One benefit of doing business online is the wealth of customer data you gather. With the right tools and strategies in place, you can use that data to add dynamic content to your website and create elevated, personalized experiences for your visitors.
Whether you set out to create a website for the first time or want to revitalize an existing one, think about what role dynamic content should play in it. In this post, we’ll explore what dynamic content is, some benefits associated with it and how to get the best results whether you're creating a personal website or a business one.
What is dynamic content?
Dynamic content refers to messaging, media and other website features that appear differently based on who views it. Sometimes referred to as adaptive content, dynamic content changes according to the user’s demographic, behavioral data, preferences or history with the brand.
According to a Yieldify report, 74% of brands personalize their website, customer service correspondence, and digital marketing with dynamic content.
Dynamic content vs. static content
Many brands design a website with a combination of static and dynamic content. Static content refers to content that displays the same to all site visitors. Elements such as logos should appear the same way to each viewer to maintain brand consistency. On the other hand, your business might benefit from adding dynamic content to web pages with scripts or applications that determine what content to show based upon user data.
This example from Wayfair shows the differences between dynamic content and static content. A new visitor sees a standard eCommerce home page with a well-organized header at the top and promotional blocks advertising product categories and sales down below:
A logged-in customer sees the same static header components and big slider image “Storage Staples for Every Room” on the left, but Wayfair uses their user data to feature content that is more likely to appeal to them.
While a new visitor might see promotions for rugs and bedding, a returning visitor who had previously purchased items for their kitchen or closet might see kitchen gadgets and storage tools. In some cases, sellers can access a new visitor’s user data from other sites such as Instagram to better tailor their content.
How to decide between static vs. dynamic content
When it comes to the debate of creating a dynamic vs static website, one of the first things to know is that every website will contain a fair amount of static content. If you’re concerned about how much a website costs, you might want to learn how to create a static website since dynamic content can increase costs and require more labor.
You should also factor in website performance when deciding whether to incorporate dynamic content into your website. Just as un-optimized images and large files can slow page load time, dynamic content—which requires additional HTTP requests—can slow things down, too.
Tip: When building a dynamic website with Wix, concerns about performance are less likely. The platform has a wide range of performance optimization tools—such as automatic image optimization, a Content Delivery Network and defense against DDOS attacks—so that a dynamic website is as fast and user-friendly as a static one.
How does dynamic content work?
Dynamic web pages can source many different types of data, but Yieldify’s report suggests that brands use four sources of data most frequently.
76% use real-time behavioral data such as when a visitor is about to abandon a shopping cart or has just finished reading a blog post.
63% use user profile data such as those from email subscribers, blog followers, eCommerce customers and more.
62% use cookie-based historical data such as visitors’ device information, session engagement and website browsing history.
62% use data collected from other channels such as social media, email, Google and online ads.
Once you determine what user data would be most informative, you can set up your page to load the corresponding dynamic content accordingly. In Wix, any dynamic page that you add automatically connects to a database or collection in your Content Manager. This way, you can populate all the pages you want, just by entering the info in your collection.
The benefits of using dynamic content in digital marketing
A Researchscape report shows that dynamic content makes a strong impact on a brand’s relationship with its customers. In fact, 92% of marketers believe that consumers now expect personalized content and offers. If your website and other marketing channels can provide the right dynamic content at the right time, you could receive many long-term benefits.
Dynamic content brings many benefits beyond improved customer relations, including:
Lift in conversions
Larger order sizes
Improved customer retention rate
Higher returns on website and marketing investment
Different types of dynamic content
Wayfair exemplifies how companies can add dynamic content to their home page to increase click-through rates and speed up sales, but you can use dynamic content pretty much anywhere you want on a website.
Brands typically design and write their free landing page to cater to an audience segment—usually those on the verge of converting.
For example, let’s search for “best heatmap tools.” Google shows several pay-per-click (PPC) ads at the top, but let’s focus on Hotjar:
If we click on the Google ad, we’ll see this landing page:
However, if we Googled “Hotjar” and clicked on the organic listing on the search result page, we’d see this:
The dynamic landing page has different messaging, design and content to best fit the user’s existing knowledge of the brand and their intent.
For those who visit the home page via organic search, the home page features an explainer video that helps educate visitors on heatmaps. Those who come to the page via the Google ad see an image and a button that allows them to “Try it free.”
Information related to product imagery, specifications and FAQs shouldn’t differ, as it’s equally critical for all visitors in their decision-making process. That said, smaller areas on product pages can benefit from dynamic content. For example, when visiting the Sephora homepage on mobile, a geotargeting pop-up greets visitors:
By giving visitors a chance to opt-in to location detection, it sets the stage for a payoff shortly thereafter. When a shopper selects their product and before they “Add to Basket,” the site will ask them how they want to receive the item.
