In an era of endemic over-messaging to consumers, leader brands are focused on personalization and targeting as a way to rise above the clutter.

And while this has been a high priority on the paid media side of things for a while,  many brands are still struggle to apply the same principals to content assets.

Previously, successful content and commerce strategies focused on creating the widest range of site content possible—from diagnostic tools to how-to videos—to encourage consumer engagement. In a mobile-first world, however, content for content’s sake can often overwhelm consumers, and brands are shifting their focus to deploying and integrating bespoke site features that drive conversions directly.

L2’s recent Content and Commerce Report  identifies several key areas where small content investments can yield significantly improved user experiences. Diagnostic tools, for example, led to 40% longer site visit durations compared to brand sites that lacked these features.

The site homepage is often a consumer’s first digital touchpoint with a brand, yet many brands have struggled to produce streamlined and relevant homepage experiences. L2 found an average bounce rate of 47% among brand sites analyzed, meaning brands lose almost half of consumers before they even see a product or grid page. Personalized homepages, based on either logged-in account information or browser-based cookies, dropped average bounce rates to 39%. Yet only 13% of brands L2 analyzed take advantage of this feature. Additionally, personalization drives consumers to spend 46% more time on site and view 39% more pages per visit.

L2’s study identifies best-in-class brands and stragglers in this area. The Macy’s homepage, for example, is cluttered and difficult to navigate while the Nordstrom homepage is streamlined and personalized. The Macy’s homepage lacks personalization and attempts to balance 24 different content sections— from jewelry to sportswear to home furniture—while also dispersing products, brands, and promotional offers throughout. Conversely, Nordstrom’s homepage is simplified for a streamlined user experience. The brand’s homepage only has nine sections, with clear brand and trend spotlights, and provides personalized product recommendations based on the user’s previous browsing behavior.

Content for content’s sake overwhelms the consumer; best-in-class brands deploy bespoke content that drives conversion directly.

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