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Open source digital experience company Acquia surveyed thousands of customers, prospects, partners, and consumers at large about the personalization space and current trends there.

personalization trends you need to know

Acquia turned their survey findings into an ebook, Six Personalization Trends You Need To Know, which lists details regarding the top personalization takeaways they gleaned from their research, and provides guidance for companies about how they can launch personalization initiatives within their organization.

Content produced in collaboration with Acquia.

Trend #1: Personalization is popular (and growing)

92% of those surveyed indicated they were interested in delivering personalized experiences to their customers. The largest group of interested respondents weren’t using personalization, but were interested in doing so in the next twelve months.

To those looking to get started with personalization, Acquia recommends a crawl/walk/run approach — that is, start personalization efforts slowly and build a business case based on success.

  • Crawl: In the initial stage, businesses can start by focusing on data collection and aggregation, the foundation of personalization.
  • Walk: This stage requires more data and additional content which can then be used to involve “medium to high effort and deliver medium to high impact.”
  • Run: The final step involves delivering personalized experiences to all prospects and customers across all touchpoints.

Trend #2: Personalization initiatives stall out due to lack of resources

Half of those surveyed indicated that they are not actively using personalization even though they’re interested in moving forward with it. The number one reason for not pursuing personalization efforts was lack of expertise and resources, cited by 65% of respondents.

Companies seem hesitant to move forward with personalization due to the costs involved, but Acquia cited research from McKinsey which shows that personalization can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and lift sales by 10% or higher.

“The thing to remember from both an expertise and a resources perspective is that you don’t have to do it all at once and you don’t have to do it all on your own,” writes Acquia.

lacking expertise and resources for personalization

Trend #3: Marketing leads the way with personalization

Acquia found that for organizations who are practicing personalization, the marketing team is leading the way, albeit with executive support. The ebook stresses that a key consideration when implementing personalization is cross-functional involvement from all departments — IT, operations, content, web and sales. 

Even so, accountability falls squarely within the purview of the marketing team, so it’s important to clarify all essential components of a personalization strategy from the beginning.

marketing leads the way with personalization trends

Trend #4: Email is the most common personalization channel

The survey revealed that 75% of respondents who are currently executing personalization campaigns use personalized emails and 53% use website personalization of some sort. Acquia stresses that email is only a starting point. True personalization involves identifying customers’ implicit preferences and buying intent, then tailoring content to each customer accordingly.

“Email personalization is a natural place to start personalizing. But is putting someone’s name in an email subject line really personalization? Not if you don’t have a clear understanding of your customer’s interests when interacting with your brand,” writes Acquia.

Trend #5: Driving conversions is the top goal for personalization

Driving conversions—including form submissions, leads, and sales—was the top goal of personalization for 70% of respondents. Those surveyed who’ve already implemented personalization reported conversion rate improvements of up to 25%.

Additional personalization KPIs include increasing time on site, reducing bounce rate, and increasing total pages viewed per visitor. Acquia notes that you can still personalize a visitor’s experience on your website without knowing their identity by bucketing them into segments (e.g., first-time visitors vs. returning visitors).

driving conversions is top goal for personalization


Trend #6: Consumers will share data in exchange for good experiences

Consumers are wary about having their data collected, but are willing to provide personal information in exchange for a good experience with a brand. 

Of the one thousand consumers surveyed about their feelings on data sharing, over half (55%) indicated that they weren’t sure how brands are using their data and 65% don’t know which brands use their data. 

Additionally, 65% of respondents indicated they would stop using a brand if they felt it was being dishonest with their data. And nearly 60% of respondents said they wait at least a month to share personal information with brands.

However, a separate study from Epsilon found that 68% of consumers “think it’s worth sharing their information if it means they’ll receive relevant offers, recommendations and discounts.”

If an organization wants to be successful at personalization, then it’s critical to be upfront about data usage and be mindful about not violating the trust of your visitors. 

To learn more about these trends, check out Acquia’s ebook, Six Personalization Trends You Need To Know. It contains more in-depth information and insights about each trend and includes a course of action for companies who are just getting their personalization initiatives off the ground.

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