When Larry Drebes, CEO of Janrain, set out to study online consumer experiences earlier this summer, he knew that relevant content would be at the forefront of consumer minds. We've seen for years that emails which are personalized to the recipient do better than their generic counterparts.

But perhaps what he could not have anticipated was just how much consumers have come to expect personalization at every stage in their buying process. In truth, nearly three-fourths of respondents in the national poll expressed frustration at content that does not recognize them and adapt to their interests.

“These results [indicate] that consumers have reached the tipping point when it comes to being shown content that isn’t relevant to them,” Drebes explained. “Consumers have been pretty consistent and clear in their feedback, the way to avoid alienating them is to give them what they want -- personalized, relevant content using their data in a responsible and transparent way.”

Below are 22 current marketing statistics from a growing collection of research around personalization across marketing channels. It includes consumer and marketer attitudes toward personalization, results achieved, current limits to full-funnel adoption of personalization, and other considerations marketers should take.

Attitudes Toward Personalization

Attitudes toward personalization have come a long way. In the B2C space, companies like Amazon and Netflix have trained consumers to expect a personalized browsing experience. That expectation has begun to spread into B2B and other industries as well. Companies are beginning to see personalization as a key strategy to their future marketing.

1) Nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g. offers, ads, promotions) appears that has nothing to do with their interests. (Source: Janrain & Harris Interactive) Tweet This Stat

2) According to a recent survey performed by Econsultancy and Adobe, half of surveyed marketers see content personalization as critical to their digital strategies. (Source: Econsultancy and Adobe) Tweet This Stat

3) Econsultancy found that 52% of digital marketers agree that "the ability to personalize content is fundamental to their online strategy." (Source: Econsultancy) Tweet This Stat

4) Among best-in-class B2B content marketers, 71% tailor content to the profile of the decision maker. (Source: The Content Marketing Institute) Tweet This Stat

5) 84% of marketing executives say they plan on developing a process to map rich media content assets to buyer journey stage. (Source: Aberdeen) Tweet This Stat

Results From Personalization

Email continues to lead the wave of personalization in marketing and have the deepest troughs of results. The last two years, however, have introduced some new technology, including HubSpot's Smart Content, which has enabled marketers to see early results of personalization employed across marketing channels.

6) Personalized emails improve clickthrough rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%. (Source: Aberdeen) Tweet This Stat

7) The top reasons for U.S. email users to unsubscribe from a business or nonprofit email subscription are too many emails (69%) and content that is no longer relevant (56%). (Source: ChadwickMartinBailey) Tweet This Stat

8) In a study of more than 93,000 calls-to-action created using HubSpot, and hundreds of millions of views over a 12-month period, HubSpot found that calls-to-action targeted to the user had a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than calls-to-action that were the same for all visitors. (Source: HubSpot) Tweet This Stat

9) In-house marketers who are personalizing their web experiences and who are able to quantify the improvement see, on average, a 19% uplift in sales. (Source: Monetate/eConsultancy) Tweet This Stat

10) 40% of consumers buy more from retailers who personalize the shopping experience across channels. (Source: MyBuys) Tweet This Stat

11) Leads who are nurtured with targeted content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities. (Source: DemandGen) Tweet This Stat

12) A high-impact recommendation from a trusted friend conveying a relevant message is up to 50 times more likely to trigger a purchase than a low-impact recommendation. (Source: McKinsey) Tweet This Stat

13) In a study of 650 multi-channel marketing campaigns, personalized campaigns consistently and overwhelmingly beat out static campaigns in generating a high response rate from recipients. (Source: MindFire) Tweet This Stat

Limitations of Personalization

Because personalization relies on a number of factors, many marketers are still in the early stages of planning their strategies. As with any shift this large in marketing and experience, this transition will take time and resources to scale. The limitations preventing marketers from diving quickly into personalization are both technological and strategic in nature. In addition to moving to software platforms that enable smart, adaptive content, marketers have some work to do to earn consumer trust and define the ways in which personalization will be most helpful.

14) Only 32% of marketers say their CMS accelerates content personalization. (Source: eConsultancy/Adobe) Tweet This Stat

15) 60% note they struggle to personalize content in real-time, yet 77% believe real-time personalization is crucial. (Source: Neolane & DMA) Tweet This Stat

16) 75% say “dynamic, personalized content” across channels is very important, but most are still in planning stages. (Source: Neolane & DMA) Tweet This Stat

17) The top three reasons for not having implemented “dynamic personalized content” across channels were as follows:

  • Complexity of systems (50%)
  • Access to real-time data (46%)
  • Data privacy issues (45%)

18) Only 32% of respondents view their current content management systems as useful enablers of personalization. (Source: eConsultancy/Adobe) Tweet This Stat

Anonymous vs. Permission-Based Personalization

There are varying opinions in marketing about the appropriate time in the customer lifecycle to use personalization. While some argue that personalization should only take place after the end-viewer has consciously provided information to the company, other companies use anonymous data, like the location attached to a viewer's IP address, in order to target viewers by location. In developing your personalization strategy, you'll need to decide what the right approach is for your company and customers. Regardless of what technology enables, it's essential that your strategy start and end with the needs and preferences of the customer. For many, that will mean waiting until the customer has engaged with you before personalizing content.

19) 42% of surveyed marketers claim they personalize using anonymous data. (Source: eConsultancy/Adobe) Tweet This Stat

20) 57% are okay with providing personal information on a website as long as it’s for their benefit and being used in responsible ways. (Source: Janrain) Tweet This Stat

21) 77% would trust businesses more if they explained how they’re using personal information to improve their online experience. (Source: Janrain) Tweet This Stat

22) 62% of adults under 34 are willing to share their location for more relevant content. (Source: jiwire) Tweet This Stat

We have entered into an exciting time for marketers and buyers alike. The ability to create unique experiences for each prospective customer will undoubtedly lead to buying experiences that are more relevant, useful, and enjoyable. As we navigate this new space and develop strategies, it will be important to keep an open discussion going about what's working and what's not in the world of personalization.  

This data is helping to frame the early stages of that conversation. Hopefully the coming year will result in more results and good case studies of companies using personalization to create a more "human" marketing experience.

free context marketing ebook

Originally published Sep 12, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017


Personalization in Marketing