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23 of the Best Personalized Email Examples



23 of the Best Personalized Email Examples

You put an app on your phone, but haven’t used it in a week, and you’re about to delete it from your phone. Then an email arrives that shows you how the app solves a problem you’ve been struggling with. Email personalization saves the day.

A 2022 McKinsey report says that 71% of consumers expect companies to offer personalized communication. 76% get frustrated when it doesn’t happen.

Ramping up your email marketing to stand out and get the results you want can be tough. But there’s a strategy that less than 30% of marketers are using.

Let’s talk about email personalization and check out some personalized email examples.

Email personalization is more than a strategy. It’s a way to connect one-on-one with each person that reaches out to learn about your business.

This process helps email marketers create emails that appeal to each individual on their email list. And they can do it without having to draft a separate email for each person.

According to Experian, 78% of customers are more aware of how businesses are using their data. So, personalization is more convenient for marketers, but how do customers feel about it?

Why is email personalization important?

Email personalization is a wildly effective strategy. Segmentation of email campaigns alone can increase revenue by up to 760%.

And while subscribers want to know more about how companies are using their data, 59% of customers trust businesses using AI to personalize their experience. Because of this high level of comfort, email personalization is an excellent investment when it’s done right.

According to Statista, 42% of consumers feel that personalization is somewhat or very important. And 67% have used personal recommendations when shopping for products.

Personalization content data from Statista

If you want to improve engagement and revenue for your business, the best time to start personalizing your emails is now.

Email Personalization Strategies

Most of the posts you see on social media are just for you. These platforms encourage you to spend more time on their platforms using algorithms that notice what you like and give you more of it.

The average person spends 147 minutes on social media each day. This can lead them to expect all their online experiences will feel personal.

Until marketing automation, businesses found it difficult to personalize emails. But today it’s possible to create unique emails for every subscriber and to show them what appeals to their personal interests.

Email personalization can make every email an offer that’s just for them.

But creating personalized emails is tougher than it looks. Besides the challenge of designing an email that connects and appeals to subscribers, personalization requires some technical know-how.

It’s not unusual for an email marketing manager to design a great email. But some of these emails never get sent because of API, email marketing platform, and other challenges.

So, before you start personalizing your emails, check out these strategies.

1. Build a list you can segment.

Creating a great email list is about more than getting attention from new subscribers. Each form, email, and interaction is an opportunity to collect segmentation data.

Collect useful information.

As you build each email form, think about the data that you can collect and how it can help segment subscribers later.

For example, a form with a single box for subscriber names can make personalizing tough. New sign-ups may add their first name, but they could also add a business name, their last name, or leave this field blank.

That means you won’t be able to personalize emails with subscribers’ first names without creating errors. Nothing says impersonal like an email that starts with “Hi [email protected]

At the same time, you want to make an email sign-up form that’s quick and easy to fill out.

HubSpot email form

Think about how you want to collect personal and business names in advance. Then you can choose the best way to personalize for each segment.

Other useful information to collect when users subscribe could include:

  • Location
  • A quick yes or no survey
  • Email frequency preferences
  • Demographics like age, company position, or location
  • Psychographics like personality types, income level, or goals

Create surveys and interactive emails.

As you email new subscribers, use interactive elements to segment users based on their interests.

Use link tracking to help you organize your email lists. Link tracking can tell you when a subscriber clicks a link in your email. You can use this data to quickly respond and connect with a prospect, or use this data to segment your list later on.

Another way to collect more data for segmentation is through surveys. A survey can help you collect personal information to refine your messaging to contacts. It can also make it easier to understand their top questions and concerns early in the buyer journey.

This article includes some segmentation ideas and how you can work them into your emails.

Use integrations.

Another way that you use data to segment your users is to connect your email marketing tool to your CRM. Integrations with your email marketing tool can also offer real-time insights. This data can help you send targeted emails based on what your contacts are doing online.

The goal is to track user behavior that can help you target communications. The amount of data a platform can collect can be a little overwhelming, so instead of grabbing a ton of data that you can’t use, create a plan.

Think about the emails that will be interesting and useful to your customers. Next, think about how you can use data insights to personalize your emails in a way that makes them even more valuable.

For example, instead of offering the same sale to every subscriber, use data to personalize your discount emails.

Try offering a discount to every person that bought your most popular product in the last few months to encourage them to buy again.

Some other data you might want to collect and use to personalize your email:

  • Buying habits
  • Mobile vs. desktop
  • Engagement, like email opens and clicks

2. Align emails with the buyer’s journey.

The most effective emails contain the right information at the right time. That means finding a way to welcome new subscribers that’s personal, then keeping them engaged until they become loyal brand promoters.

So, start with strong brand personas and outline your ideal buyer journey. Next, use email personalization to send automated emails that support and enhance your customer experience.

Build automated email sequences for each stage in the buyer journey.

Most companies send emails from a few different departments. This might include:

  • An eager sales team that wants to connect
  • A marketing team wooing customers with upsells
  • Customer service agents responding to questions

To make sure that every person on your email list gets what they need when they need it, you’ll want to create targeted workflows and sequences.

Start with a welcome sequence. This might be a one-on-one email from a trusted member of your team or a bright graphic welcome that connects to the reason your latest contact signed up.

Email personalization is simple with workflows that trigger with user behavior.

It’s also a good idea to offer extra products and services based on past purchases through email. When using this strategy, try to focus on customers who have made more than one purchase.

The more data you have, the more likely you will steer customers toward items they really want. Otherwise, these personal recommendations can start to feel decidedly impersonal.

Make recommendations about the customer, not about which product you want to sell more of.

