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Yesmail, an email service provider, is releasing a new report today about retailers’ current email marketing efforts and 2016 priorities. In particular, the report finds that email marketers in retail are not doing a good job when it comes to personalization.

At first, things don’t look that bad: The survey finds that 90 percent of retailers are personalizing their brands’ emails in some way.

But many are not implementing even some of the most basic personalization tactics.

Most common is personalizing the subject line, which 61 percent of respondents say they do. Next is using the recipient’s name, which only about two in five do. Nearly two-thirds don’t personalize the email copy itself, and it only goes down from there.

YesMail personalization components

Above: Source: Yesmail

Image Credit: YesMail

Most surprising from a study of retailers is that less than a third personalize
 the products or services featured in an email.

In VB Insight’s report on email personalization, we looked at the data points marketers use to personalize email. Our survey included only those who are personalizing email in some way, yet not much more than a third reported using a name to personalize emails.

email personalization data types

It’s clear that personalization has become a marketing priority.

It makes sense. There’s more customer data available than ever, but collecting, integrating, and using it for personalization can be a challenge.

Nearly a third of retailers in Yesmail’s survey indicated that integrating email with other digital channels is a top email marketing priority for 2016.

Most companies are basing personalization efforts off of historical data sources, like transaction history. Yet data that indicates what someone is interested now, or possibly in the future, can be much more valuable for personalization. Adoption remains relatively low, but more companies are using behavioral data from their websites and apps to personalize email.

Email Personalization Data types

Beyond owned properties, social data can also provide tremendous value. It too remains relatively untapped for personalization efforts, however. Yesmail found that almost two thirds of retailers do not use subscribers’ social media behavior to improve message relevance.

YesMail personalization data

Above: Source: Yesmail

Image Credit: YesMail

The survey of 161 retailers includes a variety of marketing positions and marketing areas, including mostly manager (35 percent) and director (20 percent). Over 20 percent of respondents held the title of vice president or above.

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