Solving Common Blockers to Web Personalization

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Last Updated: Oct 14, 2021 11:00 AM


There are many reasons why you may think personalization won’t work at your organization or that you don’t have the time to embrace a new endeavor. But we’re here to help by answering common questions that arise when organizations think about implementing personalized content on their websites.

How do you maintain personalization in an era of enhanced privacy concerns, particularly considering GDPR and California’s privacy laws?

Catering to an individual’s desire for a personalized experience while respecting their privacy may seem counterintuitive. But there are techniques to solve this challenge.

Most importantly, make sure that the provider of your personalization software understands GDPR and can assure you that data can be deleted upon request and in the required amount of time.

Additionally, give control of what information is collected and let visitors see which content is personalized for them. Enable them to reset back to the default, if they so choose.

Finally, show a commitment to protecting information with a strong privacy policy and by asking for explicit consent. Don’t share data without permission.

Overall, use the information to create a distinct experience - make it worth it!

How can we convince different departments to come together to make digital personalization a success?

Sharing case studies and success stories is the best way to achieve organization buy-in, both from different groups within the organization and members of leadership. If you’re ready to start down the path to personalization but you’re worried others will not support your efforts, begin by experimenting with the pages or sites under your purview. 

Start with the lowest-hanging fruit and begin building your case. Check out our blog post, Four Personalization Quick Wins to Try Today, for inspiration about where to start. 

But first, make sure you grab a snapshot of relevant analytics to build your baseline and measure results. Once you are able to show progress in terms of conversion rates, share your success with other groups within your organization. 

How do we adjust or filter out off-brand personalization campaigns without alienating faculty members willing to try personalization?

Just like with any other requests for your site, be sure to educate your stakeholders on the importance of a consistent user experience. With regard to personalization, try to focus primarily on the content and not so much on the presentation layer. Share and celebrate every win with your stakeholders. 

Do we need to create distinct web pages for every personalization option or path?

No, creating duplicate web pages is not required. Clive, Hannon Hill’s digital engagement and real-time personalization tool, creates different versions of content snippets (which can be in-page content like a sentence or paragraph, images, calls to action, videos, banners, etc) and identifies which visitor needs to see which version based on one or more criteria (including geolocation, form submissions, form data, search terms, pageviews, and more).

Do we need to create content for numerous personas and potential visitor journeys?

It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed by the thought of creating and maintaining an abundance of new content for a long list of personas and potential actions they may take on your site. But we’re here to tell you that incorporating personalization into your site should take a crawl, walk, run approach. Try for some quick wins to prove the process and gain organizational buy-in. 

Start with five (or fewer) personas that will help you hit your goals, and create targeted content for those groups. For example, if your organization is recruiting continuing education students, start by swapping out images or calls to action that will appeal to that audience. 

How do you handle audiences that are dual roles? A staff member who is also a student, for example.

The approach depends on your tools. With Clive, you can determine priorities. Also note that the priorities can vary depending on the type of content. For example, a visitor can be both a parent and a donor, but you don’t want to always prioritize parent content over donor content, so you can actually determine precedence on a granular level. 

Every program has to create and maintain its personalized content. Would this special content be another piece to be reviewed/updated as the academic website is reviewed?

Personalized content needs to be reviewed on a regular basis, especially in the beginning stages or a campaign, so you can learn what’s working and what’s not. Note that you don’t have to create a dozen versions of each piece of content. Start small, maybe with a few different calls to action, some inline content based on geolocation, or simply helpful links based on the program type or type of student. 

Is personalization managed by the CMS, or is it being tied to a different system like a CRM?

Clive is a separate app that integrates with Cascade CMS (or the CMS of your choice). It allows you to send form submission data to systems like CRMs. Ideally, the products in your tech stack will connect well with each other. 

Is it possible to show localized content and translate text for international visitors?

With Clive, it’s possible to show personalized content based on geolocation and display content in a visitor’s native language. 

Wilfrid Laurier University is a great example. They have seen tremendous success by showing different content to their audience based on whether they are inside or outside of Canada. They also customize the International Student section based on the visitor’s geolocation, so that users see the “Hello” message and other relevant content in different languages. And, for specific geographic regions, the generic list of options for translation is narrowed down based on their geolocation. 

To learn more about how colleges and universities are utilizing Clive to build great user experiences, please check out our presentation, “Web Personalization: Dipping Your Toes In”, delivered during the 2021 HighEdWeb Annual Conference.

To start a conversation with us about web personalization, please drop us a line by emailing