Now you know that using advanced personalization can deliver upwards of $20 in added revenue for every $1 you spend on the technology – and that’s on top of the $44 in average ROI your email program could already be earning.

We’re excited to finally see that benefit quantified for the first time. But maybe your initial reaction to The Relevancy Group’s new report, The Value of Personalization Optimization for Retailers, isn’t “Wow! How can I get in on that?” 

But many marketers are understandably skeptical about claims such as this. Maybe you’re thinking, “Yeah, right. You’re going to have to show me.”

If you’re the kind of marketer that needs to see to believe, Tactics Matter: Real Results from Advanced Personalization, shows how two well-known brands capitalized on advanced email personalization techniques and ended up not just meeting the higher revenues and conversions from advanced personalization, but smashing past them.

How 2 top brands made big gains from advanced personalization

You’ll have to download the report to learn which brands claimed the spotlight. But here’s a quick look at six of the needle-moving tactics they used to push past the usual gains and to solve some nagging email issues.

The Relevancy Group’s report found the basic personalization (personalizing the subject line or adding the customer’s name to the email content) has little to no effect on added revenue. Purchase-based personalization performs better. But the tactics that have the greatest potential for increasing sales are:

What’s the true value of advanced personalization? It uses real-time data to deliver superior email experiences tailored to each individual customer. See what innovative brands are doing to level up their relevance, and test their tactics to improve your own KPIs.

  1. One-click tap-to-text makes buying easier

A digital television entertainment service with customers throughout the United States and Latin America used real-time email to make buying subscriptions to its premium sports programming package easier and also to build brand awareness in a hotly contested field.

The brand used a one-click tap-to-text function that automatically updated an email message opened on a mobile device with a tap-to-text link. Customers could tap that link to buy or upgrade their entertainment packages. 

Result: This one-click tactic helped the brand double sales in just about five weeks. Download the report to get the brand name and see sales numbers.

  1. Tactics combination boosts click-to-open, conversion rates

One tactic can be enough to generate sizable results, like those for our first brand. But, when you combine five tactics to carry out a strategy, the results can be nothing short of amazing.

An international entertainment company that operates theme parks around the world uses real-time data in email to build awareness, increase interactivity to prompt immediate responses and smooth the pathway to ticket sales.

Here’s what this brand used in its emails:

Results: The brand saw a significant increase in the click-to-open rate, which is a more specific measure of customer engagement than a basic open or click rate, and a double-digit increase in conversions. Download the report to learn the brand name and see the results in detail. 

Bonus: Using the countdown timer module cut the campaign production time for countdown emails!

Wrapping up 

Two caveats about using these tactics: The brands chose them strategically to achieve specific marketing goals, not just at random because they’re cool tools. Each brand also measured success with metrics that were tied to those goals. Both steps are essential to achieve success with advanced email personalization.

Want to learn more? Download Tactics Matter: Real Results from Advanced Personalization to get more background information about using real-time data in personalizing emails.  


Personalization is table stakes for email marketers today, but brands must go beyond basic personalization if they want to show a marked increase in KPIs like revenue.

How significant? A new in-depth report, The Value of Personalization Optimization for Retailers by The Relevancy Group, found advanced personalization can generate upwards of $20 of added revenue for every $1 invested!

“Consumers demand personalized, relevant experiences and react well to offers based on their previous purchase and shopping behavior,” The Relevancy Group says.  

Almost 90% of marketers in the study use some form of personalization, such as first name. First name personalization is a good step toward more relevant and engaging email. It might even help you snag a few more opens, clicks or conversions.

Basic personalization is the first step toward building a strong personalization program, especially if your brand is among the 14% that don’t use it.

But basic tactics alone won’t help you generate a sizable increase in a significant KPI like revenue. For that, you need to move up to higher levels of personalization, The Relevancy Group says: “Retail marketers must improve email marketing efforts by utilizing advanced tactics to deliver rich experiences.”

From basic to advanced: 3 stages of email personalization

The Relevancy Group classifies personalization tactics into three groups: basic, purchase-based and advanced. They all have one thing in common – they use data to create a unique experience for each customer email. The differences are in the kinds of data used and their purposes in the email.

  1. Basic personalization

This is the foundation of all personalization. It uses first-name and subject-line personalization to catch the customer’s eye, stand out in the inbox and show customers they’re more to the brand than just a face in the crowd.

Pro: Basic personalization is popular because it’s a low-barrier entry and operates like mail-merge in direct mail. If you collect names, you can just match them to email addresses and drop them into subject lines or the email body. 

