Drink Up: Personalized Ads Pull In Whiskey Brand Engagement Test

Email marketers who are using — or contemplating — personalization should look at these stats. 

Personalized creative is driving 84% higher engagement than non-personalized creative, according to The Impact of Personalization on Advertising Performance, a study by AKI Technologies.  

The company tested this proposition with two clients, only one of which is named: Westward Whiskey, a distiller based on Portland, Oregon.  

The hypothesis was simply that personalized advertising creative would outperform non-personalized. 

The challenges were the fact that it was a brand relaunch, and the brand had low market penetration and audiences with specific whiskey preference. 

The company targeted three different groups:  

  • Oregon Lovers — affluent
  • California Cool — Young, social, California drinkers 
  • West Coast Whiskey Lovers — Older, high-income whiskey drinkers



The company tried such non-personalized creative as “We are a Whiskey Of the Northwest,” versus “Award-winning Taste Of True Oregon.”  

What happened? Overall, personalized advertising drew 33% more engaged than non-personalized. And personalized videos drove a 22% boost across all segments.

Among the personalized versions, the one for West Coast Whiskey Lovers did better than those in the Oregon Lovers and California Cool categories,

The results were similar for interstitials — there was a 44% lift in engagement for the personalized versions.

This included 59% for Oregon Lovers, 47% for California Cool drinkers and 26% for West Coast Whiskey Lovers.

The firm also surveyed 3,000 consumers, presenting each with "multiple creatives with different personalized variables to analyze which resonated most."

In general, seasoned email pros might be surprised by the finding that product contexts rates lower on the POP (Potential Of Personalization) scale than these other variables:

  1. Persona — 94
  2. Setting — 37
  3. Copy — 23
  4. Product context — 4 

At the same time, in-store shoppers show greater receptivity to personalization than online. 

And mobile/tablet users are more receptive to personalization than desktop, connected TV or cable TV shoppers across all campaign objectives. 

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