Virtually all marketers believe that personalization helps advance customer relationships and that their prospects and customers expect a personalized experience, new research from Evergage has found. But only 45% agree that they’re getting personalization right, and further results from the study indicate that personalized channels and experiences remain limited.
For example, email (72%) and websites (57%) are the only channels in which a majority of respondents are using personalization. Even that seems higher than other research has reported: last year, for example, an Econsultancy and RedEye study noted that only 1 in 4 company marketers were personalizing websites. In that same survey personalization was perceived to be highly valuable to conversion rate optimization: advances in this area are of utmost importance to marketers, since increased conversion rates are the main benefit ascribed to personalization by the Evergage survey respondents.
Far fewer respondents to this latest study, though, have cracked the code for mobile websites (28%), web apps (20%) or mobile apps (18%).
For the 45% of respondents who don’t have plans to use website or in-app personalization (web or mobile) in the coming year, the main obstacles are other higher priority initiatives and lack of technological savvy.
Meanwhile, personalized experiences remain fairly limited. Email campaigns are the most common type of personalized experience, used by almost two-thirds of marketers. In fact, better personalization is the top improvement to email marketing sought by respondents to a new study [download page] from Adestra and Econsultancy.
Home pages (58%) and recommendations (58%) are also fairly popular areas of personalization, per the Evergage survey, and half are personalizing interior pages. Given that website content personalization is considered quite difficult, these could be seen as encouraging results.
Again, however, there’s less uptake in other areas: fewer than one-third are personalizing navigation (29%), search (27%), pricing (22%), videos (18%) or sorting (16%).
On the positive side, satisfaction with personalization efforts is on the rise: 30% this year report being “very” or “extremely” satisfied with the level of personalization in their marketing efforts. That represents a considerable increase from last year’s survey. And while “C” was the most common grade given to personalization efforts last year, in this survey marketers have advanced to a most common score of “B”. Grade inflation?!
Also worth noting is that marketers are using a large variety of criteria for targeting visitors, ranging from location (60%) to demographics (56%), pages/content viewed (54%), persona (46%) and stage of customer journey (42%). Seven in 10 are getting assistance from marketing tools, and one-third are using machine learning, more than double last year’s proportion.
Add it all up, and the outlook seems bright for personalization activities. With almost three-quarters believing that personalization should be a higher priority in their organization, almost half (46%) will increase their personalization budget and spending this year. Given that close to 9 in 10 are seeing some measurable results from website or in-app personalization, that seems like a reasonable plan.
About the Data: Evergage and Researchscape International surveyed 206 organizations of all sizes about their marketing operations and implementation of personalization. The technology industry was the most heavily represented (26%) followed by retail (12%). Some 43% of companies are entirely B2B-focused, while 41% are B2B and B2C focused and the remaining 16% fully B2C focused. The vast majority of respondents are based in the US.