Video Personalization 101: Everything You Need to Know About Personalizing Videos

Ever felt that a particular brand/company really “knows you“? From the kind of clothes you prefer to the type of sugar you put in your coffee, brands are increasingly investing in a new kind of marketing which focuses on creating customized content. All of this is thanks to personalization, and this is my attempt to get you kickstarted with video personalization.

For all those who aren’t familiar with this concept, let’s make things a bit simpler. Personalization is the act of increasing an ad/product/service’ relevancy among its users. This is done by using insight-driven data to understand who the customer is and what they want. 

The Ultimate Guide to Video Personalization

At this point, you may be wondering:  

“Why does personalization take the front seat in a customer’s journey with a brand?”

A valid query. 

We’ll give you four compelling reasons. So, let’s look at these eye-opening statistics:

Video Personalization Statistics

Video Personalization Statistics

1. 78% CMOs today consider “custom content” to be the future of marketing.

2. 81% of customers want brands to get to know them and understand when to approach them.

3. A Report by Salesforce predicts that around 52% of consumers and 65% of business buyers were willing to switch brands if the vendor doesn’t personalize communications.

4. Around 93% of companies witnessed greater conversion rates with website personalization.

If we had to sum up these numbers into one key learning, it would be this:

Personalized marketing boosts customer engagement by leaps and bounds.

And why not? Customer engagement is and always should be the primary benefit of real-time marketing after all, don’t you agree?

Now that you’ve wrapped your head around personalization, let’s look at a specific type of personalized marketing that brands often engage in – Video Personalization.

But first things first, what do we mean by video personalization and more importantly, what makes it different from personalization? 

Personalization vs Video Personalization

Personalization vs Video Personalization

Here’s a comparative table to get the ball rolling:

Personalization           Video Personalization          
It is a means of meeting the customer’s needs. This is done by understanding their requirements through data, inputs, feedback, etc. This information is then used to offer tailored products/services.It is a type of personalized marketing that offers dynamic, interactive, and customized videos. It focuses on features such as speed, interactiveness, and convenience.
End-game: To increase customer satisfaction and boost brand loyalty. The end-goal is more long-term in nature.End-game: To boost customer engagement and establish a “human connection.” The end-goal is more short term in nature. 
Experience-based: It involves tailoring an “experience” based on the customer’s past behavior, to offer a positive & memorable experience. From a brand’s P.O.V, it is more strategic (business and financial) in approach and involves data-driven story-telling.Marketing-based: It involves making specific changes to a marketing tool/collateral to cater to the customer’s wants/needs. From a brand’s P.O.V, it is more creative in approach and involves an entertaining story-telling.
Example: A brand introduces wire-free earphones to enable a hassle-free listening experience for the customers.Example: A brand develops a series of marketing campaigns informing users about a wire-free earphone, outlining its various benefits for the user.
Personalization ensures that customers come at your brand’s doorstep, especially first-time users.Video personalization ensures that customers (existing and new) keep coming back to your brand’s offering due to greater trust and engagement.

Now that we have greater clarity on these two emerging concepts, it’s time to understand what kind of factors affect personalized video marketing.

Here’s a handy infographic to get you started:

Infographic on factors that affect Personalization
Infographic on factors that affect Personalization

Now, I will list diverse use cases that industries across the spectrum utilize to advance their customer’s goals and align them with their brand’s offerings. This makes sense, as irrelevant messages not only ensure that people tune out to your brand, but they also lead the customer to think less of the brand for not understanding their needs. 

Use-cases of Video Personalization

1. Real Estate

It’s no secret that co-working spaces and the sharing of the economy are rapidly gaining momentum, more so among millennials than others. In such a scenario, the marketers are left grappling with an unsolvable paradox: 

Providing super-personalized experiences, while ensuring that the millennials belong to a “collective” of sorts. 

Imagine using “personalized” and “collective” in one sentence. Doesn’t seem to make sense right? The following examples will make things crystal-clear:

Example 1: New York Times Showcasing Jackson Heights

What makes this video unique: In a series of firsts, this video highlights the everyday life around Jackson Heights in the neighborhood, “Queens” as seen through the eyes of the residents, the builders, the on-lookers, etc. 