Other useful sequences and workflows you can build and personalize include:

  • New product announcements
  • Outreach when a contact goes inactive
  • Campaigns based on subscriber activity, like attending a webinar
  • Status alerts, like a flight change or change in product availability

Trigger personalized emails at important moments.

Use personal emails to highlight the moments when your subscribers expect an email. To stand out, you’ll also want to celebrate moments where your customer has reached a personal goal.

Product engagement moments are key. If a customer has used your meditation app every day this week or they’ve logged in to a food diary app for three days in a row, it’s a great time to send an email.

Triggered emails are a way to show that the moments that are important to them are important to you too.

Use behavior triggers.

It’s easy to focus on the beginning and end of your relationship with an email contact, but most of the real action happens in the middle. You can use this moment in the buyer journey for emails that trigger with an action.

Trigger emails are a way to connect with your subscribers at the right time. For example, Instagram sends you an email when they haven’t seen you log in for a while.

A triggered email sends after a specific event or interaction. When an email aligns with their actions and priorities, it feels more useful and personal than an email blast.

Potential behavior triggers for email include:

  • Event registration
  • Loyalty membership
  • Canceling or changing an appointment
  • Changing contact or profile information
  • Cart abandonment
  • Product page exit
  • Shipping cost exit

An important note: Use triggers to creatively let your subscribers know you’re paying attention, but keep it chill. It can be uncomfortable for some users to know their actions are being tracked online.

Add subscriber tags to further segment subscribers based on their actions.

It’s easy to focus on the beginning of a subscriber’s email journey. But ideally, an email subscription is a long-term relationship that deepens over time. Tags can help you continue to send subscribers the right messaging as their interests and needs change.

Tagging subscribers when they complete a specific action is a great way to segment your audience. You can use dynamic tags to quickly send subscribers a useful message based on what they are doing now, not what they thought they would do when they first subscribed.

3. Design emails with personalization in mind.

If it’s done well, email can deliver $33 ROI for each dollar you spend.

So, build trust with every email. Don’t accidentally spam their subscribers with discounts, new products, and pressure to buy. Instead, focus on your subscribers and the value you’re giving them each time you hit send.

Write personalized subject lines.

Email personalization isn’t just calling subscribers by name. It’s using data to make every one of your subscribers feel special.

Write your subject lines and emails like you’re writing an email to a friend. This approach can make your language feel more natural. It can also make the added personalization feel more authentic. Take a look at these subject line examples if you need inspiration.

Send emails from a person, not just a brand.

Send emails from a person, not a brand. A real name and face in the “from” field of an email let subscribers know the face behind the message. It makes each email feel more personal, like a conversation instead of a transaction.

You can also try adding a personalized P.S. at the end of an email. A personal postscript is a quick way to add a personal touch to emails. It shows subscribers that you want to connect with them as a person, not just a prospect.

Create email campaigns for unique segments of your email list.

Use data insights to study and anticipate customer needs. Then create unique emails that address those needs. This might mean creating an email course, directing them to help center resources, or sending surveys that ask for their opinion.

Dynamic content in emails can let you send different codes and email content to different subscribers.

Try to use data to inform your messaging. At the same time, don’t add sensitive personal information directly.

For example, if you’re personalizing an email for your high-income segment, don’t plug in the income level they shared on a form or survey. Instead, you try adding a section with top-tier or exclusive products.

Use images to personalize emails.

Images and GIFs can make an email more exciting and interesting. Besides making subscribers more aware of your brand and story, images are a great way to get the attention of readers who don’t read the messages in their inboxes.

Image personalization is an effective strategy for emails too. A company that sees its logo in your B2B email is more likely to pay more attention to what you have to say. A shopper looking for a personalized pillow may be more likely to buy if they see a custom graphic they’ve used on your site before.

Send limited-time unique email offers.

One of the best ways (source) to get a subscriber to act is to create urgency. For example, if a shopper abandons their cart before clicking “Buy now” an email with a limited time discount could inspire them to make that purchase.

Schedule emails at the right time.

Start with your buyer personas and their habits to decide the best time to send emails. And don’t forget to keep location in mind.

Let’s say your new subscriber opens emails first thing in the morning, you might set their email to send at 8 am. But what if they live in a time zone where they’re eating lunch just as you wake up for the day? You might miss the best time for that contact to read your email.

Segmenting contacts by location can help you send your emails at the right time to every subscriber.

Start A/B testing.

Compelling email personalization is in the details. Email marketing seems simple, but some variables can impact the experience.

A/B testing is an effective way to gauge how your subscribers respond to your emails. For the most useful insights, test only one variable at a time. If you test too many email features at the same time it will be difficult to understand what is and isn’t working.

Do some research if you’ve never run marketing experiments like this before.

4. Make the next steps clear and easy.

You can create a great user experience by thinking about the full user journey, not just crafting a perfect personalized email.

Shorten the conversion path with relevant links.

When your email tells subscribers to click a link, that link needs to deliver. For example, if an item sells out and that product and link are in the highlight of your email, it will only frustrate your customers.

Have links in mind before you start writing and designing. Check each link you plan to include to make sure it’s current. Then create a message that sells the content in that link.

Clicking a link doesn’t seem like a big deal. But the increased rate of phishing scams can lead subscribers to second guess engaging with your emails.

Keep this perspective in mind. It will help you draft emails that foster relationships with your email list and avoid making emails that feel like clickbait.

Create targeted landing pages.

If you’re building custom landing pages for your emails, make sure that your email and landing page designs work together. Think about creating unique landing pages for each segment. Then focus your landing page message on the information that’s most important to that group of people.

