them more likely to return.

Want to Learn More?

I’ve only addressed the basics of Website Personalisation in this blog. If this is something you want to learn more about then dive into one of our case studies where we looked how we helped Haven Holidays implement Website Personalisation. With a 21% increase in bookings, this is a project you are going to want to explore!

Hear more from the DMA

Please login to comment.