Not only that. It beautifully showcases the neighborhood’s culture, ethnicity, architecture, transit options, etc., among other things. Perhaps, the best part is that it connects human emotions to an inanimate object and makes the viewer feel a broad spectrum of positive feelings: from a sense of belonging and happiness to a sense of achievement and satisfaction.

They rightly claim: “In Jackson Heights, you experience the world in a matter of a few blocks.” 

Learnings for the marketer: All in all, powerful content, foot-tapping music, real-life images, and smiling faces sure makes a recipe for video success!

Example 2: “Make It Memorable” with Brian Lewis

What makes this video unique: This video ingeniously integrates a real-life situation to sell the place! The listing agent, Brian Lewis, receives a call from his ex-girlfriend and he showcases the apartment’s features. Mind you, by not stating it but demonstrating it. He walks around the apartment throughout the conversation, and in the process, the viewer gets gorgeous panoramic views of the place in all its glory – from the walk-in closet and the kitchen to the living room and the bedroom, you can see it all.

The magic lies in creating a special and descriptive memory for the viewer by including the element of an “ex-girlfriend.” What this does is that it ensures the viewers literally walk into the protagonist’s shoes and see themselves in his place, feeling everything the agent feels along the way. 

Learnings for the marketer: It is creative, entertaining, engaging, and above all, extremely relevant. As someone claims in the comments, it’s film-making and real estate at its best! And we agree 100%!

Example 3: “Our Story” by the Boutique Real Estate Group

What makes this video unique: While showcasing various real estate projects is great, real estate brands, sometimes, should talk about the brand itself. This is exactly what the Boutique Real Estate Group achieves and brilliantly so. They take the on-looker on the brand’s journey by providing glimpses of:

  • What the brand stands for?
  • What does it selling history look like?
  • What are its origins?
  • What drives the brand’s ethos forward?
  • What certifications/qualifications make the brand credible?

These are just some key areas you can cover in the video. Whatever you do, try to make it crisp, interesting, and filled with insight-driven personal and professional information, which will actually benefit the viewer. 

Learnings for the marketer: Marketers can simply take content from the website and create a conversational script. Two birds, one stone, infinite benefits – get the drift?

The result: Studies suggest that real estate listings with videos receive 403% more inquiries than those without video! Need we say more?

2. Technology SaaS

If you think SaaS companies are only reinventing the software services wheel, think again. We all know how technical and complex SaaS products/services can get for the average Joe. In such a case, the use of videos for powerful and simplistic story-telling becomes more of a need than an option.

Here are three interesting use cases where SaaS companies effectively showcase their technical prowess in an engaging, educational, and entertaining manner:

Example 1: GT Nexus SaaS Content Marketing

What makes this video unique: It’s not every day that you see a brand investing in making videos that focus on core concepts such as supply chain logistics. This is exactly what this cloud-based technology platform – GT Nexus – aims to do through the video example mentioned above. It simplifies the intricacies of supply chain logistics while introducing the on-looker to its collaborative ecosystem of manufacturers, retailers, logistics service providers, carriers, suppliers, and banks.

Learnings for the marketer: Before a customer can actively engage with a company, they need to first understand what it does and get a clear idea of “what’s in it for them?”. This is the central philosophy every SaaS company should strive for across marketing collaterals – especially for personalized videos.

Example 2: Adeptia Connect SaaS Content Marketing

What makes this video unique: Ever heard of a tech company that actively informs its users about how they don’t need to know any technical knowledge before engaging with the brand’s services? That’s Adeptia for you. Adeptia is a full-featured enterprise that provides a web application to business users, customers, and partners. It empowers them to see, manage, and set up critical data connections with each other as seamlessly as possible. This video immediately puts the viewer at ease by addressing their foremost concern: The inability to understand “all things technical.”

