Gartner debuts first personalisation engines vendor rankings

First-ever magic quadrant for personalisation engines highlights Dyamic Yield, Evergage, Monetate, Certona and Adobe as leading vendors in this burgeoning part of the martech landscape

Dynamic Yield, Evergage, Monetate, Certona, Adobe and Qubit are leading the pack when it comes to delivering personalisation engines to marketer, digital and CX practitioners, a fresh Gartner report claims.

The analyst firm’s first-ever global magic quadrant for personalisation engines looked at stand-alone software solutions available to marketers and placed the six vendors within its top ‘leaders’ quadrant for both vision and execution.

Gartner defined personalisation engines as tools that: “Apply context about individual users and their circumstances to select, tailor and deliver messaging such as content, offers and other interactions through digital channels in support of three use cases – marketing, digital commerce and customer experience”.

To do this, personalisation engines leverage data from user profiles or anonymous user behaviour tracking, then enhance it with additional first- and third-party data on real-time behaviour, transactions, geography and affinity. This allows users to segment and target audiences as well as trigger messaging and content in one or more marketing channels.

Dynamic Yield, Everage, Monetate, Certona, Adobe and Qubit scored top billing and were listed in the ‘leaders’ quadrant for their respective personalisation solutions. Vendors appearing as ‘challengers’ included Emarsys and Reflektion, while ‘the ‘visionaries’ quadrant featured Episerver, SAS, IBM, RichRelevance, IgnitionOne and Oracle. The ‘niche’ players listed included Acquia, Boxever, BloomReach and Strands.

In discussing the various solutions, Gartner noted Dynamic Yield uses predictive analytics to suggest segments and personalise opportunities, with real-time event sync to support customer data management, enabling native data on-boarding, real-time analytics and predictive segmentation across channels.

The vendor’s strengths included plans this year to enhance individual profiles with behavioural data from mobile applications, the ease of implementation and use of the platform, and the ability to dynamically render content and deliver product recommendations via email.

In terms of cautions, Gartner noted client references indicated Dynamic Yield’s personalisation suite is ‘heavy’, impacting load time, and that the platform lacked native capabilities for gathering geolocation data.

Not far behind Dynamic Yield was Evergage, which Gartner praised for its ability to create unified visitor, customer and account profiles through its customer data platform (CDP). Other strengths range from personalised navigation experiences for sites, to one-to-one recommendations for content assets and categories, deep integration capability with data management, marketing automation and email platforms, and strong service and product satisfaction scores.

Cautions, meanwhile, included potentially limited advanced data science capabilities until a data science workbench is released, the fact that Evergage has a CDP at its core as a platform, making it a less desirable fit for marketers with a CDP already in place, and some design limitations with survey tools.

Another more widely used vendor in the leader’s category was Adobe and its personalisation engine, Adobe Target, part of the Adobe Experience Cloud suite but also available as a standalone solution. Target uses the vendor’s artificial intelligence foundation, Sensei, with machine learning to scale testing and identification of key user attributes for segmentation and personalisation.

Gartner listed several strengths to Adobe Target, such as the ability to build a unified customer profile based on Adobe Experience Cloud and third-party data, as well  as advanced multivariate testing options and a comprehensive experience optimisation roadmap. On a note of caution, however, Gartner noted Adobe’s capabilities were currently limited to user experience optimisation and the platform lacked the ability to execute surveys and gather and incorporate user feedback.

To qualify for inclusion in the report, vendors had to have annual product revenues of at least US$7 million in 2017, a rule engine to enabled personalised content, offers, messaging and/or experiences to both anonymous and known suers, the ability to tap into multiple data sources, A/B testing, recommendations and notifications and some template and custom reporting.

Related: 8 things you need to know about AI in marketing right now

Gartner pointed out vendors listed in the magic quadrant projected a 35 per cent increase in personalisation engine revenue between 2017 and 2018, a reflection of the substantial growth being chalked up in this part of the marketing technology ecosystem.

“While personalisation engine vendors often have a legacy rooted in digital commerce – particularly product recommendations – underlying decision engines applied to digital marketing hold the potential to tailor offline experiences,” Gartner stated in the report.

“Personalisation engines can be integrated with third-party software to optimise offline interactions in physical locations like retail stores and hotels, as well as call centres and customer support centres.”

Gartner also noted most of the vendors in the magic quadrant enable first- as well as third-party data matching, although only 62 per cent offer native capabilities at present.

“Vendors like Acquia and Dynamic Yield offer connectors to an ever-expanding data ecosystem, enhancing identity management, and increasing their ability to build, import and export segments,” the report stated. “Others, such as Certona, Evergage and Monetate, natively enable bi-directional data flow to enrich profiles, taking on some of the characteristics of CDPs.

“As other vendors follow this path, marketing leaders will need to evaluate the role of a personalisation engine alongside that of a CDP.”

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