Con: “These tactics … do little to move the needle and drive business objectives,” The Relevancy Group said in its report. If 86% of the marketers who are sending messages to your customers’ inboxes are using basic personalization, your first-name personalization won’t stand out the way they would have back when personalization was brand-new.

How to use it: This email from Celebrity Cruises uses first-name personalization to better effect in its general email because it includes its customer’s loyalty information as well as his first name in the greeting. That information can nudge a customer who’s close to a reward level or eligible for one to act.

  1. Purchase-based personalization

This is the next step up in personalization, using CRM purchase data and an RFM model (recency, frequency and monetary value) to personalize subject lines and generate dynamic content within an email.

Retailers use this tactic to bring customers back to buy again, using tactics like upselling, cross-selling, next logical product, how-to advice and social proof (what others who bought that product also buy or consider).

Pro: Basing email personalization is more meaningful than relying on broadcast (one email to everyone) or basic segmentation (one email to some) because it reflects your customer’s behavior and encourages them to buy again.

Con: Marketers often find it hard to access the data they need to generate these personalized emails. 

“Purchased based personalization should continue to be utilized,” The Relevancy Group advises, “but to leverage for maximum benefit, marketers should level up to Advanced Personalization Experiences.” 

How to use it: This National Express email has everything a passenger needs: confirmation of the destination, the ticket number, location, things to remember, bus tracker and a prominent link to manage the trip booking.

  1. Advanced personalization

These tactics use a set of rules and real-time data to deliver an experience that comes as close to a personal email as possible. These are some examples:

Among these tactics, three stand out as the most effective:

Pro: These highly personalized emails are more valuable to a customer than even purchase behavior because they reflect what’s happening around the customer in real time. Besides the obvious lift for revenue, they can generate higher open and click rates, which improves deliverability and inbox placement.

Con: You need access to the data that drives this close personalization and an automation platform that can integrate this data with your email platform. But even that isn’t the barrier it once was, back in the days when this kind of technology was available only to the most advanced brands, thanks to Liveclicker’s platform.

How to use it: Boat Outfitters includes a vital service in its emails – real-time weather forecasts.

This email from the UK’s Tottenham Hotspur rugby team uses two great engagement tactics: the countdown clock at the top to build excitement about the next game and a fan quiz near the bottom to gauge fan sentiment and nudge fans to engage with the email.

Final note: Personalization is a spectrum

These three levels of personalization – basic, purchase-based and advanced – aren’t mutually exclusive. You don’t leave one behind as you step up to the next level. 

Instead, build on each one as you improve your data collection and integration and move up to the next level. Name and purchase personalization is just as relevant, but now you can add more to it to make your emails more relevant and valuable.

It’s also important to let strategy guide your decision-making. Never collect data that you don’t plan to use, and have a reason for including that data in your emails. Otherwise, that data could be seen as irrelevant – or, worse, creepy. 

Combining smart strategy with advanced personalization will help you build a stronger email program, one that generates more revenue for your company and gives your customers a more valuable email experience, one that will encourage them to keep opening and acting on your emails. Find out where your brand falls on the personalization spectrum in this exclusive analysis.

We know that advanced personalization techniques can earn upwards of $20 – or more – for every $1 invested in it. But coming up with that initial investment can be a challenge for many marketers.

You’ll increase your chances of getting a “Yes” from your boss or executives if you present a request that shows the clear benefits of advanced personalization. A new report from Liveclicker, Driving Value with Advanced Personalization, can help you do the legwork that’s required to build a successful case.

The new report highlights Chico’s, a high-end women’s clothing retailer with 600 boutiques around the U.S., who used live inventory updates to promote its new collections. The result: higher revenue generated from larger average order values.

The full report provides in-depth analysis and details such as the actual percentages of revenue growth and the kinds of advanced tactics each retailer used to generate its gains. Download it here.

How to make your case

Driving Value with Advanced Personalization builds on the groundbreaking findings from The Relevancy Group’s study, The Value of Personalization Optimization for Retailers, produced for Liveclicker, which first quantified the potential $20 ROI from using advanced personalization.

Note: That’s on top of the ROI you earn now from email, estimated at an average $44 on every $1 invested in email. 

Although 22% of marketers surveyed for the report said lack of budget was their biggest challenge, the report found marketers spend an average $900,000 or more annually on personalization and recommendation technology.

That’s an appropriate budget amount for advanced personalization, The Relevancy Group reported. If it sounds daunting, consider that the report also found 69% of marketers said they spend $850,000 or less annually.

