Digital publishers (and in the age of online content, marketers are exactly that) have found themselves in the middle of the most crowded market imaginable—online content.
The proliferation of online content has been overwhelming for publishers and readers alike: For publishers, it presents the daunting task of breaking through the noise; for readers, the no-less-daunting task is self-curation of content.
The very best shot that marketers have at attracting audiences and maintaining them is to be champions of relevancy. And the foundation of relevancy is personalization.
You might think that websites are largely personalized already by their very nature: A birdwatching website is already personalized for birdwatchers; a leather crafting website is already personalized for leathersmiths.
Well, they are and they aren't. As a digital publisher, you don't need to personalize your content so much as needing to personalize the content experience on your website.
All Clicks Lead to a Story, and That's a Good Thing
Being relevant and offering a personalized content experience is pretty much the same thing; it is just a matter of which side of the coin we're looking at: Personalization is the task of the publisher, relevancy is what the readers are after.
Online reading habits are fundamentally different from newspaper or magazine reading habits. No need to elaborate on that. However, today's online reading habits are vastly different from those of a few of years back, which is to say the heyday of the homepage is long gone. Even the New York Times' homepage traffic fell 50% in two years, according to an internal report.