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Message Personalization Works – So Why Don’t We Do It?

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on September 15, 2017

Email PersonalizationMarketers understand that message personalization drives relevance, which in turn drives loyalty. So why don’t more marketers incorporate personalization elements in their messages and offers? A new report from Yes Lifecycle Marketing reveals the sad truth: of a whopping 7 billion emails sent in Q2 2017, only around 1 percent included personalization elements. If you’re wondering why your click-through rates are hovering around the low double digits, the mirror beckons. And no, Wise Marketer email subscribers, we don’t exempt ourselves from the necessary soul-searching.

By Wise Marketer Staff

Consumers open emails with personalized subject lines at a 50 percent higher rate compared to emails without personalized subject lines, yet only 2 percent of emails employ personalization, according to data recently released by Yes Lifecycle Marketing.

In the newly released report, "Subject Line Benchmarks: How Length and Personalization Impact Email Performance across Message Type and Industry," Yes Lifecycle Marketing analyzed more than 7 billion emails. According to the findings, personalized emails drove higher open and click rates than their non-personalized counterparts. In fact, messages with personalized subject lines generated more than double the unique click rate and 58 percent higher click-to-open (CTO) rate than emails without personalization in their subject lines. However, nearly 98 (97.7) percent of all emails sent in Q2 2017 did not use personalization in subject lines, indicating that marketers are not using customer data to improve message relevance as much as they should.

According to the report, 1.1 percent of all emails sent in Q2 2017 had first/last name personalization in their subject lines while 1.2 percent were personalized based on other factors, such as loyalty program status, browse behavior or purchase history. Money quote from Yes Lifecycle Marketing president Michael Fisher:

"As consumers receive more marketing emails every day, personalization is a great way to engage them. Marketers should be harnessing customer data to customize their content as early on as the subject line. When marketers succeed in communicating the relevance of an email to each individual subscriber, from the get-go, they will see results in opens, clicks and conversions."

The report also highlights the effectiveness of triggered campaigns, which often boast subject line personalization informed by loyalty program status, browse behavior or purchase history. For example, browse abandon emails with subject lines between 31 and 60 characters generated an open rate of 40.6 percent.

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Over a quarter (27 percent) of marketers sent reactivation campaigns, the second most widely adopted type of trigger.
  • Non-personalized subject lines yielded open rates of just 14.1 percent compared to 21.2 percent for those personalized with name and 22.0 percent for those including another type of personalization.
  • Browse abandon triggers with subject lines under 30 characters generated open rates of 35.5 percent, while those with subject lines over 30 characters drove open rates of 40.6 percent.
  • Welcome campaigns were the most widely adopted type of trigger, with 69 percent of marketers implementing them.

Download the full report here.