Sendspark Blog > Personalized Video: Everything You Need To Know

Personalized Video: Everything You Need To Know

It’s 2022! And no doubt you’ve already read that video and personalization are **the** trends to watch in marketing, sales, and comms - right?

And if each one is superpowered on its own, when we start talking about personalization in video…well, we must be talking Infinity Stone-level stuff here!

Personalized videos! Yeeeesss!

“Personalized videos! Yeeeeeeeeesssss!” Source: Tenor.com

It makes perfect sense: people love videos. And people love being treated as individuals. 

But video personalization can be a two-edged sword. Get it right, and it’s happy days. But get it wrong, and it can be as clunky as hell or even creepy.

In this blog, we’re going to tell why and when you to be using personalization in video; what you need to avoid; and what you need to do to make awesome personalized videos. 

Why Use Personalized Video?

There is a huge body of evidence showing that personalization in sales and marketing delivers better results than generic messaging:

Personalized call-to-action chart

Source: Hubspot.com

And the stats about the effectiveness of video speak for themselves:

Finally, while personalized video is newer than either technique on its own, there is still a lot of data showing how it combines the benefits of both:

So…pretty convincing, huh? 

No doubt you’re now champing at the bit to get started with video personalization. 

But wait!

There are a few different ways to go about personalizing your video content, and each has its pros and cons. It’s important to understand those before you decide how you’re going to proceed. 

3 Types of Personalization in Video

Personalization is the next step onwards from segmentation. Rather than treating individual leads as members of a group or instances of a persona - even really tightly targeted ones - personalization aims to treat them as unique individuals. 

Source: tenor.com

Tailored content can be targeted at groups based on shared interests. Personalized content should be too - but it also needs to appeal directly to each individual. 

What makes people unique? 

Fortunately, we don’t have to solve that particular conundrum at the philosophical level. From the point of view of sales and marketing, it’s individual data regarding job titles, employers, locations, etc - and above all, names. 

But how to get that data into your videos? 

Essentially, there are three ways.

#1 Templated personalized video automation

There are lots of services in 2022 that will generate videos for that you allow you to insert leads’ names and other details into the visuals or audio. 

This video from Barclays Bank, for example, has the presenter appear to say the lead’s name as well as featuring it in written form throughout the film. 

The theory is one most people will be familiar with from email automation. Certain “fields” in the template video are filled with personal data from a list of details held by the business producing the video. 

This is pretty impressive when you see one, but the complexity of incorporating large amounts of personal data - as opposed to just repeating #Firstname over and over again 😉 - makes it hard to create template videos of this sort that get much further than the surprise factor.

In particular, it’s very difficult - perhaps impossible - to template responsiveness to previous engagements with a lead (except in very basic ways). 

They can also lack authenticity. Most of us know this hasn’t been created “just for you” but by technology. 

For that reason, automated personalized videos tend to be best used for raising awareness, as a kind of clever advertising. They are primarily Top of the Funnel tools. 

#2 Manually-produced template videos using personalization

It’s expensive and technically challenging to produce template videos of the sort outlined above. 

An alternative way of producing something like this would be to have a live presenter reading a fixed script over and over again, changing the names and other unique data. 

The advantages over automated template videos are:

  • Less technical expertise required
  • Probably simpler and cheaper to produce
  • A live presenter provides more authenticity and direct emotional rapport 

The downsides are:

  • Mass production means you’ll still be limited in the number and complexity of variables you can use
  • This approach restricts you to the “talking head” format, which is only really engaging when it forms part of a genuine conversation

Again, this option is, therefore, best for TOFU content. 

#3 Individually-produced personalized video

This one is pretty self-explanatory. We’re talking genuine, bespoke videos here. 

But surely this is more expensive and time-consuming per video than either of the other types?

It depends:

  • On how many videos you’re looking to produce, and 
  • On how much tailoring per video you need

If you need personalized videos in bulk with minimal tailoring, then templated videos will probably be more efficient. As we’ve said, they’re ideal for TOFU content. 

Automated templates also let you experiment with format - animations, on-location shoots, hybrid forms, etc. 