Learnings for the marketer: This kind of personalized video is instructional yet simple. It covers a complex topic in a simplistic manner. It is personal in approach yet professional in strategy. And most importantly, it follows a fool-proof content flow, starting with: showcasing key pain points organizations and customers face today, and how Adeptia can effectively address it by way of its innovative features. 

Example 3: execYOUtion SaaS Content Marketing

What makes this video unique: In terms of the core idea, this video illustrates execYOUtion’s business conversational platform that helps to deliver result-driven outcomes in an interactive and fun manner. From the get-go, the on-looker is hooked. Mainly because the video uses hand-drawn caricatures (a refreshing change) and begins by showcasing an interesting quote by HP founder, along with relevant statistics. It gets the viewer engaged and keeps him waiting for the rest of the video to unfold. 

Learnings for the marketer: execYOUtion demonstrates the power of creative story-telling with great ease and informs customers about its free consulting services in a non-authoritative manner. Another thing to note is that despite having a target audience comprising of CEOs, COOs, Directors, SVP’s, it does not shy away from being informal and casual. A bold step if you ask us.

The result: Personalized videos have emerged as a competitive edge for virtually-driven SaaS companies and allows them to build a human connection with the user – that too, at a click of a button!

You know what this means right? That with personalized videos, retaining customers becomes a breeze. Don’t believe us? As per research, a 2% increase in user retention has the same effect as cutting costs by 10%, while reducing your churn by 5% can result in profit increase by 25-125%!

3. Marketing Agencies

You’d think that marketing agencies would be exempt from creating personalized videos; maybe due to the sheer nature of their work. After all, for them, their portfolio is GOLD, and thus, they convince customers of their capabilities more than anything else. Not necessarily so. 

With everyone getting on the video personalization bandwagon, these agencies too, are looking at innovative ways to reach the user and create a loyal and dedicated space in the customer’s mind. Let’s look at some examples to understand this better: 

Example 1: Bluleadz “Humanizing Prospect” Videos

What makes this video unique: This video effectively allows users to visualize the “value” the marketing company, Blueleadz offers them. It also uses humor as a weapon and gets the team to do all the talking for the offering. Customers basically get a “behind-the-scenes” look, and thus feel more connected to the brand. The numbers say it all: The videos were loved by the prospect users. Data by Bluleadz found that “Prospects who received the video prior to a purchase decision closed at a rate of 63%, compared to 46% for those who didn’t get the video.” Oh, and who can ignore the use of jazz music, playing throughout? You have to agree that it did extend a “classy” touch to the video, right?

Learnings for the marketer: If as a marketing agency, you wish to establish a more humane, special, and personal connection with your prospect users, personalized videos should be the way to go. Get the creative juices flowing and showcase your USPs as interestingly as possible.

Example 2: Sensis Case Study Video

What makes this video unique: Sensis, one of Australia’s top marketing companies, engages and promotes small businesses among relevant customers. Plus, it offers search engine marketing and optimization services. This video highlights “Dash,” (the mouse) which is an integral part of the brand logo and a “metaphor for small businesses.” Through the eyes of Dash, we see the major challenges small and medium-sized businesses face and how they can benefit from using Sensis’ services. 

Learnings for the marketer: It is crisp, engaging, and informative. Above all, it reinforces the brand’s image by using the mascot as effectively as possible. Therefore, taking the brand mascot route (if you have one) definitely works wonders for the brand.

Example 3: Influitive’s “Advocamp”

What makes this video unique: Influitive is an Advocate Marketing Software leader which hosts an annual customer experience, engagement, and advocacy conference, “Advocamp.” With the aim of tripling the footfall for the conference, it developed a series of personalized videos featuring Buck, a wacky camp counselor character. That’s not all. It went all out and featured a viewer’s name on merit badge sashes. How did this help? Basically, it showcased all the fun the attendees would have at the exclusive summer camp for marketers, and thus encouraged them to be a part of it.

Learnings for the marketer: Combining humor and personalization can work really well together as long as the video makes sense. It is personal yet professional in approach and definitely makes the audience feel super-special.