Personalized Email Examples You Can’t Help but Click

1. OpenTable

Email personalization example: OpenTable

Why email examples like this work: Not only does this email make it easy to make reservations online, but it also remembers favorite restaurants. This helps users discover new places to eat based on reviews and reservation behavior.

One way OpenTable encourages users to leave reviews is by sending emails with a personalized subject line. Then, they ask the diners’ to review their most recent restaurant experience.

These reviews give OpenTable an idea of which restaurant recommendations are user favorites, which makes the reservation process easier for their users.

2. Alaska Airlines

Email personalization example: Alaska Airlines

Why email examples like this work: This email effectively pulls a frequent traveler (me) back in with a check-in email. It reminds me of what I’m not doing (opening emails). Next, it encourages me to loop back in with an image of something I might rather be doing (surfing at the beach).

This email also has a button marked “Deals.” It’s a great strategy to offer something special from your brand when a user stops engaging. It could give your audience the motivation they need to take action and make a purchase.

3. The Hustle

Email personalization example: The Hustle

Why this email example works: The Hustle has a “Snippets” section in their newsletter. Each email includes a curated list of articles highlighting topics the subscriber picked when they signed up.

This user’s chosen topics are Big Tech and The Hustle Picks, so the snippet section updates with those topics in mind. This makes each email feel like it’s just for them, instead of a general list of what’s new.

If you feel like this would work for your subscribers too, set up workflows that remind subscribers how to continue taking advantage of these specially-tailored messages.

4. Spotify

Email personalization example: Spotify

Why email examples like this work: Spotify’s Year in Review emails and in-platform messaging are a highlight for subscribers. Music has a strong emotional impact. Spotify uses this to remind this what their last year looked like in music, just before the new year begins.

The copy in this email from Spotify is particularly effective because it frames the personalization in a way that makes the recipient feel like they’re getting a reward for their usage. Phrases like “Guess which song is your #1?” lend themselves to a sense of exclusivity — making the user feel important.

Again, this push helps to confirm that the user is actively using the streaming service, and is continuously reminded of the value.

5. LinkedIn

Email personalization example: LinkedIn

Why this email personalization example works: When I was actively applying for jobs. I often used LinkedIn for my search. Each day, LinkedIn sent me a roundup of jobs it thought would pique my interest.

While some of the listings were more applicable than others, all of them were clickable.

Did you catch that? Clickable. And even if none of these jobs piqued my interest, I had a network of professional connections who might have considered them, driving even more traffic to LinkedIn’s website.

6. Be My Eyes

Email personalization example: Be My Eyes

Why this email example works: Why this email example works: Be My Eyes is an app that helps blind and low-vision users borrow the sight of over 1.5 million volunteers. This email triggers after a user has their first volunteer call. Then, it goes into detail on how they can solve common problems.

This email has a lot of text, but it’s broken into bullets to make it easy and quick to read.

The timing of this email makes a simple process even easier and makes first-time volunteers feel more comfortable helping.

7. American Eagle

Email personalization example: American Eagle

Why email examples like this work: This email begins with an enticing subject line: “You’re in. Here’s your exclusive code.”

The email is short and clear, highlighting a custom offer and an image GIF highlighting their most popular products.

In a more complicated or image-heavy email, that discount code could be easy to miss. But this email personalization is simple and quick to read, which makes it easy to see the unique discount code that the subject line calls out.

8. Ticketmaster

Email personalization example: Ticketmaster

Why email examples like this work: This email is a great example of how to use location information to offer a customized email experience. In the email, Ticketmaster makes it easy for me to quickly visualize what’s headed to my area and when. This lowers the barrier between me and the point of purchase.

This type of personalization could be super useful for a company looking to deliver more relevant messages to international leads or existing customers.

If you’re using HubSpot’s free email marketing software, you can use a contact’s location to personalize your messages like this campaign.

9. Getaway

Email personalization example: Getaway

Why this email example works: This email triggers after a stay at one of Getaway’s unique locations. It includes a reminder to book another visit soon.

The first image is a slideshow that highlights the best features of a Getaway cabin. The second image shows a punch card with two nights punched out. This makes it easy to see how many more nights it will take to stay for free.

This email also includes a referral link to share for an extra discount, offering value to both Getaway and their customers.

10. TikTok

Email personalization example: TikTok

Why email personalization examples like this work: After following one of his favorite chefs on TikTok, Matthew received this email from the social network with suggestions for similar accounts to follow.

What’s more, the suggestions were super relevant.

When companies have as much data as TikTok does, they usually go one of two ways with personalization: They totally nail it, or they have too much data to sift out what’s important. This is an example of accurately identifying what Matthew would care about, and delivering it to him.

11. Savage X Fenty

Email personalization example: Savage X Fenty

Why this email example works: This email starts with a bold discount graphic. The message clearly states that the inspiration for every discount was customer feedback and requests.

Then it features easy-to-see and attractive images of their top products, with extra text that shares why each bra is a popular pick.

Each highlighted product also includes a testimonial. This adds to the feeling that these products have the customer in mind.

12. Ancestry

Email personalization example: Ancestry

Why this email example works: Ancestry pulls users back in with an email that hints about new information in the family tree.

It personalizes both first and last names in different parts of the email, so the personalization feels more authentic.

The email includes personal hints and extra details to lure users to spend more time on the site.

13. Free Prints

Email personalization example: Free Prints

Why email examples like this work: This email has a simple message and clearly states the value of their service. The big wow in this email is the personalized image. It pulls a picture from their app to drive another purchase.

