How personalization affects attentiveness? New data shows a clear connection

Over the past months we have been witnessing the migration of entire B2B business processes from offline to online. Field sales have transformed into inside sales and field marketing into digital. In our recent webinar (link) we have discussed some of those transformations. We showed how Account-based marketers are finding new ways to engage target accounts online as well as leverage personalization. 
A major cornerstone of that transition process is the website. It is now becoming a central hub of the revenue generation processes, affecting all stages of the customer journey, from initial awareness down to the retention and expansion efforts.
As the role of the company’s owned digital assets is growing, so does the need to find new, more sophisticated ways to make the most value of those assets, attract and engage the relevant website visitors.

How is the number of personalized Calls-to-action units (CTAs) correlated with the % of attentive website visitors?

A recent analysis we’ve conducted among websites running our personalization units shows a clear connection between the number of personalization units (mostly, calls-to-action) and the % of Attentive website users. This could be a good opportunity to describe what attentive users are and how they are defined. Attentive users are defined as those that over the past 30 day window have completed reading 3 or more pages and visited the website twice or more. It is a segment of the website’s traffic which we’ve found has a very strong correlation with completing later and deeper business goals, such as becoming opportunities or closed-won deals. It is a helpful proxy to gauge how the digital efforts are successful at capturing the attention of relevant audiences as opposed to just looking at traffic figures.  

We can see that over the span of a little over 4 months, a continuous  rise in the number of CTAs deployed, we also witnessed a rise in the website’s attentiveness rate. The importance of this connection is that we consider attentive visitors not only as those more engaged in a single session but those who also returned to the site twice or more over the past month. That could indicate the personalization units play an important role not only in increase in-session engagement (reduce bounce rates and time on site) but also increase the number of sessions of users over time.  

Although these findings are far from a controlled study and also correlation does not mean causation, it is still a notable connection which we will keep monitoring and testing to validate.  Other researches conducted on the topic, like this paper from McKinzey, share more on how personalization is likely to change over the next few years. As this paper is from 2019, we can only expect that with the effects of Covid-19, these trends will only accelerate and be adopted by more organizations more extensively and rapidly.

Types of CTAs and Personalization Used

In the above cases, marketers made smart use of a combination targeted calls-to-action that were designed to lead their target audiences down specific conversion paths. The majority of unit layouts used were either lightbox popups, usually triggered upon the user’s exit intent, or embedded personalized CTAs nested within the articles themselves.  

Apart from the design and layout, the main difference between these units was their targeting, aimed at specific audience segments. This ensured that more advanced visitors, prospects or existing opportunities and customers, were not annoyed with offers which were not relevant to their stage. For example, existing users from opportunities were not prompted to speak to a sales rep but rather offered relevant case studies to their unique industry. 

Key Takeaways

Address the key stage – Consider the experiences your website delivers to visitors in all major stages of their journey. From top of funnel awareness content and calls to action like blog subscriptions, studies and surveys, to mid and bottom of funnel calls-to-action aimed at more intent level stages.  Adding specific messages for users across those stages will not only help engage them during the session but will also increase the likelihood of them returning to your site. 

Save the Gates for the later stages – Especially for top of funnel, awareness level audiences, make more of your content easily accessible rather than gated. Gate only deeper, more intent level items. This has a dual benefit – it increases the engagement rates of new audiences with your content (since they don’t need to submit personal information) and also can reduce the amounts of noise for your Sales Development teams who would otherwise have to chase non-relevant or too early contacts. 

Quantity has Quality of its own – The more personalized CTAs and targeted activation campaigns you are running on your site, the higher your chances of engaging a relevant prospect with a piece of relevant content or offer. The more of these “micro-segments” you can create, target and serve, the higher outputs of the website you will see. We see this especially in cases of ABM activities. CTAs which target specific companies or industries have higher CTRs and get higher quality leads. The ability to show only case studies of Pharma or Finance to visitors from those companies enables capturing more of the attention of those prospects. A final word of caution – This should not be confused with overwhelming your website visitors with pop-ups and messages which can only interrupt their experience and lower attention rates. 

If you’re interested in exploring other topics, such as how to attribute content marketing, how to measure content marketing ROI, or how to carry out effective B2B account-based personalization (ABM) campaigns, free to explore our blog