The result: For previous promotions, Influitive experienced a 16.1% open rate, 0.7% click-through rate, and 4.5% click-to-open rate. After the personalized video campaign, those numbers skyrocketed to a 29% open rate, a 5.5% click-through rate, and 18.7% click-to-open rate.

4. Web Development Agencies

There’s something about moving images on a website’s backdrop. For one, they immediately reel the reader in, and two, they bring about aesthetic characteristics that static photos simply cannot replicate. To that end, here are some websites that effectively use personalized videos to up their digital game:

Example 1: Premise Health’s Website

What makes this video unique: By using visuals of people running, talking to the doctor, and doing yoga, this healthcare provider immediately grabs the user’s attention. It effectively demonstrates to the user how Premise Health can help bring about a sense of wellness and health to their life. You cannot deny that this works better than a 10-line paragraph with the heading “About Us.”

Learnings for the marketer: Irrespective of the sector, businesses should look at making their platform, in this the website, as interesting and human as possible. Without doubt, videos immediately connect users to the offering and make them feel more interested in the brand.

Example 2: Grain & Mortar’s Website

What makes this video unique: This design agency website demonstrates that you don’t always need a full-page-in-your-face video to get the user’s to listen to you. A quarter or even half-page video that is well executed and well designed does the job neatly. In terms of the video content, they provide a sneak peek into the daily operations with the team members sitting and strategizing and working hard to get the users what they want. All in all, a simple yet effective strategy.

Learnings for the marketer: There’s already a lot of clutter that users deal with day-in and day-out. In such cases, minimal yet personal videos work like a charm and provide the user with some much-needed breathing space.

Example 3: Fit Radio’s Website

What makes this video unique: This music app for workouts has a brilliant website. The personalized video in the background tells potential users how they can enjoy their workouts even more with the help of this music app. It is relatable and gets the customer excited about the product right away, to say the least.

Learnings for the marketer: Marketers should always focus on demonstrating value for the users by using personalized videos. By integrating happy faces using the product/service, half the audience-engagement battle is won.

The result: As per research by FoodBloggerPro, switching to a video background on a homepage leads to a staggering 138% improvement in conversions!

5. App Development Agencies

The era of video-streaming apps is upon us. Some have even called Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hotstar, etc. the “new multiplexes”. Come to think of it, it seems truer than ever. Smart television and the increased data usage are the two factors that are driving this phenomenon. And more and more people are unconsciously getting used to these platforms thanks to the increased convenience, ease-of-use, and customized content available at our fingertips. So let’s see how the top 3 apps are revolutionizing the viewer experience for users across the globe:

Example 1: CleverTap and SonyLIV

What makes this campaign unique: SonyLIV approached one of the leading mobile marketing platforms, CleverTap, with one objective only: To enhance user experience with video push notifications.

They were able to achieve this by using CleverTap’s industry-first “Psychographic Segmentation” feature. How did it help? One, it allowed users to view video previews in push notifications. Two, it provided deep linking services which helped to direct users to the appropriate content. Three, the SonyLIV app effectively matched videos on the platform with each user’s preferences. Thus, enabling users to view contextual and relevant videos. As a result, it culminated into a seamless video viewing experience. The results were impressive: 3x higher click-through rates (CTR), increased session durations, and higher than average view times.

“With millions of active subscribers on the SonyLIV platform, personalization can be tricky. We partnered with CleverTap to make sense of our user data. Now we can target our users with the right messages at the right time.”

Abhishek Joshi

Learnings for the marketer: Collaborating with new-age technology to advance your offerings can act as the biggest boon for your organization. In this case, the use of personalized push notifications campaigns worked in the app’s favor. Plus, a number of user parameters such as preferred content types and genres, content consumption history, app usage patterns, content followed, etc. acted as vital pieces of information. In today’s age, data is the new oil, so leverage it wisely. 

Example 2: Netflix & Chill

Netflix’ recommendation section is the stuff of “personalization legends.” With over 139 million subscriptions globally, it is truly the master of original and relevant content. There are a number of reasons why Netflix has emerged as a global phenomenon:

  1. It allows users to feel that their account is truly tailored to their preferences.
  2. The timing and or place of content suggestions is always on-point.
  3. Its perfectly segmented and incredibly useful categories such as “Because you watched,” “Continue watching,” and “Watch it again” truly completes the entertainment viewing experience.