If you want to boost the word-of-mouth influence behind your product or service, this is a great example of how personalization can help propel your message.

14. Bunch

Email personalization example: Bunch

Why this email example works: This quick and peppy reminder to get back into an app shows that Bunch is using data-driven strategies to engage users. They’re anticipating the most likely reason I’m not logging in, calling out a common issue, and offering a solution. It also gives me a chance to update my reminders.

This isn’t the only effective way to use platform data. This strategy could apply to many marketing materials — ebooks, webinars, and blog articles, to name a few.

For example, if you find that someone downloaded an ebook on social media tips, you may want to set up a workflow to trigger a follow-up email that suggests they check out your social media guide on SlideShare.

15. Etsy

Email personalization example: Etsy

Why email examples like this work: This email shows a product from a merchant Ivelisse has bought from before. The headline “Your Favorite” reminds her that this is a product she’s seen and liked before.

Etsy’s email also offers a discount, with the original price crossed out, and the discount offer is in green instead of black. This makes the offer easier to see but it’s still pleasing to the eye.

It serves as a great example of how to use a contact’s search behavior to re-engage them with your company, and hopefully move them closer to a sale.

16. Voicebox

Email personalization example: Voicebox

Why this email personalization example works: Voicebox adds to the post-karaoke experience by adding a personal playlist. They want to know if you had fun, ask for your feedback if you had any issues, and remind you to visit again soon.

Even better, the email ends by reminding you exactly what you sang during your session. The list has a lot of detail, which brings you right back to the moment you were singing.

It’s just the right amount of inspiration to get you to book a session to sing again.

17. Experian

Email personalization example: Experian

Why this email example works: Fear isn’t a fun emotion, but it is a motivator. This email offers an alert with positive feedback about my credit score, but it also hints that there could be other less friendly messages in their portal that I should check, just in case. This gets me to click and engage with their services.

What I love most about the email is its simplicity. It offers up a single topic, which is enough to interest the recipient without overwhelming them. Plus, the copy is quick, friendly, and clear.

18. Happyfeed

Email personalization example: Happyfeed

Why this email example works: Happyfeed is a gratitude journal app for users to record three things they are grateful for each day. This monthly recap email grabs data from the app to remind me of some of my best moments from the past month.

They also remind me how active I was on the app, and include extra offers and new features. This is a great way to reinforce the value of a product while also offering reasons a user should upgrade or spend more time using a product.

They also ask for my feedback, reinforcing the message that my opinion is important to them.

19. Google Maps

Email personalization example: Google Maps

Why email examples like this work: This email from Google lets Ivelisse know that people like the update she added. It also includes a personalized image of the edited map, so it reminds her of the update quickly and easily.

This email reminds her that updating reviews and locations on Google Maps makes a difference. That’s a powerful motivator to keep making updates.

20. Sephora

Email personalization example: Sephora

Why email examples like this work: Sephora used this personalized email to give Kimberly a free gift and a reminder to buy, with a birthday greeting to boot.

That’s a great way for brands to achieve customer reactivation — by using a fixed date, like a birthday or anniversary, to remind people what it was that they loved about your business in the first place.

If you’re a HubSpot customer, this is an easy email to copy for your contacts through fixed date or property-based workflows. It allows you to base your workflow on a calendar or contact property date. This makes it easy to send anniversary emails, digital birthday cards, renewal reminders, and more.

21. Reddit

Email personalization example: Reddit

Why email examples like this work: Reddit’s mission is to build community. This personalized email shows this user that other members of this subreddit appreciate their comments.

This simple email tells the commenter that their opinion is valuable and that they should keep participating. This leads to clicking from the email back into Reddit.

22. Alex Mill

Email personalization example: Alex Mill

Why this email personalization example works: There are a lot of reasons to abandon an online shopping cart. Sometimes you still want to buy, but it’s hard to find that perfect item again online. Enter this email from Alex Mill.

It quickly gets to the point, letting you know they saved the items in your cart and are offering them at a discount. And the big gorgeous image also helps remind you of the quality of their products.

23. Teachable

Email personalization example: Teachable

Why this email example works: There’s a thing about conferences and summits. They’re valuable. They help you gain knowledge and become an expert.

This personalized email lets conference attendees know what they might have missed and other available learning opportunities. It also outlines a discount offer and makes the offer deadline clear and easy to understand.

HubSpot Professional and Enterprise customers: You can create Smart CTAs like these in your own emails with your HubSpot CTA tool.

Let’s Get Personal

It’s never been easier to personalize your messaging. With an integrated CRM and email marketing software like HubSpot, you can keep track of all your customer data and use it to tailor your flow.

It may seem like a big undertaking, but by observing, understanding, and investing in the behavior of your customers, you can help to make sure that they’ll stay customers. So start getting personal — and keep growing.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Ascend | DigitalMarketer



Ascend | DigitalMarketer

At this stage, your goal is to generate repeat buys and real profits. While your entry-point offer was designed for conversions, your ascension offers should be geared for profits—because if you’re serving your customers well, they’ll want to buy again and again.

Ascension offers may be simple upsells made after that initial purchase… bigger, better solutions… or “done for you” add-ons.

So now we must ask ourselves, what is our core flagship offer and how do we continue to deliver value after the first sale is made? What is the thing that we are selling? 

How we continue to deliver value after the first sale is really important, because having upsells and cross sales gives you the ability to sell to customers you already have. It will give you higher Average Customer values, which is going to give you higher margins. Which means you can spend more to acquire new customers. 

Why does this matter? It matters because of this universal law of marketing and customer acquisition, he or she who is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer wins.

