Three Ways to Increase the Value of Anonymous Users On Your Website

Every paid subscriber you have now probably started out as a fly-by user, visiting your website from a search result or a post on social media. Do you know what tactics encouraged them to keep coming back?

For users not yet loyal enough to your brand to consider registration or paid subscription, the first step is to build engagement and continue learning about them to maximize their advertising value.

Here are three ways to increase the value of the fly-by visitors on your website, even if it’s not yet the right time to show them a conversion offer.

Overcome ad blockers

Ad blockers, tools designed to remove or hide content identified as advertising on a web browser, are increasingly common. These prevent the display of a range of advertising formats: pages, videos, pop-ups, sticky bars, banners, etc.

Implementing an ad blocker detection tool will allow you to know when a visitor is using an ad blocker. Then, you can target them with custom access restrictions or messaging to encourage them to disable the ad blocker.

Ad blockers can also eliminate your ability to track some traffic, so by encouraging users to disable ad blockers, you’ll recover this quantitative visit data like duration, pageviews, conversion rate and bounce rate. You can then use these metrics to increase the value of your ad inventory and inform other engagement strategies and personalization tactics.

Segment your audience

Even for anonymous users, you have a trove of passive behavioral data at your disposal that can be used to create audience segments. This could include insights from what device a visitor is using, their referral source, their browser, their habits once they arrive on-site and more.

For example, you might know that a user reads content from your homepage on a tablet during the lunch hour. Or visits links solely from social media after business hours. Or reads a new sports story each day early in the morning.

You can use this information to build user profiles and assign the unknown user a unique identifier for cross-device recognition. Once you’ve identified some trends or patterns, segmenting these profiles can help you maximize the value of your audience in the ad ecosystem or to target user groups with personalized engagement tactics.

Personalize the on-site experience

Providing a personalized experience for visitors each time they visit your brand’s site is a big step in the right direction to developing user engagement and brand affinity.

For anonymous users, this could mean using contextual data. For example, if a user reads an article about a new restaurant opening, you might recommend another restaurant review or feature story because you can reasonably assume that the reader is interested in that type of article.

You can also improve performance with auto-optimized recommendations, which balance multiple algorithms: Piano benchmark data found a 99.7% increase in median click-through rates of auto-optimized versus manually optimized content recommendations. This opens an even greater opportunity for publishers to harness personalization strategies to drive engagement.

Test and refine your tactics

With an initial strategy in place to engage anonymous users, split testing can help you determine which tactics are driving the results you’re looking for.

A few things you might want to test in this casual visitor stage include:

  • Effectiveness of different messages to encourage users to disable ad blockers
  • Ad value of user segments based on different behavioral properties
  • Performance of contextual vs. auto-optimized content recommendations

Adopting a mindset of constant improvement sets the stage for testing, adjusting and optimizing your tactics to keep them fresh and effective. Over time, these small tweaks add up to big improvements in user engagement, pushing visitors further down the funnel and increasing their lifetime value.