Taking Real-Time Personalization from Fantasy to Reality

Lack of knowledge and budgets remain the greatest obstacles to personalization. Garnering buy-in is paramount.
Customer Experience

Personalization continues to bring customer relationships to the next level. But, as data analytics expands, consumers increasingly expect companies to deliver tailored experiences in real time. For many brands, however, real-time personalization has yet to become reality.

Evergage's recent "Trends and Priorities in Real-Time Personalization" report explores global B2B and B2C marketers' attitudes and expectations regarding real-time personalization. Conducted in partnership with Researchscape International, the study polled 242 marketers to determine how businesses are currently using data-driven personalization (completed in under one second) to engage consumers and how brands plan to expand their strategies within the next 12 months.

The following statistics examine the average company's plan for increased investment and execution, as well as the perceived benefits and challenges behind real-time personalization:

  • Overall, 91 percent of marketers either use or intend to use personalization for online customer interactions within the next 12 months. Forty-two percent of respondents aren't using real-time personalization, but 78 percent of this group intends to within the next year.
  • Nearly half (49 percent) of all marketers intend to increase their personalization budgets, with 80 percent planning to increase spend by more than 10 percent, as 86 percent of respondents have already reported significant lift from their personalization initiatives.
  • Of the 58 percent who use real-time personalization, most have deployed such strategies across their websites (76 percent), mobile sites (29 percent), Web applications (22 percent), and mobile apps (16 percent), delivering said messaging as inline content (53 percent), pop-ups (53 percent), information bars (43 percent), and call-outs (41 percent).
  • When segmenting visitors, marketers typically break things down by type of content viewed (48 percent), location (45 percent), and time spent on site (36 percent). Customer value (58 percent), buying patterns (53 percent), and buyer persona (42 percent), however, are considered the most helpful segments for real-time personalization.
  • Respondents who have yet to implement real-time personalization believe the primary benefits will be increased visitor engagement (78 percent), improved customer experiences (78 percent), increased lead generation and customer acquisition (60 percent), increased conversion rates (58 percent), and improved brand perception (55 percent).
  • Lack of knowledge and skills (38 percent), lack of budget (37 percent), IT department constraints (26 percent), cost constraints (23 percent), and poor technology solutions (22 percent) remain the greatest roadblocks on the path to personalization.

Key takeaway: When measuring the ROI of their personalization campaigns, marketers look at conversion lift (58 percent), time spent on site (40 percent), and revenue lift (39 percent). For those who've already deployed real-time personalization, 21 percent have seen 21-30 percent lift. Therefore, practitioners and laggards all recognize the value behind real-time personalization. But, because today's hyper-connected world generates vast amounts of data by the second, companies often find it difficult to parse and analyze such information with speed and precision because they lack the necessary technology. While 51 percent of respondents have personnel dedicated to working on personalization programs, few have the required infrastructure to carry out their goals. Moving forward, marketers will need to garner buy-in across their companies in order to increase investments in personalization, as such strategies will inevitably benefit the entire enterprise by strengthening customer relationships and attracting future prospects.