Very often the business with the best product messaging very often is the business that can throw the most into customer acquisition. Now there are two ways to do that.

The first way is to just raise a lot of money. The problem is if you have a lot of money, that doesn’t last forever. At some point you need economics. 

The second way, and the most timeless and predictable approach, is to simply have the highest value customers of anyone in your market. If your customers are worth more to you than they are to your competitors, you can spend more to acquire them at the same margin. 

If a customer is worth twice as much to you than it is to your competitor, you can spend twice as much trying to acquire them to make the same margin. You can invest in your customer acquisition, because your customers are investing in your business. You can invest in your customer experiences, and when we invest more into the customer we build brands that have greater value. Meaning, people are more likely to choose you over someone else, which can actually lower acquisition costs. 

Happy customers refer others to us, which is called zero dollar customer acquisition, and generally just ensures you’re making a bigger impact. You can invest more in the customer experience and customer acquisition process if you don’t have high margins. 

If you deliver a preview experience, you can utilize revenue maximizers like up sells, cross sales, and bundles. These are things that would follow up the initial sale or are combined with the initial sale to increase the Average Customer Value.

The best example of an immediate upsell is the classic McDonalds, “would you like fries with that?” You got just a burger, do you also want fries with that? 

What distinguishes an upsell from other types of follow up offers is the upsell promise, the same end result for a bigger and better end result. 

What’s your desired result when you go to McDonalds? It’s not to eat healthy food, and it’s not even to eat a small amount of food. When you go to McDonalds your job is to have a tasty, greasy, predictable inexpensive meal. No one is going there because it’s healthy, you’re going there because you want to eat good. 

It’s predictable. It’s not going to break the bank for a hamburger, neither will adding fries or a Coke. It’s the same experience, but it’s BIGGER and BETTER. 

Amazon does this all of the time with their “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought …” But this one is algorithmic. The point of a cross sell is that it is relevant to the consumer, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be aligned with the original purchase. What you don’t want to do is start someone down one path and confuse them.

You can make this process easy with Bundles and Kits. With a bundle or a kit you’re essentially saying to someone, “you can buy just one piece, or you can get this bundle that does all of these other things for a little bit more. And it’s a higher value.”

The idea behind bundles and kits is that we are adding to the primary offer, not offering them something different. We’re simply promising to get them this desired result in higher definition. 

The Elements of High-Converting Revenue Maximizers (like our bundles and kits) are:

  1. Speed

If you’re an e-Commerce business, selling a physical product, this can look like: offering free shipping for orders $X or more. We’re looking to get your customers the same desired result, but with less work for them.

  1. Automation

If you’re a furniture business, and you want to add a Revenue Maximizer, this can look like: Right now for an extra $X our highly trained employees will come and put this together for you. 

  1. Access 

People will pay for speed, they’ll pay for less work, but they will also pay for a look behind the curtain. Think about the people who pay for Backstage Passes. Your customers will pay for a VIP experience just so they can kind of see how everything works. 

Remember, the ascension stage doesn’t have to stop. Once you have a customer, you should do your best to make them a customer for life. You should continue serving them. Continue asking them, “what needs are we still not meeting” and seek to meet those needs. 

It is your job as a marketer to seek out to discover these needs, to bring these back to the product team, because that’s what’s going to enable you to fully maximize the average customer value. Which is going to enable you to have a whole lot more to spend to acquire those customers and make your job a whole lot easier. 

Now that you understand the importance of the ascend stage, let’s apply it to our examples.

Hazel & Hem could have free priority shipping over $150, a “Boutique Points” reward program with exclusive “double point” days to encourage spending, and an exclusive “Stylist Package” that includes a full outfit custom selected for the customer. 

Cyrus & Clark can retain current clients by offering an annual strategic plan, “Done for You” Marketing services that execute on the strategic plan, and the top tier would allow customers to be the exclusive company that Cyrus & Clark services in specific geographical territories.

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2023 Facebook Algorithm Guide: Overview & Best Practices



2023 Facebook Algorithm Guide: Overview & Best Practices

Every month, 2.7 billion people use Facebook, Meta’s globe-dominating social network. For marketers, this is an un-ignorable audience. However, reaching that audience isn’t always easy – to get content in front of a relevant user, they need to make the Facebook algorithm work in their favor.

Unfortunately, the algorithm can feel very mysterious. Why do some posts go viral with engagement while others wither and disappear without so much as a few courtesy likes?

The good news is that while the technical rules governing Facebook’s algorithm may be in a black box, there are plenty of guidelines and common-sense tips that can help ensure your content gets prioritized and seen. Facebook has published many explainers and tutorials over the past few years to break down how its algorithm ranks and distributes content to users’ Feeds.

Here’s how Facebook’s algorithm works in 2023 with ten expert tips on increasing the impact, performance and lifecycle of your Facebook content.

Table of Contents


  • What is the Facebook Algorithm?
  • A Recent History of the Facebook Algorithm 
  • How the Facebook Algorithm Works in 2023
  • 10 Best Practices for Working with Facebook’s Algorithm
  • Final Takeaway


What is the Facebook Algorithm?

The Facebook algorithm is the set of rules and formulas that determine what content users see in their Feeds. Its goal is to make the posts that “matter most to the user” highly visible to that user. To do this, it analyzes each piece of content eligible to be displayed and ranks them according to a set of criteria.

As Facebook explains, the algorithm is actually “not just one single algorithm; it’s multiple layers of [machine learning] models and rankings that we apply to predict the most relevant and meaningful content for each user.”