The report suggests three ways marketers can shave some dollars off the cost of adding advanced personalized technology such as recommendation engines: 

Finally, many of today’s cloud-based platforms that use real-time data to drive advanced personalization tactics integrate easily with databases and CRM systems and require less IT support and intervention, the report says. That’s another source of cost-saving and a point that can help you build a successful case for investment. 

In order for us marketers to do our jobs really well, we first have to understand our audience. What are they thinking? What do they want? How can we engage them at the right time and place?

People are complex, and so is this challenge.

But fortunately the solution is often straightforward—if not always easy. If you have questions about your customers and prospects…well, ask them!

A simple poll or survey can provide invaluable information about individual consumer preferences, overall audience trends, and key insights about your brand.

Email is one of the most effective ways to directly ask your customers questions. And with a combination of email survey best practices and dynamic email technology, it’s never been easier to make an inquiry and start a conversation with subscribers.

Email Survey Best Practices

There’s no shortage of helpful advice for designing a great survey online. But there are a few email survey best practices you should pay particular attention to.

Keep It Simple

Resist the urge to overload email openers with a flood of questions all at once. You’ll discourage immediate responses and turn off subscribers from opening future messages.

email survey best practices

Image source

Most people don’t open marketing emails expecting an interrogation, so don’t blindside them with a huge poll. Instead, limit yourself to just one or two questions at a time. Remember; you can always follow up with more polls in future messages!

Here’s a great email survey example of a simple-yet-effective in-email poll for moviegoers from Chuck E. Cheese’s with just one field and two possible responses.

email survey best practices

Use Interactive Email Survey Tools

One of the traditional problems of using email for polling and questionnaires was the technical limitations of the inbox experience. Polls couldn’t easily be put into emails themselves, so brands typically linked out to another landing page with a web-based survey.

Fortunately, new innovations make it possible to seamlessly embed interactive polls into email. These email polls can evolve over time and even adapt to user responses to display real-time results or new content.

Offer an Incentive

If you’re going to ask your mailing list for input, you need to offer them something in return. What are they getting out responding to your survey?

This incentive can come in many forms, and more generous offers typically generate more responses. Your offer could be as simple as the potential for a better, more relevant customer experience. Or it could be something more tangible like a discount, free sample, or other motivation. Base your offer on what you know about your audience, and test different variables to find out what works best.

Sun Tan City emailed an interactive poll element asking customers about their music preference so the company could provide a better on-location experience. To sweeten the deal, they offered a free sunbed visit to respondents with great results, including an impressive 31.5% response rate. Read the complete story here and see how they did it.

Survey Says…

One great way to incentivize responses and build community is to show the results of a survey. People love seeing what others thing and finding out how their own thoughts compare to others’

Perhaps the most engaging way to do this is simply have your email survey tool set to display polling results before or after an opener responds. You can even design your element to update with real-time data as more responses come in, giving your subscribers a reason to come back and re-open the email!

Humana inserted this clever adaptive poll as a way to build excitement and engagement around a loyalty program that encourages health and fitness.

email survey advantages and disadvantages

Update Those Profiles

If you’re fortunate enough to earn some responses to your poll, don’t just push all that information into an aggregate data set! This is an incredible opportunity to learn about your individual customers and what they want.

When an email opener responds to your survey, make sure to record their response in the user profile assigned to that email. This data can be used to provide specially catered message and highly personalized experiences in the future.

Mastercuts added a simple poll asking its audience about their hair type. They can use the data responses to serve more relevant content and product offers depending on how customers answered.

email survey tools

Email Survey Advantages and Disadvantages

Sending surveys and polls via email comes with both benefits and detriments compared to alternative options. These email survey advantages and disadvantages should influence your strategy and the decisions you make with your data.

Advantages of using email survey tools:

Potential downsides of using email:

Weigh these email survey advantages and disadvantages to make sure this tactic is the correct approach for what your program needs.

The Best Email Survey Tools Available

Want to see interactive, adaptive, fully embedded email polls in action? You don’t have to wait; contact us now for a demonstration!

Adding video to an email can be a game-changing event for marketers. While many email professionals shy away from the technical complications that video in email can bring to a marketing program, they lose sight of the messaging influence that video delivers to consumers. A recent Forrester report says that including a video in an email can boost click-through rates 200-300%; combine this engagement increase with the fact that over 55% of people online watch video daily and it’s evident that people are happy to interact with video consistently.

Historically, video content has had a hard time fitting in with the email industry due to technical constraints. In the last few years that has changed; email has embraced video as inbox and device technology catch up with media demand. Mobile devices have played an enormous role in online media consumption, also paving the way for increased amounts of video in the inbox. Today, email has evolved even further; real-time targeting is possible, tailoring content display at the moment the email opens.