Learnings for the marketer: Nextflix teaches us to optimize user recommendations to the extent possible. It consistently innovates to introduce the audience to new and fresh content. It achieves all this and more by considering the platform in its entirety and looking at various touch-points to engage with the user in a more personal and customized manner. 

Example 3: All Hail Tinder’s “New Match” Feature

What makes this feature unique: If there’s one dating app that’s always thinking on its feet,  it’s Tinder. Sure, since dealing with people and human emotions is its daily bread and butter, it will be customized. However, Tinder takes personalization ten steps further by introducing segmented content such as “New match for you,” “Super Likeable (which uses AI to figure out who you’re likely to Super Like),” “Choosing up to three sexual orientations,” “Smart Profiles” highlighting information users have in common, among other user-friendly features. 

Learnings for the marketers: While Tinder faced a lot of flak for “killing romance out of dates,” the app has been consistently rolling out new user-friendly features that are turning the nay-sayers to yay-sayers! There’s no limit to how you can improve the user experience in your app, so never stop trying. Every feature, after all, leads to a comprehensive and perfect viewing experience!

The result: In 2020, the number of digital video viewers in the United States will surpass 236 million. That’s not all.  Netflix’s 2017 revenue amounted to almost 11.7 billion U.S. dollars, whereas Hotstar claims to have amassed 300 million active users, up from 150 million last year. The growth for video app consumption is truly staggering and moving at light speed.

6. E-Commerce 

Personalized Video for Ecommerce

E-commerce and videos are a match made in digital heaven. Research by Brightcove suggests that 74% of consumers claim there is a connection between watching a video on social media and their purchasing decision-making process. That’s not all. It also states that “Around 81% of consumers currently interact with brands on social media and two fifths (43%) have done so through the watching of a branded video.” 

So, it goes without saying that brands need to start investing in creating a personalized video marketing experience if they wish to stay ahead of the competition. Here are three use cases that demonstrate how e-commerce brands are using personalized videos to their advantage:

Example 1: Product Video of Tiffany Legacy Diamond Engagement Ring

What makes this video unique: This one seems like an obvious suggestion, but the number of e-commerce brands that actually spend on product videos is few and far in between. This video by Tiffany is personalized in the sense that it gives the viewer a 360 degree as well as a close-up view of the product. In fact, around 80% of users claim that product videos boosted their confidence when purchasing a product online.

Learnings for the marketer: Many brands never try doing product videos and see it as an “unnecessary cost.” While users may not immediately buy the product right away, the brand will certainly invoke top-of-the-mind recall. Why? Because product images and provoking narration always cements a long-lasting, positive effect on the user.

Example 2: “Your Year with Nike+”

What makes this video unique: This personalized video by Nike tells a compelling brand story from the user’s perspective. It also thanks users for being a part of Nike’s growth journey by sharing individual stories of fitness goals achieved by the customers. That’s not all. Nike went an extra mile and created a mammoth 100,000 personalized animated videos. How did they manage this incredible feat? By ingeniously extracting user data from their fitness app. 

Learnings for the marketer: Sometimes making that extra effort pays off handsomely – quite literally in this case! It also educates marketers to use user data from multiple channels and integrate it into a customized video campaign that moves users both physically (as in the case of Nike) and emotionally!

Example 3: Cadbury’s “Glow”

What makes this video unique: We all know that brands today use videos to promote products, but Cadbury does so in a more personalized style. For instance, in this video, it uses information (think: age, location, interests, etc.) from a user’s Facebook profile (after getting required permissions of course), and attempts to match a flavor of their flagship candy, “Dairy Milk” to the user.

Learnings for the marketer: Not surprisingly, this campaign resulted in a click-through rate of 65% and a conversation rate of 33.6%. Impressive, right? Brands should not fear to go into the personal route. However, that being said, care must be taken to not invade the user’s privacy under any circumstances.

