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What is Real-Time Personalization (and How Does it Work?)

Real-time personalization refers to the practice of instantly delivering customized content to each individual user in response to their interactions with your brand. This can be done via email, SMS, mobile app, your website, or other marketing channels.

Real-time personalization is a highly effective marketing approach that ensures you’ll engage your audiences with the exact content that’s designed to appeal to them, based on specific data that you’ve gathered around their demographics, behaviors, and other attributes. By using real-time personalization, you can respond immediately with triggered messages based on actions like website views or app clicks. This real-time content will resonate with your user and provide a better customer experience.

In this article, we’ll look more closely at what real-time personalization is and how it works.

Examples of Real-Time Personalization

Real-time personalization is a powerful strategy for improving conversion rates in marketing. A survey conducted by the ecommerce platform, Kibo, found that using personalization features across the entire online shopping experience led to an ROI of at least 200% for 70% of marketers surveyed. 

Personalization can include content across all channels, such as:

  • Email marketing
  • Push notifications
  • SMS messages
  • In-app messages 
  • Direct mail
  • Custom landing pages

For example, a customer might click on a product page for a toaster oven, but not put the product in their cart. This action could trigger an immediate follow-up sequence, targeting that individual, beginning with an email that incorporates their name, includes a link to the product, and showcases related products they might also like. If the user doesn’t respond to the email, the sequence may trigger another promotional message on a separate marketing channel, such as SMS, offering a discount for them to purchase the product. Every interaction the user takes with your brand triggers a real-time, as-it-happens response, supporting the buyer’s journey and engaging them with relevant content that’s geared towards their interests and their current stage in the customer lifecycle.

Real-time location data can be used for personalization as well. If your customer has installed your app and allowed location tracking, your brand can send them a push notification when they’re within five miles of one of your stores, offering them a special discount and a link to turn-by-turn directions.

Weather data can also be used to trigger real-time personalized content. For instance, if a region is preparing for a potential snow storm, you can send personalized offers to everyone within the area encouraging them to stay safe and providing product recommendations for shovels, snow throwers, and winter gear (with links to products in the user’s size). 

By developing dynamic content that meets your users exactly where they are—physically and in the buyer’s journey—with relevant content across the marketing channels they prefer to use, you’ll be able to deliver a uniquely satisfying customer experience that drives higher revenue and brand loyalty.

How Real-Time Personalization Works

To develop real-time personalized marketing, you need to use a cross-channel marketing automation platform, like Iterable, which can develop dynamic content for highly segmented audiences at scale.

Your marketing automation platform should integrate all of your audience data together in one centralized location, including demographic data, behavioral data, and other audience attributes. It should pull in information from your desktop site, your mobile app, your CRM, your social media channels, your ecommerce platform, and all of the other channels that you use for interacting with your audience. Then, it can instantly update your customer profiles based on every new brand interaction, such as when a user opens an email, clicks a link, browses your website, or opens your mobile app. 

While general personalization can be used to incorporate names and profile details, including recent purchases, real-time personalization comes into play when you develop content in response to lifecycle stage-specific initiatives, such as recalling abandoned cart items immediately after a customer has left the shopping cart.

Each of these lifecycle-based brand interactions can serve as an action trigger for a new marketing sequence that’s based on their behavioral cues, and also integrates additional personalized information about that user (i.e., their name, location, preferred brands, and styles). 

Because content can be generated dynamically, your marketing content can be personalized down to the individual level based on the most up-to-date information. For example, you can include recommendations that are automatically generated based on products other customers, who purchased that same item, have bought. By sending personalized content at the exact time the customer is most likely to engage, you can drive up conversion rates and increase customer lifetime value.

Real-Time Personalization with Iterable

Many customers are eager for brands to use marketing technology to develop more personalized recommendations for them. A Retail Industry Leaders Association survey found that 63% of respondents want personalized recommendations, and 54% want special offers for items they’re interested in. 

By catering to your customers’ desire for real-time personalization, you’ll provide a better customer experience and drive more engagement and higher revenues—a win-win scenario on every level. 

Iterable is an ideal platform for enabling your brand to engage your customers with real-time personalization across all of the marketing channels they use. With Iterable, you can automatically pull in dynamic content and optimize your messaging across the marketing channels that your customers use most, sending your messages at the times that they’re most likely to engage and respond based on attributes such as their time zones and their past behaviors.

With Iterable, it’s a seamless process to develop customized promotional offers and product recommendations for customers based on their specific interests, at the exact point in time they’re most likely to engage based on their brand interactions. Over time, as you compile even more data on your customers, you’ll be able to offer even more useful recommendations and content designed to appeal to them.

Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that powers unified customer experiences and empowers marketers to create, optimize and measure relevant interactions and experiences customers love. Leading brands, like Zillow, DoorDash, Calm, Madison Reed, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer experiences throughout the entire lifecycle. Discover our growth marketing solutions for personalization, increasing customer engagement, and more. Discover our platform and schedule a demo today.