Marketers are well aware of the many benefits to be found in the personalization of digital experiences, but consumers don’t necessarily share the same enthusiasm for personalization. A recent report [slideshare] from Adobe finds that consumers are split on whether personalized recommendations are well suited (52%) or poorly suited (49%) to them, but are open to better personalization.
Research has shown that the right product recommendations can be extremely powerful, so it’s instructive to see which types of recommendations consumers find the most impactful. When respondents were asked to rank recommendation messages on this message, “based on your favorite” was the most popular, making it into the top 3 (from a list of 8) for half (52%) of respondents. “Recommended for you” was the next-most common top-3 choice (50%), followed by “people also bought” (44%) and “most popular” (40%).
Generally, this suggests that consumers have a slight preference for messages that are personalized to them over messages based on a products’ popularity. Granted, there are a few outliers — the fact that “because you watched” was fifth-most common in respondents’ top 3 (35%) is perhaps due to its more niche association with video streaming, but the relatively low placement of “trending now” and “other people liked this” indicates that popularity alone isn’t too compelling.
Separately, the relative lack of appeal of “people like you” may be due to consumer preference for being treated as an individual rather than a member of a segment.
Nonetheless, when consumers see personalized recommendations, they are highly likely to engage with them. Eight in 10 respondents view additional recommendations sometimes (51%), most of the time (22%) or always (11%), and a further 67% report using these product recommendations at least occasionally.
Meanwhile, the survey finds some reluctance to the practice of sharing data: just 27% of consumers have location sharing turned on for all apps, almost matched by the 21% who do not allow location sharing for any. (The largest share – 52% – allow location sharing for some apps.) The data-sharing required by many personalization methods potentially raises privacy concerns among respondents; when filling out profile forms a plurality of consumers (49%) only fill in what is required.
However, consumers appear open to sharing personal information when there is a clear benefit. Most respondents will share their location in cases where the need for personal information is clear, such as maps and GPS apps (80%) and weather apps (69%), and some 6 in 10 (61%) would allow a mobile app to know their location for the purpose of events, deals and notifications.
Respondents also have a clear idea of how brands can personalize to better reflect them and their community. Some 37% think that brands can better reflect their age, with respondents also wanting better personalization based on interests/hobbies (34%). Fewer are interested in better personalization based on their body type (30%) and gender (26%).
Read more about both consumers’ and marketers’ thoughts on personalization in the full report here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 1,000 adults (18+) from the US and UK. All respondents own at least one mobile device.