Learning how to Target Video in Email

At Liveclicker, our RealTime Email platform uses pre-existing (CRM) and real-time (moment-of-open) data to render hyper-personalized content for each email recipient. Sending one video file to an entire list is email suicide; there are too many clients to get it 100% right with one file. To prevent any issues with video delivery, RealTime Email automatically detects the client the email is opened in and delivers the best possible media file type. Additional targeting can be configured to display a variety of different video options contingent on the openers:

  1. Device-in-Use – Device targeting is a great way to ensure 100% delivery of video media to an email list with Liveclicker. When the email opens, RealTime Email registers the device the email is opening on and delivers the most functional media file for that technology. An example of how this works in a real campaign would be an email list with a broad variety of email client diversity – a retail company with a huge email base of blended demographics. Email clients like AOL, Outlook (desktop),, Gmail (mobile and browser), Android (phone and tablet/various OS versions), etc. are all represented. In years past, this was a segmentation nightmare. With RealTime Email, one video uploads for encoding and when the email deploys, and each device receives the media type that works best for it. An older Outlook desktop client would get an animated gif automatically, whereas mobile devices and Apple Mail play video in the inbox.
  2. Current Weather – Current weather is a great way to target video promotions to the inbox, especially if there are multiple videos to use for differing weather conditions. Companies like car parts manufacturers, outdoor lifestyle retailers, travel websites, home repair, and sporting goods could all use contextual email technology to display different video offers based on the local weather where and when the email opens. An example could be a national outdoor gear provider is sending out a quarterly promotion to their entire email list, and they have four separate product videos for new clothing lines they carry. Each new item has some weather-specific use case for hot, cold, rainy, windy, etc. Once the email is ready, known first name data personalization is used alongside real-time weather targeting to send a product video contextually related to each opener’s weather forecast.
  3. Time of Day – Using time is an excellent method to engage email openers with contextual video content; urgency is very compelling. Time of day promotions can increase engagement tremendously with repeated opens and clicks throughout the campaign duration – adding video only makes it more interactive. Imagine a retailer using time of day video targeting to release deals online, and a different video was rendered in a single email template every 3 hours with a promotion code that worked for specific items on its ecommerce website. Engagement would go through the roof!
  4. Real-Time Location – The location of an email open for a single recipient can infinitely vary due to changes in things like the season of the year, time of day, the day of the week, traffic patterns, travel delays, moving house, lifestyle changes, etc. Known data like street address, zip code, and phone number do not accurately reflect the recipient’s relative location one hundred percent of the time. RealTime Email uses an opener’s position the moment the email is opened to display video personalized for that region. Each time that email opens, location reestablishes, and content is redisplayed.
  5. Known data (CRM/ESP) – this is pre-existing customer data from a customer relationship management tool or email service provider such as:
    1. Purchase history – leverage purchase history to dictate display of LiveVideos containing product or service information
    2. Gender – create gender-specific targeting to personalize LiveVideos for recipients at scale
    3. Previous email behavior – tighten email relevancy with intelligent analytics. Use past email behavior to dictate the next video for recipients. An electronics retailer could use previous email click patterns to dictate which Playstation 4 game video to show in the next newsletter as an example.

Keep in mind; this list isn’t a comprehensive summary of video targeting by any means. There are unique LiveVideo applications for every business using email today. Real-time video personalization can be done with or without CRM/ESP data and deployed at 100% scale using Liveclicker’s forward-facing segmentation. These examples are to show some ready-to-go scenarios that incorporate video targeting into everyday campaigns.

Benefits of Real-Time Video Targeting in Email

Using Liveclicker, emailing video is far less complicated and stressful than most know. The basics of delivering video to each email client are automated; one video upload equals all email clients covered, the leading image for the video can be customized before the send, multilingual subtitles can be added for the hearing impaired, GIFs are delivered to non-video email clients, and all this is before we add any LiveVideo targeting rules. The benefits of real-time video targeting start with:

  1. Complete list segmentation is possible without any usage of previously known data
  2. LiveVideo personalization at scale can be done using any of the real-time time targeting triggers
  3. Video-in-email can be as interactive and real-time as other online video-capable channels
  4. Campaign development time is significantly reduced with software-based automation
  5. Heavy list segmentation is replaces with intelligent, real-time content personalization

Video in email is not only here to stay – it’s ready to make bigger waves. Our clients have done studies to validate the power and saw dramatic changes in their own campaigns. Don’t hesitate to begin your exploration; we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.