Personalization is popular with consumers across the globe. And their channel preference for receiving personalized content is remarkably consistent in all countries:
The U.S. — email
The UK — email
France — email
Germany — email
That’s one of the key findings of The Art of Personalization—Keeping it Relevant, Timely and Contextual, a study by Periscope By McKinsey.
Of the consumers surveyed, 89% in Germany, 83% in the U.S., 84% in the UK and 84% in France prefer to receive communications in their personal email account.
Not that email stands alone. Social media is a close second in most nations, and people also like coupons linked to loyalty cards. They also welcome WhatsApp and Instagram ads — indeed, Instagram ads were rated second in France.
Personalization is so popular that consumers will voluntarily sign up for it — 55% in the U.S., 52% in the UK, 46% in Germany and 44% in France.
And 31% say personalization prompts them to act. That includes 37% in the U.S., 32% in France, 27% in Germany and 26% in the UK.
But shoppers are overwhelmed by the sheer frequency of communications. Of those surveyed, 18% in the U.S., 17% in France, 13% in the UK and 18% in Germany receive between 100 and 200 emails per week.
And many of those messages feel like mass marketing, according to 47% in France, 42% in the UK, 40% in Germany and 36% in the U.S. This seems to indicate that personalization is most advanced in the U.S.
Consumers are also creeped out by some marketing practices. For one thing, many dislike unsolicited communications from firms they don’t know, including 41% in the U.S. and 39% in Germany.
Some also get an eerie feeling from location-tracking messages — it’s the top cause of anxiety for German shoppers and those in the UK. And it’s the second-biggest issue for French (41%) and U.S. consumers (40%). Women in particular have disdain for it.
In addition, 42% of French consumers dislike cross-sharing of their browsing history.
The cross-sharing of their browsing history also proved a top issue for 42% of French consumers, while the cross-sharing of profile information was the third-most likely thing to disturb 37% of German shoppers.
It’s hard to imagine that EU citizens are receiving such off-putting messages, given GDPR — did they consent at some point and forget that they did?
What kind of content do they like to receive? Recommendations based on previous product searches rank in the top three for 43% in the U.S., 39% in the UK. And 44% in France and 40% in Germany like retargeting the product for which they had searched.
Also popular is product availability and/or price updates. This ranks second for consumers in Germany (42%) and the UK.
What do companies need to do to succeed at personalization?
“To be successful with their personalization efforts and reap the rewards, businesses should employ advanced analytics and scalable and sustainable solutions to better understand their consumers and create the right mix of content, channel and timing to drive a change in behavior of an individual customer," states Lars Fiedler, partner and senior solution leader marketing solutions at Periscope By McKinsey.