Today’s marketers have more data at their fingertips than ever before.
Information about customers’ devices, behaviors, purchasing habits, preferences, interests, and much more is collected by various marketing solutions at different stages of the customer journey.
However, this abundance of data also increases complexity, making it hard for marketers to extract actionable insights and use them to generate more revenue.
This is where personalization engines come in. A personalization engine can make sense of all that data and help marketers deliver personalized content, messaging, and product recommendations to each customer.
In this guide, you’ll learn what personalization engines are, how they work, and the key factors that differentiate them. We’ll also explore the 7 best personalization engines, including:
Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Adobe Experience Cloud
Personalize every step of your customers’ journeys with Insider
Personalization engines are software solutions that analyze customer data and give marketers the insights they need to create personalized experiences for each customer.
Most personalization engines can crunch all types of customer data, including demographic information, on-site interactions, purchase histories, interactions with customer service teams, brand loyalty data, and more.
This data is usually collected by different solutions, like analytics software, customer relationship management systems (CRMs), customer service software, APIs, and more. It’s the personalization engine’s job to make sense of all that data, usually with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms.
There are five key factors to consider when comparing personalization engines:
Below, we’ll explore the top seven personalization engines for delivering relevant content, messaging, and product recommendations. We’ll focus on their key personalization capabilities and supported channels so you have a good idea if they’re right for you.
Insider brings together the most extensive set of personalization capabilities for websites and mobile apps, as well as for channels like email, SMS, WhatsApp, push notifications, and more.
Brands like Samsung, Coca-Cola, and MAC Cosmetics use Insider to reduce acquisition costs, boost conversion rates, and increase revenue by personalizing every touchpoint in their customers’ experience.
Our clients also rely on Insider’s extensive data aggregation, automation, and engagement capabilities to:
As a multi-faceted solution for mid-sized and enterprise companies, Insider also ranks at the top of other key categories like:
In the next sections, you’ll see how Insider makes it easy to tailor each user’s experience to their behaviors, needs, and preferences.
Successful personalization depends on accurate and reliable data being available for the personalization engine. Bringing that data into one place is often a lengthy and resource-intensive process that requires different teams to connect various disconnected systems, like customer data platforms (CDPs), CMSs, analytics software, legacy systems, and so on.
To avoid this problem, Insider offers flexible setup options, an experienced support team, and an Actionable CDP that can bring your customer data into one place. These capabilities ensure you don’t have to waste tons of time and effort into painstakingly stichting data from disparate sources.
Versatile setup options and an experienced support team
Our support team assists you in getting the right data into Insider and starting the personalization process as quickly as possible by:
Thanks to our focus on making everything as simple as possible, clients consistently rank Insider highly in categories like ease of use, ease of setup, and quality of support.
For example, say you have a large eCommerce store and want to start using Insider’s personalization capabilities.
From here, our team will help you connect to the rest of your eCommerce stack, get the right data (and journeys) into Insider, and start creating personalized customer experiences as quickly as possible.
Insider’s Actionable CDP lets you aggregate your data and get an accurate, 360-degree view of each individual customer.
For example, the screenshot below shows a unified profile with key details about the customer’s:
Overall, this data is crucial for the personalization process, as it gives you the necessary insights into each customer’s behaviors and preferences. Again, our team helps you get this data from various sources into Insider’s CDP as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Another key benefit of our CDP is that it automatically creates profiles for anonymous visitors as well as for known customers.
While these profiles don’t contain any personal information, they still show you everything anonymous visitors do on your site—including where they click, which product categories they’re browsing, last visited and abandoned products, and more. This lets you personalize their on-site experience in real time, which helps convert them into paying customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Lastly, while Insider comes with a powerful and free CDP, you don’t have to use it in order to take advantage of our platform.
If you’re happy with your current CDP, Insider can simply connect to it. That way, you can continue using your data platform and take advantage of Insider’s personalization, automation, and engagement capabilities.
With the foundation (i.e., your customer data) ready, you can start implementing various personalization tactics and evaluating their impact.
Insiders lets you scale your personalization efforts to every touchpoint in your customers’ journeys—from your website and mobile app to external channels like email, SMS, WhatsApp, and push notifications.
Advanced on-site and in-app personalization
Website personalization is crucial if you want to make the most out of your marketing budget, as it helps you convert a higher percentage of visitors into paying customers.
That’s why Insider can tailor every element of your website or mobile app, depending on customer behaviors, preferences, and interests.
