Marketers Value Personalization of the Web Experience. What About Consumers?

October 30, 2013

x+1-Consumer-Perceptions-Digital-Channel-Value-Oct2013A recent survey [download page] of marketers conducted by [x+1] suggests that they consider personalization of the web experience to be a highly valuable digital marketing tactic. In fact, given a list of channels and asked to consider the return on the overall effort associated with each, a leading 79% pointed to web personalization as worth the effort. The results echo earlier findings from Econsultancy and Monetate indicating that a high proportion of marketers believe that personalization of the web experience is critical to current and future success. What’s the consumer’s perspective?

The study from [x+1] includes an accompanying survey in which consumers were asked to rate their perceived value of the various channels in question. Respondents rated the personalized web experience ahead of other channels such as Facebook and Twitter, online video, and mobile advertising, and behind only email. The personalized web was especially noted for providing a memorable and engaging experience and for the accuracy and value of the information received.

The sample base for the consumer survey was quite small (roughly 250), so it’s helpful to look at other research to see whether they draw similar conclusions. A survey released earlier this year by Janrain found that within the US, being shown irrelevant content can drive consumers away: 74% of respondents claimed to get frustrated with websites when content, offers, ads, and promotions appear that have nothing to do with their interests.

That study also suggested that consumers need assurances that their data will be handled responsibly. For the most part, consumers don’t seem to feel that a website recognizing them crosses the line from customization to an invasion of privacy: an Adobe and Edelmand survey found a relatively small 30% of US consumers (and 37% globally) feeling that personalized website experiences cross the line. By comparison, 65% of US consumers (and 51% globally) feel that retargeted ads cross the line. (Respondents to the [x+1] survey seem to agree, rating retargeted ads their biggest digital marketing pet peeve, from a list of 5 options.)

So it appears that in this case, at least, marketers and consumers are in agreement on the value of a personalized web experience, with some caveats.

About the Data: The [x+1] surveys were carried out in conjunction with Research Now. 250 consumers from across the US were surveyed, as were 200 marketers at organizations of all sizes.

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