The user can get their purchases shipped, request same-day delivery or pickup in a store close to their zip code.
Shopping cart and checkout
Let’s look at Barnes & Noble’s shopping cart page. Both guest shoppers and loyalty members can review their purchase and take it to the checkout. However, the notification banner on the top changes according to membership status:
The loyalty member receives a free standard shipping message while the banner encourages the guest shopper to buy more to reach the free shipping threshold. Two content blocks that promote the BN membership only appear to the guest shopper. If they sign up and pay the membership fee, these dynamic fields disappear and they get a more streamlined checkout process.
When the guest shopper begins the checkout process, they will have to input their shipping and payment details into the form.
For members, Barnes & Noble fills out the fields with previously saved data and preferences:
Blog posts and articles
While you don’t want to mess around with the content integrity of blog posts and articles, you can display dynamic content on the page. One area you can do this in is the call-to-action block.
The Trello blog includes a relevant call-to-action at the bottom of its posts. When a new visitor finishes reading through a blog post, they’ll see this CTA block:
This ad assumes that if a visitor hasn’t logged into Trello, they don’t have an account. But if they’re reading about productivity on the blog, they may benefit from a productivity app like Trello.
Existing Trello customers see this call-to-action instead:
Instead of trying to upgrade the user, Trello tries to increase click-throughs, encourage conversions and retain customers with a guide that improves the software experience.
Your blog can also benefit from dynamic sidebars and banners that feature internal ads for your own company or those from an affiliate ad partner. The dynamic ad content you choose to feature will depend on how you monetize your site. For instance, internal ads will change according to the user’s journey or the content they’re viewing.
Dynamic external content usually appears as remarketing, or ads for products or brands that the visitors engaged with on another site or app. For example, Southeast residents may see ads like this one for the grocery store Publix, when visiting the US Weekly site.
Pop-ups have fallen out of fashion since Google penalized websites with “intrusive interstitials and dialogs.” That said, you can use pop-ups to improve your user experience without penalty.
Gap, for example, displays dynamic pop-up content for when visitors enter the website. New shoppers encounter this lead-generation pop-up that offers 25% off in exchange for an email subscription. Even if the shopper doesn’t convert on this visit, Gap can connect with them via the newsletter and eventually get them to purchase.
Logged-in customers already reap Gap’s money-saving benefits, so the pop-up emerges and sticks to the bottom of the screen. While shoppers can access this “My Offers” pop-up, existing shoppers don’t have to wait to see or engage with it the way that new shoppers do.
While you may hesitate to alter your website header, dynamic content can make it even more of a valuable component in your users’ experience.
Using the example of Gap again, let’s look at how the header differs in design and components for new shoppers. Two bars that appear above the main navigation bar. The top bar shows links to sister domains—Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta—alongside an offer to receive free shipping with a membership. Below that, a gold-hued strip advertises “Sale on Sale” with an offer code.
Existing customers see the same layout, but the header information and links differ slightly. The gold-hued strip is all-white, most likely as Gap wants to focus on the customer’s benefits. The access to “My Gap” as well as the note about their rewards status and points in the top-right corner:
Email and newsletters work in tandem with a website, connecting with leads and customers from the site and driving them back to it. You can’t discuss dynamic content without looking at its use in email, too. It could be as simple as sending out a mass email with a personalized greeting line, like this example from Eventbrite:
While the “Hey [name]!” line is the only dynamic content in this email, it helps the invite feel relevant and personalized.
You can also send out newsletters with content recommendations based on:
The user’s click tendencies in previous emails
The user’s on-site activity and interests
The user’s set email preferences
To do this, program your newsletter to pull in relevant blog metadata—like a featured image, title and description—based on each users’ activity. They’d then receive a newsletter with posts custom-tailored to their interests, increasing the chance they’ll engage with it.
Tips for using dynamic content in your marketing strategy
Keep this advice in mind when using dynamic data on your website and in your marketing campaigns:
1. Get to know your audience first
When you make a website, it’s a good first step to research your target users to understand how they think and behave. This insight will also help you create effective dynamic content.
2. Use tools to add dynamic content to your site
Look for marketing tools that simplify the dyynamic content process with pre-made widgets and app integrations. For example, there are many Wix Apps that can connect and use data from your content manager. You could use Poptin to generate data-triggered pop-ups.
Klaviyo uses your website’s cookies to generate dynamic emails.
There are also apps like Tidio that help you configure smart chatbot conversations.
3. Use dynamic content strategically
Today’s consumers want and expect personalized experiences and content, and many will happily share data if it improves their experience. While you should already have disclosed how you will use and process your data at sign-up to comply with GDPR, it may be helpful to use dynamic content only when it assists the user experience to maintain trust.