Personalization is critical. Customers expect it. It increases click-throughs, open rates, conversions, retention, and ultimately revenue.

But how do you “do” personalization?

It’s different at every step of the customer journey — and there’s a lot that goes into it. There are more channels and devices to reach customers than ever. The data, content, and delivery mechanisms necessary to personalize messages vary for each of them.

That’s why we’ve been surveying you, our readers, to understand what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.


VentureBeat is studying personalization in advertising and marketing
Chime in and we’ll share the data with you!


We’re still collecting data, but we already have some interesting preliminary results:

Identity related data for personalization
At the top of the funnel, prospects begin as anonymous. By the time a customer makes a purchase, they’ve shared more data and have become “known.”

This transition from anonymous to known includes identifiers such as:
• IP address
• Cookie
• Mobile ID
• Social ID
• Email address
• Address
• Phone number
• Loyalty number

Each of these identifiers, and others, can have dozens or hundreds of data points associated with them. Preliminary findings indicate that “known” identifiers (including email and other personally identifiable information, or PII) are used most. But anonymous identifiers like cookies and IP address — used more for advertising and acquisition at the top of the funnel — aren’t far behind. Email is the most important identifier, and also the most important channel.

digital channels personalization
In fact, when it comes to delivering personalized messages, email dominates. The majority of marketers are doing some kind of email personalization, even if it’s just to use a dynamic tag with a person’s name in the subject or header. Website personalization holds several of the top spots as well. Advertising is surprisingly low, given the advanced targeting capabilities of many of today’s ad networks and demand-side platforms (DSPs).

historical data for personalization

Historical data is one of the most used sources for personalization — especially for service-dynamic, personalized web content or products. Search and on-site activity are most often used, although social activity is surprisingly high. Communication and transaction histories are high as well, as they entail clear indicators of interest.

computed values used in personalization
Many companies calculate key metrics that are particularly important indicators of company health. Among these, loyalty and lifetime value (LTV) are particularly important for personalization, presumably to segment out those customers who are most valuable for remarketing campaigns.

When asked about what vendors are most important for personalization, the answers are across the board. So far, marketing automation, email service providers (ESPs) and ad-related vendors — including ad networks, DSPs, and data management platforms (DMPs) — seem to get listed most. But there are a wide variety of others, including web content management systems (CMS), business intelligence (BI), mobile intelligence providers, customer relationship management (CRM), and still many others.

How do you use personalization today? What vendors do you use?

Do you know how and where it can have the greatest impact for your company?

Share your thoughts and we’ll share the data!