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Should you be personalising your videos?

In many forms of marketing, personalisation is standard practice. The contents of emails, direct mail letters, SMS messages, and websites all potentially use first names, email addresses, or other demographics. You can create one content piece, and then automatically switch out the personal bits. But that’s not really possible (actually not practical) with video is it?

While it’s technically possible to dub individual names at a certain point in a video, I imagine that would be a lot of work for very little return. So what exactly does it mean to personalise your video marketing? There are probably as many definitions as there are marketers.

What data can be used?

There’s an excessive amount of data bounding around the Internet. The tricky part is putting it all together in a way that makes sense for each individual. Researchscape conducted a study for Evergage (a company specialising in personalisation) to figure out what sort of data marketers were actually using. It turns out most marketers are still only using “basic” data like name, email, and some demographics. More advanced data types, like psychographics, family details, or even purchase information were used much less often.

persomalising videosThe survey looked at 19 specific types of data. Beyond what I already mentioned, there were things like lifestyle details, owned account information, location related data, IP address, social profiles, and a few more. The data types are a bit scattered. Some are technical, like IP addresses. Others are very specific to individuals like account information or social profiles. So the difficulty comes in putting these sources together from the various parts of the network or company processes (is the account information stored in the same place the IP is recorded for example).

But the idea is you can use whatever information you have on your customers. And the more you can integrate them the better. A study by Signal revealed 36% of senior-level marketers in North America saw a “strong positive effect” after integrating their data. Another 47% said it had a “somewhat positive effect”. If you’re able to put some or all of the data together, your marketing value will most likely increase.

Personalising for video

Now, back to how you can make this work for video marketing.

You’re not likely to create video content for just one individual. That just isn’t practical. But you can create content that specifically applies to someone (or a group of someones actually) if you know enough about them. For example, you may know that a customer has young children (based on their profile or purchasing data). You could email them links to your standard marketing video, or you could send them to a video focused on children or your children’s products. You can personalize the links in the email marketing, SMS, or social marketing to take people with children to the videos they will be most interested in.

Or you may have a product that appeals to many demographics. Let’s use camping gear as an example. You know you have a group of customers that are young single males (based on their social profiles) who like to go extreme adventuring. You also have customers with young families that like to go camping for their family holiday. It’s possible to create a single video that might appeal to both groups. But if you create one for each group you’re likely to get much better results. At least I imagine a young family of four would be interested in seeing something with other families having fun at a campfire in front of a large tent. However, a video with a few young men roughing it through difficult terrain then jumping off cliffs before settling down in your latest single person tent might scream “That’s not for my family!” Conversely those young men would probably get very excited watching the men jumping off cliffs and bored watching family campfires.

Those might seem like silly or obvious examples, but the content of the video is what makes it personal to the various viewers. And you won’t know what the content should be unless you look deeper into their personal data.

Truly personalised video

So there are actually some marketing platforms that will take specific information, like trip data, and create a one-off video personalised for just one person. It’s extremely complicated technology to make it work, and as of now it only includes static images put together to make a video (imagine screenshots of ticket information, destination arrival times, etc.). I only mention this because this type of thing does exist, but only applies to very specific cases. And it isn’t cheap.

That means most companies choosing to use personalised data to create videos most likely will be creating more videos that will appeal to various groups of customers. The Researchscape study indicated that 49% of marketers are increasing their spending on personalisation efforts. Creating more content is certainly a part of that increase because the more you know, the more you can do with the data.

Creating personalised video isn’t exactly the same as personalising other marketing.  But video is one of the most effective forms of marketing and the more relevant you can make the content – the more personal it feels – the greater return you’ll see.

Oliver Burt

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