What is Targeted Content Delivery and Why is it Important?

By Laura Rives — Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 at 11:00am
What is Targeted Content Delivery and Why is it Important?

Chances are, you’ve heard of web personalization and/or targeted content delivery. It’s a concept that’s rapidly gaining traction among marketers and web professionals. You also might hear that it’s “mission critical”, “the only way to truly connect with your audience”, or “an expectation, not an exception”.

Are you scared yet?!?

While it is true that targeted content delivery creates more meaningful experiences for your customers, we certainly don’t want to overwhelm you or make you feel like you’re behind the curve. With the complexity of some sites, it’s normal to assume that only organizations with big teams can truly implement a targeted content delivery model. But let’s debunk!

Let’s start simple with an overview of targeted content delivery and a brief review on it’s importance. Last, we’ll leave you with a few actionable tips for creating a targeted content delivery framework at your organization.

What is Targeted Content Delivery?

According to Marketo, web personalization refers to creating a dynamically personalized, highly-relevant website experience for your prospects and customers based on their behavior, location, profile, and other attributes. It means understanding and meeting their interests, tailoring your website to fit their profile, and providing the best message, content, or offer that’s relevant to them.

Really, it’s real-time changes to your website based on one of three visitor attributes:

  1. IP address. Shows a person’s general location and company name (if they are searching from a registered domain). Enables you to personalize by geo-location, vertical, or account.
  2. Form fills. Data collected when an anonymous visitor transmits information via a form submission. Typical use cases include registering for an event or downloading gated content.
  3. “Digital body language”. Now, this is where it gets really interesting. Your web tools (a content management and content marketing suite, for example), can build a profile for a user based on the way they navigate your site and engage with your materials. This type of “machine learning” correlates visitors to their digital body language to automatically recommend content for each interaction.

Why is it Important?

Take a moment to think about your database of prospects and customers or applicants and students. Chances are that list can be segmented in many different ways including demographics, geographic location, brand familiarity, engagement history - and the list goes on. And I think we’re all in agreement that presenting one singular message will not resonate with everyone in your database.

Additionally, according to a DemandGen report, 70% of buyers have indicated that a vendor’s website was the most influential channel in making a purchasing decision.

Getting Started with Targeted Content Delivery

Here are a few examples of how you can start incorporating targeted content on your website:

Calls to action

You likely have multiple calls to action on your site, enticing your visitors to apply to your college or university, make a donation, register for an open house event, or to subscribe to your newsletter.  Wouldn’t it make sense to customize those calls to action based on your visitors’ actions and the data you’ve collected about them? For example, if someone has already signed up for your newsletter or for a certain event, there’s really no need to show them the same call to action again. You can save the real estate to prompt them to take another step, such as download an application document or schedule an appointment with an advisor. This approach allows you to better guide different segments of your audience through their decision-making process and to create a more efficient user experience.


As mentioned above, you strive to facilitate the most meaningful visitor journey possible. You never want your visitors to feel stranded, and you always want to show them additional content that is relevant to them. Consider adding a list of links that is based on form submissions and data provided. For example, if someone has submitted a pet registration application on your government website, it makes sense to provide a list of links to content involving dog parks, rules and regulations with regard to vaccinations, adoption events, and volunteer opportunities. If you’re a college or university and a prospective student has indicated that they’re interested in a certain area of study or in a specific sport, you can use this information to provide links specifically geared towards the individual’s interest.

Page Content

You may also customize your main content on your pages based on the data you’ve collected about your visitors. For example, if a prospective student has filled out a form on your site and indicated in which county or state they’re currently residing, you may have a page called Upcoming Events hosted by your college and restrict the listings to events within that particular county or state. Or you may ask your visitors to classify themselves as a parent, alumni, current student, prospective student, or faculty/staff and then slightly modify the terminology and tone on certain pages so that those nuances are best suited for each segment of your audience.

Wrap Up

There’s no shortage of opportunities to deliver targeted content to your visitors. However, we recommend starting with a few test cases and closely monitoring conversion rates so that you can iteratively fine-tune your strategy before expanding your efforts.

If you would like to learn more about targeted content delivery, please feel free to reach out to us at info@hannonhill.com.

What about you? Are you providing targeted content and personalization on your website? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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