If that sounds complex, that’s because of the sheer volume of content on the Facebook platform. There are over 2 billion Facebook users and trillions of posts they can see; the algorithm needs to be sophisticated to sort through all that content in an instant between launching the Facebook application and the population of each user’s Feed. 


A Recent History of the Facebook Algorithm


Since 2017, Facebook has been increasingly transparent about significant changes in how it ranks and distributes content. That also means the algorithm is constantly evolving. In general, those updates have favored user input, posts friends and family over publishers, and content personalized to a user’s interests… all geared toward generating more “meaningful interactions.”  These updates include:


  • Meaningful Interactions Update (2018) – This update signaled that the algorithm would predict which posts a user might want to interact with their friends about and show these posts higher in Feed. These posts inspire discussion in the comments and posts that users might want to share and react to. 
  • Updates to Video Rankings (2019) – This update boosted the rankings of video posts that users sought out and returned to, watched for more than one minute at a time, and were original creations and not repurposed content. 
  • Addressing Sensational Health Claims (2019) – This update applied some of the existing “clickbait” rules specifically to posts making medical or health claims in an effort to reduce misinformation. Exaggerated or sensational claims were deprioritized, as were posts promoting products that advertised “miracle” cures.


The past three years have seen additional updates, and since they’re more recent, they deserve closer examination.


2020: Key takeaway from 2020


In 2020, Facebook modified its algorithm again to give more weight to original, credible news sources and create more personalized advertising encounters for users based on their interactions. Additional updates this year included changes designed to comply with Apple’s iOS 14’s privacy guidelines. 


  • Prioritizing Original Sources: In response to users continually reporting a preference for “news stories that are credible and informative,” Facebook announced that it would make ongoing updates that “prioritize articles in News Feed that we identify as original reporting on a developing story or topic.”
  • Personalized Ads: The Facebook algorithm serves advertisements to a user’s Feed based on the posts and pages they have engaged with previously. Businesses are also given the option to share information about the actions that users take on their websites and apps so they can show the most relevant content in users’ Facebook Feeds. To balance this process of information gathering and sharing, which also lays the foundation for personalized advertising on the platform, Facebook instituted the “Why am I seeing this ad” feature and the “Ad Preferences” dashboard for users (and to address privacy concerns).
  • Retargeting Limitations: Even with expanded personalization, Facebook had to respond to the significant privacy and permissioning guidelines i=within the Apple iOS 14 update released in 2020 (Tinuiti’s Liz Emery takes a more detailed look at this topic here). When Apple users install or update to iOS 14, they will be prompted to opt-in or opt out of data sharing. While Facebook has other variables that can be used to identify devices, such as the associated email address and phone number, targeting that depends on users sharing their data at the device level is restricted based on this update.


2021: Machine Learning and User Control


In 2021, Facebook released new details about how the algorithm governing users’ Feeds works and increased the amount of control users have over what they see. 


  • Favorites: A new tool where users can control and prioritize posts in their Feeds from the friends and Pages they choose. By selecting up to 30 friends and Pages to include in Favorites, their posts will appear higher in ranked and can also be viewed as a separate filter.
  • Revealing the algorithm’s machine learning mechanics: In 2021, Facebook published an in-depth post explaining how the Feed predicts what users want to see. For the first time, it detailed the machine learning processes behind predicting what users see in their Feeds based on various factors, including what and whom they’ve followed, liked, or engaged with recently. These mechanics are largely still in place today.


Source: Facebook


2022: From ML to AI


Last year, the Facebook algorithm evolved further in the direction of user control and augmented its use of machine learning tools with more sophisticated artificial intelligence systems. These two updates went hand-in-hand. Users were given a new function on each post they saw, the “Show More/Show Less” feature. Selecting “Show More” would increase the ranking score for that post, increasing the likelihood of a similar post or a similar user appearing in the user’s Feed. The inverse would happen when “Show Less” is selected.

These per-post user inputs are simultaneously helping the AI system generalize how relevant future content will be for that user. Or as Facebook puts it, “by offering more ways to incorporate direct feedback into Feed ranking, we’re making our artificial intelligence systems smarter and more responsive.”

Facebook’s AI model generates what the company calls user and content embeddings, which help predict the types of content a person wants to see more of or less of in their Feed. Another Facebook blog post from 2022 explains that a “user embedding captures a person’s tastes, while the content embedding captures the essence of what a post is about.” 

One last update from 2022 – what was once called the Facebook News Feed is now just the “Feed.” That’s how we refer to it throughout this article, except where relevant due to historical discussion.


How the Facebook Algorithm Works in 2023

That’s the state of the Facebook algorithm in 2023 – it has evolved to become an AI-powered, user-centric model designed to present users with relevant, welcome content in their Feeds. Even though Meta will admit that the algorithm isn’t perfect (and may never be), Facebook has demonstrated a willingness to modify its processes to give users what they want.

Despite the Facebook algorithm’s complexity and integration of new technologies like AI and machine learning, understanding its core functionality boils down to four ranking factors.

The Four Ranking Factors Fueling the Facebook Feed Algorithm

Prioritizing what “matters” to users has been one of the most consistent purposes of the Feed and all of its previous iterations. The goal of Facebook’s algorithm is to “show stories that matter to users,” according to Adam Mosseri, VP of Facebook’s News Feed Management. That aim is reflected across the platform’s many updates and tweaks to its algorithm, from more user control to increased personalization on advertisements. 

With that in mind, you should know how Facebook’s different algorithm factors work together to determine which stories “matter” to a user. And Facebook made these factors easy to understand in its published help center post.  