But if you need to tailor the content - to reflect previous conversations, to address specific points, to deal with a lead’s individual situation - then there’s no substitute for making a bespoke video of this sort. 

That is, when you’re producing Mid and Bottom of Funnel content, this is the sort of personalized video you need. 

Thankfully, the technology for producing bespoke personalized videos has made this really accessible, really easy to do, and very affordable. 

Sendspark, for example, allows you to create videos of this sort - with no time restrictions - for free, simply by installing a Chrome extension. Install it and give it a try yourself now!

3 Things to Avoid in Video Personalization

#1 Don’t be creepy

Showing how much you know about a prospect is not always a good thing! If the level of personalization you cram into your videos is too much, it can make people very uncomfortable about how much data you have on them. 

Creepy personalized video

Avoid this! Source: tenor.com

It’s never been easier for web users to withdraw their consent for you to contact them, so until you know somebody well for real - not just from their data - keep your personalization subtle. 

#2 Don’t overdo it

“Hi, John! John, do you know this feeling? When somebody keeps using your name over and over again, John? How does that make you feel, John? John…? Are you still there John…?”

It’s a pleasant surprise once or twice. But repeat a personalized line too many times and it quickly becomes irritating, rings false, and can undo the benefit of personalizing in the first place. 

#3 Don’t skimp on automated templates

If you’re going down the automated template personalized video route, be prepared to spend serious money. 

Vidyard, for example, offers this service from a starting price of $5,000. Of course, there are cheaper options, but you need to balance cost against quality. Badly-made personalized videos can look very clunky indeed. 

3 Best Practices for Personalized Video

#1 Think beyond “Hi #Firstname”

This video from BlueBiz keeps appearing in lists of the best personalized videos. 

 

There’s nothing wrong with it - but look at when it was published! October 2013…👴!

In 2022, people will have seen their names in sales and marketing videos plenty of times. It doesn’t have the impact it once had. Avoid creepiness - but be creative!

#2 Pay attention to the whole experience

A great video that nobody watches or that doesn’t lead people to action is a waste of effort. 

To get viewers to watch your videos, ensure that the personalization is obvious from the preview image. Sendspark gives you three ways to do this: 

  • by generating animated GIF previews which play automatically in emails
  • by enabling you to superimpose a lead’s company logo on the preview
  • by allowing you to put a caption onto the GIF where you can write a personal message

Personalized Video example GIF

Create animated GIF video previews with Sendspark

Plus, Sendspark enables you to close the loop - measuring the effectiveness of your videos and driving the next actions:

  • By hosting your videos on landing pages that you customize yourself, you can not only control the viewer’s overall experience (not something you can do on YouTube, for example, where other companies’ adverts will play in the pre-roll) but also track opens and views
  • By including tailored calls to action on those landing pages right below the video - maximizing the chances of a viewer progressing along the customer journey

Personalized video landing page example

Tailor the entire experience through to CTA

#3 Create empathy and connection

Why are face-to-face meetings so effective?

Because so much of communication is non-verbal. It’s conveyed by facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language as much as by the content of what you say. 

So as tempting as it may be to personalize an animated video, there is kind of no substitute for somebody friendly speaking directly to the audience through the screen. 

Unless it’s delivered with empathy, personalization can seem over-familiar and contrived. 

So make sure your presenter is smiling, making eye contact, and moving their hands around (waving in the GIF preview, for example!) to emphasize what they are saying. Studies have continually shown that these factors all increase trust

Personalized videos create empathy

Video’s power to convince comes from creating empathy

Conclusion

Back in 2019, McKinsey claimed that within five years, personalization would be the main driver of marketing success. 

In 2020, Cisco predicted that 82% of all internet traffic would be video by 2022. 

If all the stats we hit you with earlier in this blog didn’t convince you about personalized video, then surely those two will. 

It’s the future, people! And you’ve got a chance to get ahead of the competition by embracing video personalization while it’s still relatively new and rare. 

Sign up with Sendspark today, for free, and start creating beautiful, tailored videos within minutes!

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