In 2022, the old adage “every dollar is a vote” rings truer than ever, as customers place higher premiums on companies they relate to on a personal level. To accommodate these values, companies are being pressed to find new ways to enhance the customer experience with interactions that are highly individualized and more personally relevant.
In response, many companies have taken bold steps to place content personalization at the forefront of their marketing and sales strategies. According to a 2021 Statista survey, for example, 33% of American and British companies are now spending at least half of their their marketing budgets on content personalization – and by popular vote, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) declared “personalization” the “2019 marketing word of the year.”
The ANA went as far as to describe personalization as the “holy grail of brand marketing,” most particularly for its ability to send “the right message, at the right time, in the right medium.” Indeed, research compiled by Hubspot shows that 99% of marketers claim that personalization advances customer-brand relationships. With so much compelling data pointing to the efficacy of message personalization, what makes it work so well – and how is 2022 affecting marketing personalization trends?
The Achievements of Personalized Marketing Campaigns
It’s essential to measure the ROI of any marketing technique, no matter how popular it becomes. This not only proves that a technique actually works but sheds light on how to fine-tune it for maximum effect. So exactly how effective have personalized marketing and sales campaigns been for boosting revenues, improving retention rates, and not just increasing but multiplying various sales metrics?
According to that extensive compilation of studies by Hubspot mentioned above, here are just some of the reasons personalized strategies work wonders from both the customer’s and the marketer’s perspective.
A Personalized Customer Experience
- Nearly 75% of respondents in one poll expressed frustration over content that does not adapt to their interests.
- Impersonal content is actually annoying to nearly half of consumers
- The portion of customers expecting personalized online experiences was 92% in 2021 – a rise of seven percentage points from 2019
- Automatically adjusting the content for context was considered important by 67% of consumers,
- Four-fifths of customers were more likely to make a purchase when they had personalized experiences
- An estimated nine-tenths of American consumers find personalized marketing content at least somewhat or even very appealing
- According to further research by SmallBizGenius, 56% of customers remain loyal to brands that seem to “get them”
Marketers’ Success With Personalization
- In one study, 78% of marketers claimed that personalizing content has either a “strong” or “very strong” effect on improving their relationships with customers (while, as noted, a full 99% claimed that it advances their relationships to at least some degree)
- A 5% increase in customer retention boosts profits by anywhere from 25% to 95%, depending on the company – and 58% of companies are heavily invested in personalization strategies to achieve higher retention rates (see SmallBizGenius research in the previous link).
- Hubspot reported that personalized emails have become the single most reliable tactic for improving engagement rates through email marketing
- Another Statista study showed that over a quarter of American and British companies surveyed experienced a 300–500% ROI from their personalization efforts – and almost a tenth of respondents reported an ROI of 20 times!
As impressive as many of these figures are, this is just the natural trajectory of well-established principles – personalized emails, for example, have long out-performed generic counterparts, and the means to personalize content in both marketing and sales have skyrocketed. All the same, it’s still illuminating to see just how successful personalized marketing has become over more basic and non targeted strategies.
These metrics are extremely promising, but there’s a hitch: the digital ad space, tracking protocols, and privacy concerns are precipitating significant changes in the way online marketing data can be traced in the coming years. This is leaving virtually every online marketing professional wondering exactly how this will affect marketing campaigns in general – and many are looking to content personalization in particular to fill certain gaps in analytics practices that will result.
Related: Announcing ICP Analytics
Changes on the Horizon
2023 shows every sign of being likely to shake up the digital marketing world – but it’s far from something that can’t be handled. Most primarily, changes to the cookie policies of Google and popular browsers will fundamentally change how most browsing activities can be tracked. Further, Apple will be implementing privacy features that will change how email data can be analyzed (or more accurately, can’t).
Being aware of these changes before they take place will help you plan accordingly, and we’ll provide several personalization-based alternative solutions that will set your e-marketing business up for a smooth transition.
