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Marketers remain stuck on the basics when it comes to personalization, and recent research reaffirms that notion that it’s still early days for such efforts, with plenty of room for growth in effectiveness and targeting, for example.
A June 2015 study by VB Insight found that email was the most popular digital channel used for personalization. Among marketers worldwide, 80% said they used email to deliver personalized content. Second-place social media trailed in a distant second, at 42%. No other channel broke 40%: website landing pages (37%), homepages (36%) and content such as articles and blog posts (31%) rounded out the top five.
Respondents were most likely to rely on on-site activity such as downloads and pages viewed for personalized efforts, with 43% citing this as a type of historical customer data used for personalization, while search activity, social activity, and communication activity were each used by around four in 10.
While some respondents reported a significant boost in certain metrics as a result of personalization, results as a whole showed much room for improvement. Email open rates, return visits and site visitors saw the biggest lifts from personalization, with more than six in 10 respondents reporting at least some increase in each. Downloads and app installs had the biggest room for growth, while around half of respondents saw every other metric increase by some extent due to personalization. And in a sign that many had just begun personalization efforts, a plurality of respondents said it was too early to tell its effect on each metric.
When the study asked marketers about their primary business objective when using personalization, respondents were most likely to say reaching more prospects, cited by nearly four in 10. Increasing conversions and sales trailed by 14 percentage points, while increasing retention/decreasing churn (16%), increasing qualified leads (12%), and reducing acquisition costs (10%) grabbed smaller shares.
However, further responses suggested marketers were limiting their pool of potential prospects to reach. Fewer than half (47%) targeted both known and anonymous consumers via personalization, while 6% were anonymous-only. While this makes sense due to the fact that customers are who companies have data about, it suggests few prospects are actually being reached, as most are anonymous.
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