For example, our AI-powered Smart Recommender lets you deliver relevant product recommendations to each customer. These recommendations can be completely generated by our AI algorithms. You also have the option to tweak them based on your needs.
First, you can choose where you want the personalized product recommendations to appear:
After that, you can choose between various personalization strategies, including:
Philips leveraged these personalization capabilities on their site to achieve a 40.11% conversion rate uplift and a 35% increase in average order value (AOV).
As we’ll explore in the next section, you can also use these personalized product recommendations on external channels like email, SMS, WhatsApp, web push, and more.
Besides product recommendations, you can also use Insider to personalize:
Mobile stories. Insider offers a special product for adding engaging, Instagram-like stories to your mobile site or app, called InStory. These stories are great for catching users’ attention and putting product discovery on autopilot, as each one can be personalized to the user who clicks on it. Dover Saddlery was able to generate $1.7 million in incremental revenue by showing personalized stories to web and mobile users.
Site search results. Shoppers often make between three to five searches before abandoning your site. That’s why EUREKA—our AI-powered personalized search results tool—gives each searcher highly relevant results based on their past actions, purchase history, and predicted behaviors. That way, you can create a great customer experience and maximize your marketing spend, instead of losing potential customers due to irrelevant search results.
Personalization on email, SMS, and other external channels
Website personalization is just one part of delivering a consistent customer experience. External touchpoints like email, SMS, and WhatsApp are just as important, which is why Insider lets you create tailored experiences on them natively (i.e., without needing a third-party solution).
Here are some of the key channels that our platform supports:
SMS. You can create personalized email messages just as easily as emails. And since email and SMS are often used together (especially by eCommerce businesses), Insider lets you coordinate your campaigns across both channels to maximize their potential and your marketing spend.
Push notifications. Push notifications are a very cost-effective way to engage users as there’s no extra cost associated with sending each one (unlike email, SMS, and online ads). They can be a powerful tool for many use cases, including product discovery, cart recovery, and more. Insider supports various web and mobile app push notification types and lets you easily personalize them to each user’s preferences. Learn more: Top 12 push notification software tools for web and mobile push
WhatsApp. As a marketing channel, WhatsApp offers many ways to engage customers with relevant content—from personalized promo messages to real-time price drop alerts and event reminders. Insider can help you tap into WhatsApp’s full marketing potential. For example, you use WhatsApp’s new conversational commerce capability to create end-to-end buying experiences right inside the app.
Online ads. Insider’s versatile segmentation lets you create highly targeted user audiences with the help of our AI-powered intent engine. Besides using these audiences for campaigns built with Insider, you can export and use them for your Facebook, Google, and TikTok ad campaigns. For example, Pierre Cardin targeted segments created with Insider with their online ads, leading to a 445% uplift in conversions, as well as a 164.83% boost to their return on ad spend.
Bonus: Lower acquisition costs by personalizing the experience of anonymous visitors
Website traffic typically consists of a lot more unknown visitors than known ones. Converting as many of these visitors into leads and paying customers is essential for making the most out of your marketing spend.
However, many personalization tools need personal information like emails and phone numbers before they can start creating user profiles, crunching behavioral data, and creating tailored experiences.
Conversely, Insider’s CDP creates profiles even for anonymous visitors, while its web push notifications and on-site personalization help you personalize their experience in real time.
Here’s how this process works:
While anonymous visitors are browsing your site, Insider collects behavioral data, including where they click, which products and price ranges they’re interested in, their last viewed items, and so on. Based on that data, our platform can start to show visitors more relevant content, messaging, and product recommendations while they’re still browsing your site or when they return to it.
But that’s not all. You can also send an exit-intent pop up to visitors so they can agree to receive notifications before leaving your site. This is a small commitment that doesn’t require any personal data, which increases the likelihood of visitors opting in.
After that, you can bring them back to your site with web push notifications that are personalized based on the categories, products, price ranges, and other attributes they’ve shown interest in. This can help you drastically reduce acquisition costs (because you don’t have to use expensive retargeting ads), convert more visitors, and recover abandoned carts.
For example, Lenovo used Insider’s web push notifications to reach visitors who abandoned their cart with personalized messages. Besides getting many of them back to the site, Lenovo was able to lower cart abandonment rates by more than 10%.
Insider’s cross-channel journey builder (Architect) lets you create, personalize, and automate multi-step flows and campaigns.
For example, say you showed online ads to a specific customer segment. You can instruct Insider to send that same segment a relevant push notification and an email the next day.
