embrace personal tracking and personalisation

85% understand and accept personal tracking

This is the fourteenth of 20 daily ‘thoughts’ examining the trends in marketing in 2018 and beyond.There is a lot of chatter in the media – both traditional and social – about privacy, or more specifically, the use of personal data in marketing and related activities. There has been significant media commentary to suggest that consumers are increasingly concerned about the way in which their data is being used.

Be this as it may, in a recent survey 85% of consumers understand that websites track their online shopping behaviour and use the data gathered through that process for marketing purposes. While many of those surveyed, were not necessarily happy about this practice, they felt it was inevitable and acceptable. Interestingly, 75% of respondents suggested that they would rather the data collected was used to improve the shopping experience than to market to them.

It is interesting to note that improving or personalising the shopping experience is the main use of data collected by many of the larger operators such as Google, Amazon and Netflix. While the data might also be used for remarketing purposes, these larger operators and most of the more successful e-commerce platforms place a higher priority on:

  • Determining the products given priority
  • Customising the customer journey
  • Determining the brands to be given prominence

NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway calls this the ‘Benjamin Button effect’. That is, every time the customer engages with the business, the offering is improved.

This growing trend reflects a broader trend towards personalisation – once thought to be the holy grail of marketing. It has long been suggested that the more personalised the marketing, and especially the sales message, the greater the conversion rates and sales – and, therefore, the greater the return on investment in marketing.

Aided by AI and machine learning, there is now more data than ever, and better technology than ever to enable the personalisation of:

  • Digital advertising
  • Remarketing
  • Digital content
  • Email
And it pays dividends. Research suggests that the personalisation of email can improve:
  • Opening rates by 10%
  • Click through rates by 14%

One study found that a customised subject line on an email can increase opening rates by as much as 26%.

The personalisation of marketing will continue to grow in popularity and effectiveness.


Privacy is growing in importance to consumers and is the focus of much media attention. However,  there is a general acceptance of the practice of tracking consumer behaviour, particularly when the data collected is used to improve the online shopping experience.

Personalisation is an ongoing trend and the level of personalisation in marketing will increase in the months and years ahead as it is facilitated by more data and advanced technology.

At the very least, business should gather and use this data to improve the shopping experience.


Smart Insights, The Drum, Social Media Week, CSR matters, Louder Milk, Forbes, Quicksprout, Wider Funnel, Trends and Insights, Core DNA, Digital Current

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