Harder To Reach Into the Cookie Jar
With browser support for third-party cookies vastly diminishing or even being eliminated, first-party data directly acquired by companies (and not partners) is not just more important – it’s the only way to go. Google is also coming closer to its once-delayed termination date for third-party cookies (being the end of 2023), and they will be phased out of the Chrome Browser by the end of 2022.
The effects all this will have on marketing is clear: those that rely on third-party cookies will need to rely on more advanced analytical methods for tracking and measuring lead generation data and performance metrics. Companies that have relied on Google selling them web ads targeted to people’s browsing habits will also have to invest in new methods or entirely new data-collection strategies.
One inevitable change is that companies will, by necessity, reorient their online cookie-tracking efforts to data acquisition sourced directly from their own web properties, and more explicit efforts to gain customer consent will also increase. The common denominator for both of these changes will be how well companies can personalize their content in the hopes that their audience is more willing to explicitly give them the ability to track their usage habits willingly and overtly.
Usage habits are now spread across multiple channels, meaning it’s more important than ever to coordinate more personalized customer interactions across your company’s owned and paid advertising properties, as well as audience interactions on your own domains, social media accounts, and even review sites. The takeaway is that your efforts should be coordinated for omnichannel uniformity no matter how broad your marketing and efforts may become while you rely on much more direct company-customer interactions in the absence of old methods.
Without third-party cookies, managing efforts like this requires finding new ways to determine what to even coordinate for best effect. Since it will be harder for companies to employ targeted advertising based on third-party site activity, they will have to use other methods to infer visitor interest, such as:
- Tracking mouse-hovers or clicks
- Geolocation (including local weather and current events, etc.)
- Referral data based on previous engagements with the customer
- Generic popularity or odds-based determinations
Though it remains to be seen, it wouldn’t be surprising if this squeeze towards more explicit consent between site owners and users precipitated a significant increase in offers and digital rewards programs in exchange for a customer’s overt cooperation with data tracking.
Lights Out on Email Campaign Tracking
In addition to major changes to cookie tracking, there are also significant restrictions coming to email data-collection abilities. Large platforms are initiating sweeping changes to privacy policies, most primarily Apple’s new Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) updates, which gives Apple users the option to hide their email addresses from certain websites that otherwise require them. Apple will also allow users to hide their IP addresses by privately loading remote content.
What this means for email marketers is that they cannot as easily measure email-campaign effectiveness. Tracking even certain basics, such as deliverability, send-time optimization, and open timings or rates will now be extremely difficult or impossible.
True to form, intrepid marketing experts have proposed several solutions to help email marketers adapt to these new restrictions with more personalized efforts:
- Segment your email subscription list for Apple users for alternate analytics methods
- Broaden engagement metrics, and emphasize deliverability and click-throughs over open rates or timing measurements
- Eliminate dependencies of any metric on open rates
- Use the email quality score, which essentially calculates the ratio, expressed as a percentage, of unsubscribes to positive responses
- Obtain user feedback through polls and surveys
Important though they are, it’s easy to get overly bogged down with technical tools and techniques. In the end, though, don’t forget that what matters most is simply knowing what your audience wants and where they’re coming from. If you have a strong connection with them, you’ll be able to share information no matter how the digital landscape changes.
Opportunities for Deepening Audience Connections
As customers increasingly expect the companies they engage with to “get” them – and in some ways, even anticipate their needs – companies have found incredibly successful ways of doing just that.
The result has been a fantastic increase in synergy where customers enjoy greater control over their relationships with vendors while those vendors who accommodate their customers’ most personal needs are generating massive improvements in ROI, retention, and customer satisfaction rates.
Despite the significant coming changes to internet data, there is little reason to worry for those companies that stay on the cutting edge of (A) customer outreach and (B) advanced analytics techniques.
With Vertify, businesses are able to do this by integrating and orchestrating all their data into a clear, clean, and unified view of their prospective buyers and where they are in their buyer’s journey.
As the digital landscape changes, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the game with as many revenue automation tools as possible in order to continue providing customers with the personalized services they want. To ensure that you can continue to send your customers the right message, at the right time, and in the right way, request a demo with Vertify today.
Author: Matt Klepac | CEO | Vertify