Marketers have been making forays into social integration for many years now. And many have experimented with adding direct buy buttons within digital marketing campaigns, a feature that helped define the mobile payment landscape in 2015.

In a new study commissioned by Campaigner (the email marketing brand of j2 Global), it would seem those early experiments are not only paying off, but being expanded on.

The survey, which sampled 506 email marketers, showed that 36 percent of respondents report an increase in sales from buy button integration so far.

Looking to the year ahead, the results indicate an even higher emphasis in 2016, with close to 60 percent more marketers projected to utilize buy buttons this coming year. In 2015, only 22 percent of marketers implemented buy buttons.


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And the channels these marketers will focus on this year? Email and Facebook.

“Email and Facebook were the first platforms to embrace buy buttons because they are the most content-based,” E.J. McGowan, general manager at Campaigner, told me. “Twitter is great for engaging with contacts, but it is difficult to showcase product offerings with a character limit. We believe buy buttons are still on the rise, and just because marketers are prioritizing certain platforms doesn’t mean they won’t leverage others down the line. We’re intrigued to see plans develop for Pinterest implementation and predict that that platform could be a huge opportunity for marketers in 2016.”

The report also shows that email marketing continues to hog the top spot for marketing priorities in 2016. That’s no surprise — email still delivers the highest return of any marketing channel.

The study also tells us that website optimization and personalization are high on the marketing priority list, but that marketers aren’t prioritizing hyper-personalized strategies in 2016.

“Website optimization and personalization are definitely important components of a successful email marketing strategy, so we’re pleased to see that marketers are prioritizing them this year,” McGowan said. “However, not focusing on hyper-personalization could be a significant missed opportunity. Creating a highly personalized contact-brand relationship is becoming increasingly important, especially in the age of email overload.”

The problem could be one of sheer difficulty. We know from our own studies on personalization that 80 percent of marketers simply don’t understand their customers beyond basic contact information and demographics.

“Hyper-personalization, like any personalization, is difficult,” McGowan said. “First, it’s challenging to ensure you have clean data across multiple fields (i.e. gender, purchase history, income, etc.). Then it’s really a two-step process: First you must gather and maintain the data, and then the email creator must be able to leverage that data in creative ways that will create a highly personalized message for the individual contacts.”

But the returns are there to be had, as was recently detailed in VB Insight’s email personalization guide.

“The ultimate results are worth the effort,” McGowan said. “Marketers should be careful not to overlook the value of hyper-personalization, beyond the standard ‘Hi, first name’ personalization tactics. Reinforced hyper-personalization efforts could truly make a positive impact.”

The survey also asked respondents about their returns from social integration, their attitudes toward predictive analytics, and how they see their roles changing in 2016. The full results of today’s study are available to view as a PDF file on Campaigner’s website.

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