Web personalization: How big (and small) companies are increasing conversions and boosting retention

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Whether your company is a huge B2B technology SaaS vendor or a small B2C retail company, maximizing the relevance of your website is critical to your success.

Upwards of 97% of your web audience is anonymous. Can you afford to wait to begin personalizing until they share an email address?

Web personalization affects bounce-rates, time-on-site, page views, conversions, and other critical success metrics. In fact, we found that 87% have seen a lift of at least 5% in their most important metrics, excluding those who say it’s too early to tell. Two in five (39%) have seen increases of at least 20% in their most important metrics.

But your company is unique. What are your priorities? How do you address them? Which vendors are relevant – to your business type, company size, audience, and budget?

…is web personalization even an option?

Who is this report for?

This report is for marketers seeking to implement or improve website personalization.

Web personalization is still relatively new and is primarily utilized by midsize and large enterprises, yet a growing number of small (10-99 employees) and even micro-businesses (1-9 employees) are now employing some form of web personalization. Our own survey data reflects that.

In other words, web personalization is becoming democratized — it’s not just for Amazon.com anymore.

Yet one solution does not fit all.

An ecommerce company is more likely to approach personalization differently from a media company: the content is different, the media formats are different, and the audience is different. For B2B, account-based marketing (ABM) has become a new standard for looking at customer prospecting and nurturing from a company-wide perspective, as opposed to looking at individuals.

Not only are these approaches different, but the types of data used also vary in different ways. Some companies rely on anonymous, behavioral data, when others rely more on profile data. Some are plug-and-play, relying mostly on their own capabilities or data, whereas others work best by integrating with other elements of your technology stack, like analytics, CMS, ecommerce, CRM, marketing automation, or others.

Even more than in many other marketing technology categories, many personalization vendors are most relevant to specific verticals. Some of the most common industries using web personalization are retail, media, travel, and SaaS technology companies.

This report will help you understand and align your own needs with the most relevant approach and vendors.

About this research

To inform this research, we surveyed 436 marketers using some form of web personalization. These were 56% B2B and 44% B2C. They also skew toward smaller businesses, as shown above, although 88 were midsize (100-999 employees) and 82 were enterprise or large enterprise (1,000-9,999 or 10,000+, respectively).

We also looked at the 47 technology vendors. Some of these are Web Content Management Systems (CMS) that offer personalization, some are standalone web personalization solutions, and some provide web personalization as a broader suite of capabilities. Of those, 31 completed our survey by the deadline (those indicated in bold). A detailed summary of each of those vendors is included at the end of the report.

  1. 40 nuggets

  2. Adobe

  3. Apptus

  4. Avari

  5. Barilliance

  6. Baynote

  7. BloomReach

  8. BlueConic

  9. BlueShift

  10. BoomTrain

  11. Bunting

  12. Canopy Labs

  13. Certona

  14. Commerce Sciences

  15. Demandbase

  16. Dynamic Yield

  17. Evergage

  18. Futurelytics

  19. GetSmartContent

  20. Granify

  21. Gravity

  22. Hubspot

  23. Kentico

  24. LivePerson (Amadesa)

  25. Marketizator

  26. Monetate

  27. Movable Ink

  28. MyBuys

  29. Needle

  30. Optimizely

  31. Personyze

  32. Pleisty

  33. Qubit

  34. Reflektion

  35. RichRelevance

  36. Sailthru

  37. Salesforce

  38. SAP Hybris

  39. SDL

  40. Segmint

  41. Site Apps

  42. Sitecore

  43. Sitefinity

  44. SmartFocus

  45. SRVD

  46. Thunderhead

  47. Zaius

In addition to detailed vendor data for those that filled out the survey, we also provide summary data to help you understand the broader landscape and visualize differences between vendors.

What will you learn in this report?

From a user perspective:

  • What are the primary metrics companies seek to influence?

  • Which data-types are being captured and used?

  • Are others relying more on customer profiles or behavioral data?

  • Should you go with a rules-based approach, or is an automated approach better?

  • What kind of ROI can you expect?

  • Which personalization vendors are most commonly used?

  • How satisfied are customers with their vendors?

On the vendor side:

  • Are vendors relying more or entirely on either anonymous or known data? (This impacts the degree of personalization at different stages in the funnel)

  • On which channels do vendors enable personalization beyond web? (E.g. some let you use the web data to better personalize email)

  • What customer database integrations are available?

  • What other integrations are available, like analytics or ecommerce?

  • Is personalization accomplished through rules (prescriptive) or AI and predictions (adaptive) – or both?

  • What do vendors see as their customer’s primary objectives?

  • What is the average customer size and vertical?

  • How long does it take to implement a solution?

An example vendor overview:

Web personalization dramatically impacts a wide range of business types, yet remains underutilized. Confusion and lack of education about personalization is consistently cited as a reason why companies have not invested in personalization.

Use this research to implement or improve your web personalization efforts, in order to convert and retain more customers.

Note: for a broader, cross-channel perspective on customer identity and personalization, we recommend you start with “Identity and marketing: Capturing, unifying, and using customer data to drive revenue growth” and “Marketing Personalization: maximizing relevance and revenue.” These reports provide definitions, process explanations, objectives, case studies and more.