This is controlled through a simple drag-and-drop editor. As you can see below, the editor gives you plenty of options to trigger each campaign, including:
Once you’ve selected how a journey should start, you can choose which segment should be included in it. Insider offers lots of variety in terms of building your segments.
For example, you can start with pre-made audiences of users who abandoned their carts (or a product page), interacted with your brand on a specific channel, and more.
Or, you can use our AI-powered intent engine to get targeted audiences based on their likelihood to purchase or churn, discount affinity, projected lifetime value, and interest clusters, as you can see below.
You can enrich these predefined and predictive audiences with all sorts of standard characteristics—like users’ devices, locations, and demographics—to create highly targeted marketing segments for your campaigns. Architect also makes it easy to choose how each journey unfolds. For example, you can instruct our platform to wait a certain amount of time before sending a follow-up message on a specific channel.
You can also easily review each campaign’s results right inside Architect. As you can see below, our platform shows you how many users entered the flow, how many of them progress through each step, and other key details for making data-driven decisions.
And while there are tons of capabilities you can leverage here, our platform can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
Insider offers an extensive template library with many proven cross-channel journeys. You can use these templates to kick-start your campaigns in no time, without building everything from the ground up.
Our platform also offers three key AI-powered capabilities that can save you tons of time and effort—next-best channel predictions, send-time optimization, and A/B test winner auto-selection.
Next-Best Channel Predictions
When using a bunch of different marketing channels, it can be very difficult to decide which one to employ for each user segment.
For example, say you run a discount campaign across email and SMS for customers who have a high discount affinity but it doesn’t produce the desired results. How do you proceed with so many options?With Insider’s AI-powered next-best channel predictions, that’s no longer an issue. Our platform analyzes each customer’s preferred touchpoints, behaviors, and interests and automatically sends them a message on the most appropriate channel.
Send-Time Optimization (STO)
Just like the previous feature, STO uses the power of AI to automate a key decision: when each campaign message should be sent. STO analyzes each customer’s behavioral patterns to determine when they’re most likely to engage with your brand and triggers each message based on that.
A/B Test Winner Auto-Selection
Insider comes with built-in A/B testing capabilities for comparing different messages, channels, and even entire journey flows against each other.
Thanks to our Winner Auto-Selection feature, you also don’t need to manually analyze each test’s results and adjust your journeys based on it. Instead, this feature uses machine learning algorithms to automatically determine and direct customers to the winning path variation over a specified time duration.
All you have to do is select a winning metric, which can be open rates, conversions, revenue, or anything else, and determine a calculation window after which the winning path is determined, e.g., 30, 60, or 90 days.
This makes Winner Auto-Selection ideal for:
Braze is a customer engagement platform. While its on-site personalization capabilities are limited, you can use it to personalize the customer experience on various touchpoints, including:
Braze also has various automation and analytics capabilities included in its Data & Analytics and Campaign Orchestration tools.
Monetate is a personalization platform. It offers various capabilities bundled across three products:
DynamicYield is a personalization software specialized in creating tailored on-site experiences. It also supports in-app, email, and online ad personalization. It can connect to various data sources—like CRMs, APIs, and point-of-sale devices—and create customer segments based on behavioral data, customer journey stages, offline purchase information, and more.
CleverTap is an all-in-one customer engagement platform for email, SMS, WhatsApp, push notifications, in-app messaging, and web messaging. It’s traditionally been focused on mobile marketing, engagement, and personalization by helping brands target the right customers and personalize their digital experiences. It also uses AI to help build customer segments, deliver AI-generated content, and drive successful experimentation.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud brings together a suite of tools for personalization, customer data aggregation, omnichannel automation, and more. It helps companies deliver relevant product recommendations and content across channels like email, SMS, push notifications, and social media with the help of AI. It also has products for different use cases compared to others in this list, like account-based marketing and loyalty management.
Adobe Experience Cloud combines various Adobe personalization and engagement products, like:
Insider is the ideal personalization engine for mid-sized and enterprise companies looking to improve acquisition costs, revenue, and retention by personalizing each touchpoint in their customers’ journeys.
Our solution lets you:
Additionally, our versatile setup options, experienced support team, and vast template library enable you to get started and see a meaningful return on your investment as quickly as possible.
Katie is an award-winning content marketer with over seven years of experience in content strategy, development, and copywriting. As Global Content Director at Insider, she currently oversees content strategy across 26 regions. Fun fact: Katie read 64 books last year (for which she owes a long commute and two week-long holidays where she spent approximately six hours a day with her nose in a book).