To get people to buy, it takes more than a great product. It takes more than great marketing. It takes a holistic approach to customer acquisition that results in great experiences. What does that mean today?
According to one report, it means using personalization to offer relevant, contextual content at every stage of the buyer’s journey. In fact, nearly 90% of marketers say it’s the overwhelming reason they use the tactic.
Still, “personalization” is a broad term. And broad terms are hard to understand on an actionable level.
So, how is personalization being implemented today? We’ve collected some specific tactics advertisers are using to provide better, personalized, customer experiences.
15 Actionable personalization trends
From ecommerce to AI, the pre-click to the post-click, personalization is changing the marketing landscape. Here are 15 actionable personalization tactics you can use to personalize your content better and win more customers.
Advertising personalization unites the customer journey
If the amount spent on digital advertising is any indication of its success, the tactic has become the most successful in the industry. By now, it’s surpassed print ads, billboards, radio, and even TV, to become the revenue-driving powerhouse we know it is.
Of course, personalization has played a major role in its success. Today’s advertisers don’t guess at their audience. As a result of ever-improving tech, they’re able to pinpoint exactly who they want to target. More importantly, they can deliver the right post-click experience to each target audience.
- Improving the post-click: Marketing technology has largely focused on improving the pre-click experience thus far. There’s no shortage of tools for buying, targeting, running, and testing advertisements. The problem is, those advertisements don’t deliver the experiences needed to convert clicks. The result is an embarrassing average conversion rate of 3.75% on the search network, and .77% on the display network. This has led marketers to prioritize the post-click experience to balance the ad campaign. The more they match each experience to its referring ad, the more relevant the campaign is, and the more likely it is to earn a conversion. This strategy of improving what happens after a prospect clicks an ad is known as “post-click optimization:”
- More programmatic advertising: Programmatic’s sophistication continues to rise, and with it, businesses’ spending on the tactic. This year, advertisers are expected to spend $60 billion on programmatic advertising. This represents 84% of search and display spending in the US. Even more astonishing is the fact that by 2021, almost 88% of all US ad dollars will be spent on programmatic advertising. Investments in video, native, and mobile will propel its growth:
- Adoption of ad automation: Marketing automation helps its users move faster and more efficiently by streamlining tedious tasks. As mentioned previously, however, this marketing automation has largely failed at improving experiences beyond the ad. If 1:1 personalization is to be achieved, an advertiser must be able to create one post-click landing page per target audience. For most, doing this internally is too resource intensive. Outsourcing can be too expensive. The middle-ground is automation for the post-click experience. This could be, for example: heat map software, A/B testing software, or Post-Click Automation software, which combines both and then some.
- Account-based marketing grows: With an improvement in ad tech has come an ability to target audiences of one. That’s what account-based marketers focus on. This form of marketing has gained popularity over the last few years, and with improvements to targeting on LinkedIn — the most important social network for B2B businesses — it’s only going to increase. Not only that, but the creation of Post-Click Automation now allows users to go beyond simply targeting their ads to decision makers at particular companies; They can also create post-click pages that feature a company, department, or influencer name.
Ecommerce breaks barriers between online and offline
For consumers, internet usage isn’t black and white. It’s not one device or the other, one place or the other, one channel or another, or any clear delineation that makes the lives of advertisers easier.
Instead, there are blurred lines in nearly every sphere of advertising; and few are more difficult to tackle than the one between online and offline in retail ecommerce.
While it’s true that much shopping takes place online, most consumers prefer to shop in store. According to a survey from TimeTrade, 85% of shoppers still prefer to shop in a physical store.
Complicating this further is the fact that, even when they’re in a physical store, 60% of shoppers will use their phone to research products, compare prices, and download coupons. In total, 56% of digital interactions like this affect sales in brick and mortar stores.
That’s why, increasingly, businesses are trying to bridge online and offline experiences. Here’s how:
- Better staff education: What customers love most about shopping online is the abundance of information at their fingertips. Usually sizes, colors, materials, and more, are all available within a few clicks.
To offer the same information offline as they do online, brick and mortar stores are beginning to improve their staff education as it relates to the product and company, or by arming them with tools like tablets that they can use to pull up information that may not be readily available.
- Strategic email marketing: Email marketing is still marketers’ most valuable channel. It’s also the channel that consumers prefer to be contacted on. This opens up the door for all kinds of continuous marketing that many brick-and-mortars are better picking up on.
Receipts can now be sent via email, discounts, and product recommendations for cross-selling and upselling as well. Designer Shoe Warehouse is one of many brands that will regularly offer its buyers a discount via email, simply for completing a purchase in-store.
- Offline geolocational relevance: Today, discerning where your customers are is as simple as implanting code into the back end of your website. While many do it, they don’t use the tactic to its potential. If the best part of shopping offline is that you can try the product out, then a savvy web designer will consider offering the user a list of nearby stores in which that’s possible. From clothing sizes and inventory to power tool testing, this is becoming a more prevalent option on websites.
