Do you struggle to drive traffic to your website, and suffer from low engagement rates on content do you get eyeballs to? You\u2019re not the only one, but a poor plan of action isn\u2019t a great way to boost your marketing productivity.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s hard to drive people to your editorial, but even harder to make them stick around--especially when the average person spends just 37 seconds reading a piece of online content (although some disagree).\r\n\r\nLuckily, there\u2019s a hack you can use to solve this dilemma: Personalization.\r\n\r\n57% of marketers who use personalization say they increased visitor engagement, and 96% praised how the tactic helped to advance customer relationships.\r\n\r\nFancy getting in on the action?\r\n\r\nHere\u2019s how you can use personalization to increase engagement and audience retention for your digital publication:\r\n\r\n \r\nWhy should publishers use personalization?\r\nThere are hundreds of techniques that digital publishers can use to keep their audience sticking around. If you\u2019re questioning why personalization should be the one built into your marketing strategy, here\u2019s your answer:\r\n\r\nPersonalization, and proving you\u2019re genuinely interested in your site visitor, increases engagement rates.\r\n\r\nIn fact, a report by Loyalty 360 discovered that 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalised--meaning you could be doing a disservice to a huge chunk of your audience if you\u2019re not going above and beyond to tailor the content you\u2019re providing.\r\n\r\nIf you\u2019re able to keep people on-site for longer periods of time, it\u2019s bound to help you meet your editorial goals--whether that\u2019s:\r\n\r\n \tSecuring bigger advertising placements\r\n \tSelling more editorial subscriptions\r\n \tGenerating a loyal community around your publication\r\n \tExperiencing a high return on your ad spend\r\n\r\n \r\n4 simple ways publishers can use personalization\r\nAre you convinced on the power that personalization holds, yet?\r\n\r\nUse these four tactics to personalize your editorial content to increase engagement, and meet your content goals:\r\n1. Show personalized ads based on content being viewed\r\nYou can\u2019t report on excellent results to the brands already advertising on your site if people aren\u2019t engaging with them. The same goes for any Google display placements you\u2019ve got.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s not rocket science. But, personalization can be your solution.\r\n\r\nYou\u2019re able to encourage your audience to engage (and potentially buy) through on-site advertisements by showing personalized ads that are tailored to the content they\u2019re viewing.\r\n\r\nFor example: If someone\u2019s browsing a piece of content on how businesses can manage their cash flow, display an advert from an accounting software--not a dog food business. Why? Because it\u2019s more relevant, and tailored to a pain point they\u2019re likely to have.\r\n\r\nGolf Monthly put this into practise on their website. Here\u2019s an article on the Ryder Cup, and an advertisement from Rolex (who sponsor the event):\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n71% of consumers said they\u2019d prefer ads that are tailored to their personal interests and shopping habits. \r\n\r\nPlus, 57% say they\u2019d click on a general ad for a brand they know versus 70% if it\u2019s personalized--proving it\u2019s a powerful way to boost engagement rates on advertisements and report excellent results to your advertisers.\r\n\r\n2. Gate premium content behind optimized forms\r\nYou shouldn\u2019t be giving all of your content away easily, even as a digital publisher.\r\n\r\nPremium content--like exclusive reports, original research or webinars--should be gated behind content that has well-optimized forms. Why? Because it\u2019s an easy way to gather information on your existing users that you can use to power your personalization attempts later.\r\n\r\nIf you\u2019re questioning why I mentioned you\u2019ll need well-optimized forms, it\u2019s to encourage people to fill it in. \r\n\r\nOver half (57%) of consumers are okay with providing personal information as long as it\u2019s for their benefit, and being used in a responsible way. But overfacing your customers with several fields and a confusing layout might put them off. That won\u2019t do any favors for your engagement or retention rates--nevermind collect their data.\r\n\r\nYou can optimize your forms by:\r\n\r\n \tLimiting the number of fields\r\n \tUsing image select questions\r\n \tRecommending auto-fill\r\n \tEnabling social log-in\r\n \tExperimenting with form layouts\r\n\r\nJust take a look at this example on AdWeek\u2019s gated webinar:\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAlthough there are several forms required to access their webinar, they\u2019re collecting tons of valuable information on the person about to watch it, which they can use for further personalization.\r\n\r\nRemember: You need to collect data before you can use it to your advantage!\r\n\r\n \r\n3. Encourage repeat views with segmented emails\r\nDid you know that personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14%? Use the information you collected from form submissions to encourage people to get back to your site--whether that\u2019s to read a new article or download another piece of premium content.\r\n\r\nSoftware like ConvertKit and MailChimp allow publishers to segment emails based on their audience\u2019s previous behavior. For example, you could: \r\n\r\n \tRedirect them to a new marketing blog post if they\u2019ve clicked a marketing-related link in their previous email.\r\n \tEncourage them to sponsor your publication if they\u2019ve visited your sponsorship page.\r\n \tAutomatically sending personalized emails on someone\u2019s birthday, and giving exclusive access to an upcoming piece of premium content.\r\n\r\nFollowing this segmentation process before hitting the \u201csend\u201d button on your email campaigns allows you to send content you know your audience will be interested in, based off their previous behavior.\r\n\r\nHere\u2019s how the HubSpot Academy encourages me to head back to their website through a segmented email:\r\n\r\nThey know I\u2019ve taken a previous course, so they\u2019re pushing me to their website to take another. \r\n\r\nThat\u2019s great for their audience retention, making their content more accessible, and boosting boost engagement rates on their new piece of content.\r\n\r\n4. Use personalized interactive content\r\nInteractive content is a piece of content that gets people to do something, rather than read it. It can take many forms--including quizzes, calculators or interactive infographics--but should form a strong part of your publications\u2019 marketing strategy.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s because interactive content an effective way to personalize the content you\u2019re providing to your audience.\r\n\r\nJust take The New York Times\u2019 mortgage calculator, for example:\r\n\r\nThe content changes based on the data I input, providing me with information that\u2019s tailored to me--not the average Joe Bloggs who\u2019s visiting their website on a whim.\r\n\r\nYou can put this into practise by building a piece of interactive content around a pain point your audience has. \r\n\r\nFor example: If you\u2019re a publication that writes about coffee, your audience of might struggle to make the perfect brew. Why not create a piece of interactive content that tells them how to make the perfect cup of coffee based on the equipment they have at home?\r\n\r\n79% of marketers say interactive content has reusable value, resulting in repeat visitors and multiple exposures. You\u2019d be missing out by not allowing it a place on your website.\r\n\r\n \r\nFinal thoughts\r\nNow you\u2019re fully in-the-know about how you can use personalization to increase engagement and audience retention on your digital publication, it\u2019s time to get started.\r\n\r\nRemember to focus on your audience, and make your data collection process GDPR-compliant. Full disclosure on lead magnet forms is the best way to avoid landing a hefty fine--and upsetting your audience, too.\r\n\r\nGranted, personalization can be tricky if you have thousands of monthly visitors, but the options (and benefits) are endless.\r\n\r\nI can\u2019t wait to see what you come up with!