Emotional Targeting & Personalisation In Web Content

Conversion rate optimisation is all about tweaking and testing our content to maximise its efficacy in achieving our desired business goals. Simple enough, right? Perhaps…if we were predictable machines and not sentimental, fickle, capricious human beings.

The decisions we make are more emotionally driven than we’d care to admit

There are hundreds of cognitive biases that affect all of our decisions and colour our world, as informed as we might consider ourselves of their potency. This means that knowing intuitively how our customers will respond to marketing messages is simply not a reality (which is why the most important tool in the CRO toolkit is testing).

As marketers, we should play into these tendencies to more effectively help our products or services and our target audiences to find each other, and to resonate more strongly with one another.

CXL Institute recruits world-class experts and practitioners to deliver the most comprehensive education programs available for marketers. Talia Wolf, one such CXL expert, has a unique and effective system for leveraging emotional triggers in customers to boost conversions for businesses online.

Making content and copy that is emotionally compelling

Wolf’s method is based on years of experimentation and is easy to execute. With a handful of steps, we can infuse the content that we are producing with elements that favour the way our customers think and feel in order to build an emotionally-compelling landing page.

Like any good marketing preparation, researching our competitors is a fantastic place to start. Look at 10 or more competitors (or as many as you can if there are fewer) websites and their content, and try to establish where you fit in the market from an “emotional” perspective. This includes taking into account a lot of these competitors’ brand features and things such as:

  • Their messaging
  • Colours
  • Imagery
  • Emotional triggers

Consider a classic SWOT analysis for determining where you stand in comparison to these other brands. Where can you get a leg up on the competition? What are they missing that you could take advantage of? What strengths does another brand have that would simply make no sense to try and beat them at? Laying these questions and more on the table will help you identify the market gaps you should be looking for, as far as the presentation of your content is concerned, developing a test hypothesis (remember: this is only a hypothesis requiring rigorous testing!).

We can start to introduce our new information into an “emotional targeting content framework” which puts our proposition side-by-side with our competitor’s products. We should compare the following attributes:

  • Emotions
  • Elements
  • Words
  • Visual
  • Colour

This emotional targeting strategy is one component in the larger world of personalisation, the granular, highly-segmented, customer-focused marketing of the future. Impressively, what Wolf doesn’t fail to address is the UX component of the content’s presentation, particularly in regards to cross-device functionality.

Mobile is neglected…when it should be the first priority

Mobile has well and truly surpassed desktop as the most popular means of browsing the internet, representing 55% of global web traffic and desktop taking 42% (the remainder is attributed to tablets). If your landing page is not presented desirably on the mobile version of your website, you are hugely jeopardising your conversion rate.

On top of that, it goes beyond the argument of usability — from an SEO standpoint, it is no longer even up for debate. From March 2021 (having given several years’ heads-up), Google has moved all websites to mobile-first indexing, meaning that it now rates all websites’ ranking abilities based on their mobile versions as opposed to the desktop versions.

The rising relevance of device types other than desktop over the past several years has made it trickier to track buyer journeys across all touchpoints using tools like Google Analytics. But we need not fret — the future is promising.

More personalisation control with Google Signals

First announced in July 2018, Google Signals is a relatively new feature of Google Analytics; however, it is a tool that has been a long time coming.

Over the past couple of decades, Google has slowly built an army of users; it now boasts a staggering 1 billion+ monthly active users. As of February 2021, Google Chrome represents 63.59% of web browser market share worldwide. This is more than 3 times greater than the nearest competitor, Apple’s Safari, which itself is several times more popular than the rest of the field. That’s to say, Chrome is overwhelmingly the market leader.

What this means is that Google can begin to eliminate the tediousness and guesswork that goes into trying to link data various client IDs that could represent a single real-world user, and can start to track their journey across all of the users' devices, bringing cross-device tracking to the mass market for the first time.

The adoption of Google Signals will bring rise to personalisation forming an integral part of the archetypal digital marketing strategy of the 2020s. Personalisation emphasises the need to keep in mind the preferences of your audience in order to provide a personally-optimised experience, in the right places, at the right time (across both organic and paid channels alike). Where emotional targeting addresses the optimisation of the content for the customer, Google Signals is one of the tools that let us better understand what those messages might look like and thereafter test their efficacy.

The implications of Google Signals are, of course, much broader, but in the context of emotional targeting and personalisation, it has never been easier to understand how our customers want to be reached, the type of content they want to consume, and the messages that resonate most with them.

Privacy implications of personalisation

Privacy concerns are a common theme in the rise of marketing personalisation. Legislators have been busy in the last few years bringing digital privacy laws in line with the times, and have ensured that things will remain as they always have been: users will remain anonymous.

There is more transparency than ever on what data is being used and consumers now have more control than ever over their own ad personalisation data. There is more work to be done, no doubt, but users need not worry about any increase in a threat of a compromise of privacy.

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