1. Inventory

Inventory represents the stock of all content that can display to a user on Facebook’s News Feed, which fluctuates based on user activity once scrolling has begun. This includes everything posted by friends and publishers.

2. Signals

Signals represent the information that Facebook can gather about a piece of content. Signals are the single factor that you have control over.

These are your inputs that Facebook interprets; type of content, the publisher, its age, purpose, and more.

You want your content to signal to Facebook that it’s meaningful and relevant to your target audience.

3. Predictions

Predictions represent a user’s behavior and how likely they are to engage with a content piece. Will a user watch a video to completion? Will they select the “Show More” feature on the post?

Predictions take authentic engagement like comments, likes, and shares from real profiles into account.

4. Relevancy Score

Relevancy Score is the final number assigned to a piece of content based on the likelihood that the user will respond positively to it. It also accounts for whether a post is “clickbait,” whether it links to a low-quality webpage, or if it’s misinformative in some way.

10 Best Practices for Working with Facebook’s Algorithm

So how can you tailor your content to ensure a high Relevancy Score and a strong enough ranking to appear in your target audience’s Feeds? Most of the following tips will be common sense if you currently produce content for social audiences, but many are specific to the sophisticated Facebook algorithm. 

Here are some guidelines and best practices for keeping your content meaningful in Facebook’s eyes, based on our research, Facebook’s recommendations, and Matt Navara and Paul Armstrong’s coverage of Facebook’s News Feed webinar

1. Keep posts relevant to your audience

Your content should always be relevant to your core audience — the people you want to build a community around. If your content is relevant to a user, the Facebook algorithm is likely to interpret that content as “meaningful,” a key consideration in ranking. 

Stories should be compelling enough for a user to want to share with family and friends. Content should be informative and interesting… and, of course, accurate. 

Products, education and lifestyle imagery, should reinforce your post’s meaningful and informative nature and build on your identity as a brand answering to a specific audience.


2. Engage readers and encourage interaction

Facebook’s News Feed algorithm favors content that fosters positive interactions between your followers and others.

Any piece of content, from products to education to entertainment — should provoke conversation. Remember that conversations can’t be one-sided; you want your audience to respond, but you must also respond to them when possible. 

You want your content to prompt people to stop their scroll, interact, and share. Interaction is a crucial weighting factor for the Facebook algorithm, so all your content should be tailored to maximize engagement.

3. But don’t use clickbait or engagement bait

Remember all those “like if…” and “share if you are…” posts?

This is considered engagement baiting; it doesn’t add value or interaction for users. It may not entirely be clickbait, but the Facebook algorithm will penalize it as though it were. 

Avoid asking people to “please comment, like, and share.” Your content should inspire them to engage without having to ask.

Facebook penalizes brands that encourage comments, likes, and shares on organic and ad posts. Keep this in mind when developing content for Instagram and Facebook.


4. Expand your post reach with employees and brand advocates


Because the Facebook algorithm gives preference to posts from users’ friends, families and the pages they interact with, your company’s Facebook page will have naturally limited reach. This is where enlisting employees and brand advocates can have a real impact. 

Facebook represents your widest audience, but to reach them, you need to engage the audience closest to home. Encouraging your work team to share your brand’s content with their networks broadens the reach of the post or piece of content and your brand. Directly engaging with Facebook users who are already devotees of your brand and asking them to share content with their friends and family can have a similar effect.,

5. Or put ad dollars behind content with organic momentum

The new Facebook algorithm values content that performs well organically, and you can build off that momentum by boosting or promoting that content with ad dollars.

Content that already has strong organic traction means lower CPCs which, combined with ad dollars, can act as a snowball effect for your content.

Identify opportunities for ads based on organic post engagement and tap into Facebook Ads Manager tools by leveraging these posts in ads.

Conversely, don’t waste ad dollars on poor-performing organic content. It will have higher CPCs and cost you more while offering less in return.

“If a post performs well with engagement, likes, and shares, there’s an opportunity to place additional ad dollars to drive that performance even further.”

— Nii Ahene, Chief Strategy Officer at Tinuiti
Portrait of Nii Ahene

6. Create compelling, original video content

2019 was the year that Facebook began leaning into its video offering in earnest, and it hasn’t stopped since. Today, the video formats available on Facebook have expanded to include Reels and Stories (shorter clips), Video on Demand and Live video. Reels, in particular, is Facebook’s fastest-growing content format “by far.” s video continues to be the top-performing content type across all social media networks, focusing on video should be a central part of your Facebook marketing strategy.

For your video content to perform best in the Feed, Facebook recommends that it be original, capture the audience’s attention, spark engagement, and inspire users to seek additional video content from the same source. 

To create original and authentic Reels, Stories and full-length videos, make sure they capture your brand’s voice and avoid duplicating content. To retain attention, ensure your creative and copy is optimized towards mobile viewing (i.e., shortened copy, readable overlays, shortened headlines). And to generate engagement, encourage discussion and genuine interactions (but like always, avoid engagement bait).


7. Inspire audiences and evoke emotion with storytelling


Just as videos should be original, engaging and attention-grabbing, so should any content you post on Facebook. Understand the kinds of stories that resonate with your audience and craft your posts to tell those stories in an exciting way.

You can create connections with your audience through authenticity, interactivity and accuracy. But the surest way is by listening. Ask for feedback. Learn their interests. Take cues from their activity on other platforms. When you know what your audience cares about, you have a better chance of inspiring them… and a better chance of rising to the top of their Feeds.


8. Post authentic and truthful content


Facebook says that “authentic stories are the ones that resonate most” and that users want to see accurate information. After the controversies surrounding “fake news” and the spread of dis- and misinformation on the platform in recent years, the company has made promoting truthful content central to the Facebook algorithm’s function. 