- Greater dependence on trials and guarantees: For consumers, the biggest problem with buying online is that you can’t test the product out. You can’t hold it, you can’t type on it, you can’t try it on, etc. For businesses trying to improve online sales, trials, and satisfaction guarantees can ease customer inhibitions born from digital isolation. Warby Parker, for example, allows its customers to order multiple types of frames at once, then return the ones they don’t want. Many software, too, will allow their customers a free trial version before requiring purchase. More and more, this tactic allows visitors the comfort they need to convert on an offer.
- Same-day delivery: Another reason customers prefer purchasing in-store is the instant gratification. You buy the product and get to take it home immediately. While same-day delivery may not be an option for some businesses, for others, it can be the difference in conversion. Nobody likes waiting, and today, standard shipping takes too long. Even 24-hour shipping can make a big difference. If it’s feasible, it’s worth attempting.
- Increased adoption of customer data platforms (CDP): Data inundation is plaguing marketers like never before. They have all the need to personalize, and then some: offline data like inventory, online data like website behavior. So how do they organize it?
Currently, marketers still house their data across multiple, siloed systems. This makes it nearly impossible to personalize touchpoints in real-time. This is where customer data platforms come in, which bring together all a businesses’ owned data to be deployed among other systems for real-time personalization. Though it may sound similar, this is not a CRM or DMP.
According to the CDP Institute, a true CDP platform has three pillars:
- It’s a packaged software: A CDP is a prebuilt system that is configured to meet the needs of each client. Some technical resources will be required to set up and maintain the CDP, but it does not require the level of technical skill of a typical data warehouse project. This reduces the time, cost, and risk and gives business users more control over the system, even though they may still need some technical assistance.
- It creates a persistent, unified customer database: The CDP creates a comprehensive view of each customer by capturing data from multiple systems, linking information related to the same customer, and storing the information to track behavior over time. The CDP contains personal identifiers used to target marketing messages and track individual-level marketing results.
- It is accessible to other systems: data stored in the CDP can be used by other systems for analysis and to manage customer interactions.
Artificial intelligence makes a bigger impact
Marketers have long had their eyes on artificial intelligence. The possibilities are too hard to ignore. At the same time, there are major roadblocks that have kept AI from making noise so far. Mainly, most high-level AI is simply not sophisticated enough to be used practically by the modern consumer. Still, it’s making strides.
Here are two areas specifically that you can expect to see growth:
- Chatbots spread: Whether on a website or through social media, it’s becoming more and more likely you encounter a chatbot in a branded experience. According to Chatbots Magazine, over 2 billion business-related messages have been sent by Facebook Messenger Bots, and when it comes to choosing between a bot or a human, there’s more than one instance in which customers prefer to deal with a bot:
- Potential for voice search rockets: Google? Siri? Alexa? Are you listening? They are, to consumers at least, who have contributed to a 78% boost in purchases between 2017 and 2018. Presently, there are over 118 million in the US, and a quarter of adopters use them to shop online. When you consider that voice-activated search may make up half of all searches by 2020, and that 40% of millennials have used voice search before making a purchase online, there’s a huge upside for AI assistants and their personalized services.
Mobile becomes even more mobile
We’ve known for a while now that people prefer to browse the internet on their mobile phones. What about shopping?
According to one survey, customers spend about 60% of their time on mobile devices shopping. Further research claims that 79% of people have bought a product on their mobile device in the last six months; and during the 2018 holiday season, nearly 40% of all ecommerce purchases were made on a smartphone.
By 2021, Globally, mobile’s share of ecommerce is expected to rise to 72.9%. Here’s how personalization is getting more mobile:
- Proximity marketing improves: Users carry their mobile devices everywhere, and a proximity marketing strategy can take advantage of that. With an RFID chip or geofencing, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, marketers can reach consumers with specific ads once they reach a certain zone, or come within a distance of a storefront or product. This allows marketers to better serve their target based on hyper-relevant locational data, to deliver things like coupons and shipping discounts for specific content within physical reach of customers.
- PWAs offer more accessibility: Native apps are fast but have a high barrier of entry. Mobile sites are slow but easy to discover. Progressive web apps combine the best of both. On their mobile devices, users will be able to search for content leading to a mobile website, which will appear the same way an app would. They can save this app experience to the home screen of their phones and, by clicking the icon, return to the app whenever they please.
- AMP solves lagging load times: At first, the Accelerated Mobile Pages framework could only support static content like blog posts. Several years later, we’ve found ourselves able to build entire websites from AMP, and even progressive web apps to further add to the accessibility and speed of mobile sites. These pages can load in as fast as fractions of a second, even with support for analytics software on the back-end.
Learn more about advertising personalization
In ecommerce, mobile, advertising and AI, these are just a few trends set to propel campaigns to new levels of personalization. Are you ready to learn more ways to create unparalleled relevance in your marketing? Get the Instapage Personalization Guide to learn where your campaigns are failing, why they are, and how to improve them with personalization.