The Youngest Generations Demand Personalization: How Retailers Should Respond
In the last decade, the word “personalization” has become a staple in all digital marketers’ dictionaries, especially those in retail organizations. But when it comes to truly implementing personalized strategies, most marketers don’t have a real sense of what consumers desire.
To answer this question, we surveyed 900 U.S. consumers aged 18-64 to gauge their expectations regarding digital marketing. While shoppers across the board preferred personalization, shoppers aged 34 and under saw personalization as a requirement.
Key findings from our survey highlight important implications for retailers.
Consumers Prefer Relevant Ads on Sites They Access for Free
Nearly half of surveyed consumers (46.7 percent) prefer relevant ads on sites they access for free. This finding reveals that younger consumers accept promotional messages as part of browsing online, and they would rather provide information for a better experience than pay for access or be bombarded with irrelevant content from brands.
Nearly 40 percent recall clicking an ad before making a purchase. And, according to Statista, the return on investment of digital search was 11 in 2018. Adlucent’s data shows we are driving $2 billion-plus in revenue through digital ads. Together, these findings indicate that advertising has become such a native part of platforms that consumers don’t always distinguish paid placement from organic content when they engage. This natural integration is a great benefit for brands. For a seamless experience, marketers should ensure creative is customized for each platform and personalized to each individual.
Shoppers Are Willing to Exchange Personal Information
Two-thirds of consumers said they have given up their email addresses to gain access to promotions. Additionally, 67 percent have logged into a website with their social media accounts. In the past few years, consumers have become more aware of their digital data, and their response is to demand more transparency from brands about what's being collected and how it's being used.
Brands can use consumers’ emails to personalize interactions throughout the customer journey. Leveraging this data for email marketing can provide an opportunity to send customers and prospects more brand and product information. By uploading customer emails into Google, Facebook or other digital advertising platforms, retailers can also retarget existing customers or build look-a-like audiences to reach similar consumers.
Younger Consumers Shop at Night and Spend Time Researching High-Value Purchases
Of those 34 and younger, over half shop at night, and only 5.6 percent shop in the morning. Younger consumers tend to scroll on mobile to catch up on the day; this free time provides an opportunity to serve relevant ads. Strategic brands bid up on ads or even launch flash sales at these hours.
The majority of the younger generation has spent up to $200 online as their biggest purchase, with 25 percent having spent up to $500. Fifty-one percent take two days to six days to make a purchase they consider a high order value. If the purchase a consumer is making is not routine or carries a bigger price tag, late-night hours can be understood as research time, and provide an opportunity for brands to re-engage.
Great Personalization is Seamless
The youngest generations’ tendencies provide a glimpse into the future of digital marketing as a whole. Great personalization often goes unnoticed by the consumer and is part of a smooth online experience. As retailers plan for 2020 and beyond, enabling teams to customize marketing initiatives to the hobbies, interests and habits of individuals must be a top priority.
Jason Roussos is senior vice president of strategy at Adlucent, a leading integrated digital marketing and analytics agency.
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Jason Roussos is SVP of Strategy at Adlucent, a leading integrated digital marketing and analytics agency.
He is an executive with over 20 years of experience in business development, e-Commerce, technology, B2B & startups. He thrives in a fast-paced environment where leadership, innovation and problem-solving skills are vital. As the SVP of Strategy at Adlucent, Roussos is focused on helping clients improve both revenue and profit growth through innovations in technology and marketing strategy. Roussos has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Texas. In addition, he has a Master’s of Business Administration from Arizona State University.