To signal that your content is genuine and accurate, write clear headlines free from exaggeration or sensationalism. Use well-sourced, reliable information, and avoid sharing content from sources you need clarification on. And above all, don’t lie or try to mislead with your content.


9. Schedule content when readers are likely to engage


The Facebook Feed is no longer chronological, but timing can still impact post performance within the algorithm. You want to post content when your audience is likely to engage with it, which is likely in the evening or overnight, but it can vary widely by the user. There is some research exploring the objectively ideal time for posting, but the ultimate best practice is understanding your audience and when they are most likely to be on the platform. 


10. Learn what works by tracking content performance


After you’ve published your content, remember to use Facebook Insights to track the performance of your content. This will help you understand how your different content pieces are performing in terms of engagement, which is the key ranking metric. 

Facebook also offers a variety of tools designed to help you measure both organic content and paid ads. Choose the best tools for your brand, and track performance regularly. Learn from your own Insights data and the tools you use, and optimize your content from there.

Final Takeaway

The Facebook algorithm is sophisticated and constantly evolving. There are few shortcuts and no way to “hack” it. But the steps outlined in this article can help make the algorithm work for you and help you get your content in front of the Facebook users who need to see it.

Want to work with our team of Facebook experts? Reach out today!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Greg Swan in April 2020 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Five questions for our new CMO, Shafqat Islam



Five questions for our new CMO, Shafqat Islam

Alex Atzberger: Now that you’ve stepped into the CMO role, what are you looking forward to?   

Shafqat Islam: It’s amazing to take on this role at both a category creator and leader. How many brands can be a leader in almost every category–think Experimentation and CMS–that we play in?  

And we have so much to look forward to and build on. We have an exceptional team of marketing leaders and practitioners. They are fiercely intelligent, optimistic, and care deeply about what our products can *do* for our customers. Not just for the people who will encounter the marketing, retail, and product experiences that we support, but for the people who build them. As somebody who has both built products and been deeply immersed in marketing, I love the perspective that our team has.  

Alex Atzberger: What makes Optimizely unique?   

Shafqat Islam: First off, we’re category creators in experimentation and content management, both CMS and CMP. Marketers know this, and analysts know it, as something like 7 major analyst reports will tell you.  

Martech is a crowded field, so it’s true that there are a lot of firms whose territory overlaps with some of ours. But show me another company that can handle the entire content lifecycle like we can. Or show me another company that can do both feature flagging and experimentation.  

We also have a legendary legacy in the martech world. Before I joined, I knew that A/B testing and Optimizely were synonymous, and that the company’s roots go all the way back to the origins of the practice. And that’s something that is like common folklore in marketing and technology.  

And more than anything, the 1500 people who work here are world-class. 

Alex Atzberger: Being a CMO talking to other CMOs and marketing leaders is an advantage. You know the customer. But you’ve also built tech products. How does that affect your work now?  

Shafqat Islam: I’ve spent the majority of my adult life building products for marketers. So I’ve been lucky to spend so much time talking to CMOs and marketers in almost every type of company all over the world. As the founder/CEO of Welcome, my approach was to solve marketer challenges by building products. But now as CMO, I get to use the products we build.  

We’re practitioners of all of our own solutions, so in addition to the natural empathy I have for marketers, I am also close to the job’s unique challenges every day. There’s nothing like that to keep you sharp and keep you close to the customer.  

As a product builder, I knew we must always speak to business outcomes. But as CMO, I love that we aren’t just talking about the solutions – we’re living them, too.  

Because I was an entrepreneur for so long, I also bring another unique view – my willingness to take smart risks. I love to try things, even if (especially if?) the results are sometimes surprising. When it comes to experimentation, there are no failures, only learnings. 

Alex Atzberger: What are the biggest challenges you’re hearing from our customers, current and future?  

Shafqat Islam: Growth, especially given how tough it is out there for so many industries. The stakes are very high when it comes to creating experiences that will win and retain customers. That’s what all of our customers–especially the retail heavyweights-are thinking about.  

And marketing and technology leaders need to do this with leaner budgets. Efficiency matters a lot right now, and that means not only reducing the costs you can see, like the price tag attached to software, but also the costs you can’t see right away, like how much time and money it takes to manage a set of solutions. With that said, in tough times, I think the strongest brands can not just survive but also thrive. I also think when others are fearful, that may be the time to invest aggressively. 

And in the background of all this, there is still the ever-expanding list of customer touchpoints. This is simultaneously an exciting challenge for marketers and an exciting opportunity. More data means more effective storytelling– if you can use it right.

I also hear marketers when they say there’s a need for a shared space for collaboration among us. The role of the marketer is expansive, and it’s only getting more complicated. Building a community where we can come together and appreciate our shared goals is difficult, but I’m optimistic that we’re moving in the right direction.  

Alex Atzberger: What is next in our space? What will marketing and technology leaders be talking about six months from now?  

Shafqat Islam: Looking around now, it’s clear that 2023 will be the year that AI-generated content goes mainstream. We’re just starting to see the uses and the consequences of this. There’s already buzz about ChatGPT and its capabilities, and platforms are already making space to integrate AI functionality into their offerings. It could be an exciting way for users to become better equipped to create and share high-quality content.  

Customers also have gotten very used to personalization. Every screen they see daily is personalized, whether it’s their Netflix account or social feeds. So, when I see a site that isn’t personalized, I kind of scratch my head and wonder, why? With personalization now the norm, expectations for digital creators are sky-high.

Read the official press release.

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