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Looking ahead: Our predictions about personalization in 2018

Marketers everywhere are focused on increasing their experimentation velocity so they can drive more conversions and revenue.

As 2018 begins, we want to share some predictions about how marketers will drive more revenue from their websites through testing and personalizing in the coming year.

As context, we see marketers everywhere focused on increasing their experimentation velocity so they can drive more conversions and revenue. We also see marketers increasingly looking to spend more time on higher impact work by automating rote tasks. Sooji Kim, Web Optimization Manager for Looker, says it succinctly: “It would be great if I could spend less time developing tests that are smaller in scope or impact, and instead focus my time on the ideas that could yield bigger returns.”

With these trends in mind, here are four predictions for the coming year.

Prediction 1: A need for speed

This year, marketers will place a premium on accelerating the pace of their data driven testing. Given how difficult it is to predict in advance which ideas will really drive more conversions, marketers will seek to test and learn more quickly to find winners and drive lift faster. They will embrace approaches like predictive personalization which enable faster testing at scale. As an example, the average Intellimize customer did 25 years’ worth of A/B testing last year.

Prediction 2: Less majoring in the minor stuff

Time-starved marketing leaders will satisfy their need for speed in part by using machine learning to automate more of the rote work their teams do. Repetitive tasks, such as the basics of experiment management, will be increasingly automated. This automation will free up time to do the things marketing teams are uniquely great at doing, like understanding prospects’ motivation and developing creative approaches to persuade prospects to convert.

Prediction 3: Blurred lines

Historically, marketers have thought about personalization and conversion rate optimization as separate things. In 2018 the lines will blur significantly, and that will help marketers drive more revenue. Personalizing to optimize conversion rates will yield better results than the current “winner take all” approaches that treat all prospects the same.

Prediction 4: Throwing out the rulebook

The rules marketers use to personalize their websites today are usually too static to match the speed of changes in customer needs and behaviors. In 2018, marketers will spend less time managing and updating large rule sets and more time ideating and testing new, creative messages and experiences aimed at turning visitors into customers.  

“Marketers know that they need to speak to each type of persona differently in order to convert them into a customer,” says Sooji Kim. “To do this effectively, we need to deliver a web experience that is able to do just that. That brings in a need for tools that will not only help test different messages based on buyer persona and the stage in the buyer’s journey, but also deliver insights and results in real-time. All this will help provide a seamless personalized experience that will go a long way in increasing conversions and promoting brand loyalty.”

We think these four changes will play a significant role in shaping marketer’s website optimization work in the year ahead. What do you think? Let us know on Twitter.

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