The world of personalization is rapidly evolving. Consumer expectations of what a great experience looks like regularly change based on the interactions they have with other brands. And technology continues to improve to deliver more impressive one-to-one personalized experiences in real time. It is understandably difficult for most marketers to keep up with all this evolution.  

At Evergage, we strive to stay on top of how marketers are currently thinking about and using personalization. Last week, I was pleased to join Jerry Rackley (Chief Analyst at Demand Metric) to present the webinar 2017 Trends in Personalization, sharing the findings from Evergage’s and Researchscape’s annual study of personalization trends including usage, perceptions and levels of satisfaction.

Here is a preview of what we discussed, but for more detail, check out the webinar replay.

Personalization is a must-have, but marketers believe there’s room for improvement

Nearly all marketers we surveyed (96%) agree that personalization helps to advance customer relationships. Yet the majority (55%) feel that the industry is not currently getting personalization right. And only 30% are very or extremely satisfied with their current personalization efforts. So while marketers are in agreement that personalization is a must-have tactic for building better relationships with their customers, they believe that they can do a better job delivering personalized experiences.

Marketers are experimenting with different personalization tactics

Over 70% of companies are using personalization in some form. Email personalization is the most popular channel for personalization, while mobile app is the least popular. While 67% of marketers who are leveraging personalization are using only rule-based targeting, only 33% are using either exclusively machine-learning/algorithmic targeting or both approaches. And when it comes to the data they use to target their personalized experiences, demographics, location, and pages viewed top the list. This is a great start, but the criteria that can lead to richer, more relevant personalized experiences are used less often: individual preferences and intent, current session behavior, time on site/page didn’t even make the top 10.

Which of the following criteria do you use for targeting visitors or users in order to personalize the experience? - Top 10

state of personalization in 2017

As marketers look to improve their personalization efforts, exploring multiple channels, deeper data, and machine learning are the best places to look to delve into more sophisticated tactics.

Personalization continues to drive measurable results, leading to increased investment

While marketers might not be completely satisfied with the sophistication of their personalization programs, they continue to see impressive results from their current efforts. Most are seeing a 1-10% improvement in their KPIs, but 10% are seeing improvements of 30% or more. The most common areas marketers see these improvements are in conversion rates, customer experience, and engagement.

These results are driving marketers to continue investing in personalization. Ninety-six percent of marketers will maintain or increase investment in personalization this year, and 73% believe that personalization should be a higher priority in their companies than it currently is. As they become more sophisticated and are able to deliver more results for their businesses, we hope marketers will be able to break down some of the internal barriers that are making it more difficult to prioritize their personalization efforts.

Wrap up

This year’s survey showed us that personalization is a valuable tactic that delivers a measurable impact for marketers. But marketers admit they have room for growth.  

To view more findings and advice on how to get started with personalization or improve your existing personalization strategy, watch the webinar replay and download the full report.