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  • Feb 14, 2023
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International website personalization: how it works

International website personalization: how it works

Marketers already know the true value of personalization. However, delivering personalization is a challenge, especially at an international level. The difficulty in delivering an online experience that is easily accessible and personally relevant to an international audience can tax the resources of even the most powerful and influential movers in the marketplace.

Not only do these firms need to provide a personalized experience for their domestic users, but they also must account for the various languages, cultures, and different interests of their different target markets.

Before we dive into the inner workings of international personalization, let us remind ourselves what exactly is website personalization.

What is website personalization?

Website personalization is the set of processes that go into developing custom-tailored experiences for website visitors. Website personalization lets organizations deliver individualized experiences based on the user’s unique set of desires and needs, instead of offering a one-size-fits-all presentation to all users. The goal of website personalization involves applying customer data, such as browsing history or previous purchases and crafting a user experience specifically for that customer.

At Magnolia, we put great emphasis on constantly enhancing our product’s personalization capabilities. Magnolia DXP allows you to apply explicit and implicit personalization. Explicit personalization is where content is delivered to the user based on the information that has been consciously stated by the visitor, this includes names, age, gender, and location. This information can be retrieved by registration forms or signing up to a newsletter or webinar. Implicit personalization involves tracking user activity and then utilizing this information to deliver personalized service.

To learn more on explicit and implicit personalization, check this article Personalization: explicit and implicit, some do’s and don’ts.

Why international website personalization starts with content localization

Sociologist Roland Robertson coined the term “glocalization” to explain the phenomenon of global entities creating localized branding. Instead of treating globalization and localization as polar opposites, glocalization represents the melding of global and local cultures. According to Robertson, these cultures both depend on and influence each other.

With these influences in mind, international businesses often look to create localized content for each specific audience in their markets.

Content localization involves creating content that looks and feels as though it was crafted for that specific audience. This level of localization goes beyond simply translating content from one language to another, but also ensuring that the language fits the target market location. For instance, translating a site from English to French is one level of localization, but ensuring that the French translation fits markets in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Quebec is another thing to keep in mind. Each market will have its own analogies, metaphors, and idioms that won’t be understood by other markets that share the same language.

Content localization also involves ways in which the content is formatted and presented to users. As an example, readers of most European languages (English, French, Spanish, German, etc.) read from left to right, while readers of some Middle Eastern languages (Hebrew, Arabic, etc) read from right to left.

From an Ecommerce perspective, content localization enables brands to make sure they have the right currency, contact information and opening hours in place.

To learn more on personalization in Ecommerce, check this article Ecommerce personalization: everything you need to know.

At first glance, the idea of creating unique experiences for a global audience does seem like a lot of work. However, to ensure you can successfully deliver personalized experiences at an international level, without exerting too much effort, you need to have the following key components in place.

The key components of international website personalization

Vendors and organizations with global audiences must address several key issues when considering the creation of a personalized online experience for international audiences. This is why it is important to have the right technologies in place.

Performant personalization: Delivering blazingly fast personalized experiences at scale

Download this paper on how to create personalized experiences at scale. Created by Verticurl and Magnolia.

Multilingual capabilities

The primary consideration for catering to an international audience involves the capability of communicating a branding message to an audience in a language that they can understand.

Magnolia accomplishes this by providing a host of translation features and services out-of-the-box, including integration with Translations.com or Deepl and auto-translate with Google or Microsoft services (you can check them all on the Magnolia Marketplace). These features enable you to translate content directly in Magnolia’s Pages App and Content apps with automated translation into the publishing workflow.

Multi-site capabilities

One of the best ways to provide content for multiple audiences is to develop an individual site for each international market. However, the downside is that managing multiple sites is resource intensive and can lead to content duplication and inconsistent brand messaging.

Thankfully, Magnolia comes with a powerful feature called Live Copy, which allows you to manage and distribute content across multiple websites with ease, without duplicating efforts. Live Copy allows your central editorial team to automatically roll out to all your websites any changes they make to your core brand content which is common across all websites. At the same time, your local teams can flexibly overwrite that content that needs to have a local flavor.

Especially if you have a large international presence, Live Copy can help make your localization efforts efficient and scalable.

Audience targeting

Personalization starts with knowing your audience, who they are and where they come from, and then create content targeted towards specific market segments.

In Magnolia, these segments can be defined by traits. Magnolia comes with a number of default traits out-of-the-box including the current date, the visitor’s home country, whether the visitor is new or an existing customer, and if the visitor’s browser has cookies enabled.

Content variants

To serve personalized content at scale, multiple variants of the content must be created. Magnolia makes it as easy as possible to create variants of components or even of full pages.

Magnolia allows users to create different types of content for different audiences through page personalization. When the personalization rules of the page match the visitor’s profile, Magnolia “swaps” the default page for the page geared toward that visitor’s profile.

Instead of creating entire pages dedicated to a specific audience, editors can also use Magnolia to personalize specific components of the content. This capability reduces the need for redundant content that is carried across to multiple audiences, while still providing relevant content that met the user’s needs and requirements.

To learn more about Magnolia’s personalization features, check this article Magnolia personalization in-depth.

Cross-channel delivery

While the World Wide Web does encompass the globe, not all devices that can access the internet are available in all regions. A cross-channel content creation strategy can ensure that customers in specific markets can view content on the devices and touchpoints available in that region.

Ticino, a popular touristic region at the border of Switzerland with Italy, used Magnolia’s hybrid headless CMS to make personalized content available through multiple channels, including the HikeTicino smartphone app, which they developed and integrated into Magnolia, and on-site interactive display kiosks.

To learn more about Ticino’s story, check this case study How Ticino offers personalized multichannel experiences with Magnolia.

Magnolia: leaders in international website personalization

As technology becomes more widely available, international audiences no longer view personalized online experiences as a luxury, but as a necessity for doing business with a vendor or a brand. Customers want online experiences that reflect their background, language, and location. When organizations fail to provide those experiences for their international customers, those customers will look elsewhere for them.

Magnolia has been among the leaders in CMS/DXP technology for companies seeking to develop personalized online experiences.

To find out more about targeted content and experiences at a large scale and pace (content creation and delivery that is aware of the channel, commerce, personalization, analytics, and more), read our whitepaper Performant personalization: delivering blazingly fast personalized experiences at scale.

About the Author

Sorina Mone Marketer at Magnolia

Sorina shapes Magnolia’s brand and product communications, with a focus on creating demand and on enabling sales, partners & clients to make the most out of this great product.

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