How Marketers Use Data to Personalize Ads

A hunch used to go very far in marketers’ drawing rooms. Now that marketing relies heavily on numbers and technology, guesses are outdated.  

The golden rule in business is that the customer is always right and should always be put first. In the past, it was near impossible to read the consumer’s mind. With the help of data tracking and analytics, marketers today know their customers’ preferences, behaviors, and tendencies.

This in-depth knowledge allows marketers to host personalized campaigns. And it is no surprise that consumers like this personal approach (to an extent).

Personalization should not make the consumer feel targeted. It should drive higher engagement with a meaningful, relatable message that stems from the analysis of past and current consumer behaviors.  

Read related: One Size Does Not Fit All: A Marketing Personalization Guide Inspired by Jeff Bezos

Without being too creepy or inferring too much, consumers like marketing that is relevant to their interests, saves them time, or produces value. According to a study conducted by Infosys, “59% of consumers are more inclined to purchase from a company if it offers a personalized experience.”

Demand Metric found that 80% of marketers prefer personalizing their messages because it is more effective. In fact, SmartDataCollective states that a personalized marketing message:

  • Reduces customer acquisition costs

  • Maximizes customer lifetime value

  • Improves conversion rates

  • Improves customer engagement

Three Ways to use Data to Personalize Marketing:


Individualize Content

Individualization that is based on demographic information - details about the consumer like their industry, company name, job title, company size or lifestyle, daily routine, and salary can help form surface level messaging.

The marketer can individualize the message even further by assessing the activity or status of the consumer. Depending on where the customer is in the buying cycle/how engaged they are with the product, the marketer’s message may be different.  

Interact in Real-Time

According to SmarterHQ, ROI (return on investment) increases when personalized email triggers or messages are sent in real-time.

For example, following the consumer’s actions and offering proactive support shows the consumer that the retailer cares. This involvement increases brand loyalty and engagement.

Recommend Trends/Products  

Machine learning and artificial intelligence assists marketers when pinpointing what emails consumers have opened, products they’ve purchased, carts left unattended, or pages clicked. Tracking behavioral data allows marketers to find correlations and leave specific recommendations for products that may interest the consumer.

The more data a company has on a consumer, the more specific the message.

personalize spotify.PNG

Spotify’s latest innovative ad campaign has people’s heads turning. The ads are not directly personal (as in, there is not a “To” and “From” box), but they are relevant to specific Spotify users’ interests. Leveraging data about the frequency with which a song was played and playlist titles of thousands of users, Spotify was able to capture the personalities of people - making hilarious and relatable headlines.

Read AdWeek’s review of the brilliant ads: How Spotify Makes Its Data-Driven Outdoor Ads, and Why They Work So Well

Numbers from data speak volumes. Data allows marketers to peer into the mind of the consumer and personalize content to their liking. A personalized and engaging strategy is what sets a company apart from competition. Not only will campaigns become more effective, but consumers will appreciate the personalization.