The result: A study by Email Monks predicts that personalized video results in 280% higher returns than standard, traditional emails.

7. Automobile

Personalized Video for Automobile

Automobile companies seldom think beyond the TV platform when it comes to engaging with the users. However, in today’s “Digital Age,” this can prove to be fatal. By creating engaging and personalized videos, they can keep the customer’s engaged throughout the purchase funnel. Additionally, it is important to note that concepts such as “First drive” videos along with the riders review of the car can help users understand the car better than say, seeing an ad on a newspaper perhaps. Add to the mix, the use of appropriate visuals, music, and motion, and you’ve got yourself a clear winner!

Example 1: Ford Mustang’s “Speed Dating”

What makes this video unique: Rolled out on Valentine’s Day, Ford engaged in a prank video. They used women stunt drivers to address the cliche that women can’t drive. In the beginning, the stunt driver pretends to drive horribly. But as the video progresses, she is seen shifting gears (literally in this case) and is seen demonstrating her driving skills, full with 360 degree turns and what not!  

Learnings for the marketer: This fun-yet-message-driven video with a “twist” resulted in 12.8 million views on YouTube! Instead of simply showcasing a particular model that’s to be launched, automobile companies can engage in efforts such as this and cover a diverse range of societal topics as it drives user engagement (pun not intended) with the brand and leaves their hearts racing!

Example 2: CarMax – “Caring Tree”

What makes this video unique: For all those who don’t know, CarMax is United States’ largest used-car retailer and a Fortune 500 company. It rolled out a unique marketing campaign to create awareness about opening two new stores in Boston and Massachusetts. This video highlights the issues locals face, particularly during the holiday season. CarMax, in partnership with “Cradles to Crayons” set up an interactive tree display. Yes, you read that right. What it basically did was allow users to use iPads to select a gift for a child in need. Ingenious, right?

Learnings for the marketer: This effort generated 7.9 million impressions, 425 engagements, and 683K video views. Sometimes, simply going local can be more effective than going global or even glocal. Also, brands need to think-outside-the-box and partner with completely unrelated organizations to boost brand awareness and also make a difference in the community at large. Once they gained the benefit of word-of-mouth publicity, informing people about the stores was easy. Why? Because whenever they spoke, everyone was all ears.

Example 3: Ford Case Study Video

What makes this video unique: Ford initiated a national campaign, the “Ford EcoBoost Challenge” to encourage test drives among people for which they would even get 500$ in return. The challenges were aplenty. However, the brand made use of PinPoint Social Technology on Facebook to get authentic results, and the campaign was a huge success.

Learnings for the marketer: Marketers will often find themselves facing situations where understanding the effectiveness of a video-centric social campaign can become difficult. To them, we say, leverage social media platforms and the innovative technology it offers to tackle those challenges and forge ahead.

The result: Around 40% auto-shoppers claim that online videos for doing their research helped them discover vehicles they wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

Takeaways

By now, you must have understood that when it comes to Video Personalization, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that brands can adopt today. 

After all, your audience may be in the millions, but you are still speaking to one customer at a time. This is probably why brands are no longer differentiating their products/service solely based on price.

More intangible, but, equally important elements such as interactivity, speed, and convenience are taking center stage:

Interactivity by way of hyper-relevant and personal content.

Speed by way of right-moment, click-of-the-button platforms.

Convenience by way of choosing the right channel and appropriate timing to reach out to the customers.

You can’t help, but you see a pattern emerging, right? As discussed above, all three factors collectively contribute to a stellar personalized video experience for the user and the brand as well. 

So my advice to you is simple: When you find yourself thinking of how to create a great personalized video for your brand, be personal. After all, if pictures say a 1000 words, videos narrate entire novels!

So, now that you’re armed with all the necessary information, are you excited enough to ready, set, and record? Rocketium is a good place to get started with personalized videos.

Pulkit Jain

Pulkit Jain

Engineer • Marketer • Tech Geek • Movie & Comic book nerd • Avid reader • Gaming Addict • Football fanatic #GGMU

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