Repurpose video content. Create 1:1 interaction. Make videos that work for marketing, CX and more. Because your customer’s name is just the beginning.
If you want to connect with your customers, you have to cut through the digital noise. Video — especially when personalized for the viewer — does exactly that.
But what does personalization mean when it comes to video? How do you repurpose video assets to target customers individually? And most importantly, does it work?
With examples from real campaigns and practical tips for implementation, we’ll show you how to create compelling video content for a better CX, driving engagement and conversions.
First, let’s take a look at the industry landscape.
Table of Contents
Why Video Leads Digital Content
The New Consumer Demand: Personal Attention
Making Video Better
9 Ways to Personalize Videos
Dynamic Scene Selection
Why Video Leads Digital Content
- Faster: A study by MIT found we can process images seen for a mere 13 milliseconds.
- Longer: People retain 95% of what they see in a video versus 10% of what they read.
- Better: Video makes up the majority of internet traffic, predicted to hit 80% in 2022.
That’s not surprising if you consider that a written language has only been around for 3,500 years or so. Even learning to read only became commonplace within the past century, and it’s already going out of style …
So in some ways, the success of TikTok, with its 2 billion downloads, and YouTube, with 1 billion hours watched daily, is less about cute animals or trending hashtags and more about neuroscience.
Fun Fact: Happiness is the most common emotion people report when watching video ads.
For brands, communicating through video is effective. Video has been shown to boost engagement, including time on page and social shares, as well as drive conversions and ROI.
- People spend on average 2.6x more time on webpages with video than without.
- Including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 86%.
- Videos generate 12x more social media shares than text and images combined.
- Videos attract 300% more traffic than other types of content.
- 88% of marketers who use video say it gives them positive ROI.
In short, video is an essential tool for digital communications if you want to be heard.
The New Consumer Demand: Personal Attention
There’s a growing trend in this era of mass communication. Increasingly, consumers expect personalized content and experiences. They’re used to algorithms that anticipate their needs. But at the same time, they’re bombarded by more content than they have time or energy for.
Take a look at the data from this 2017 survey by Epsilon.
- 80% of consumers more likely to do business with companies that offer personalized experience
- 3x more transactions when consumers think companies do personalization well
Personalization is about understanding your customer’s needs and interests. Sure, it might involve calling them by their name — and not just in the intro of the email — but it also means being proactive. Address what they’ll need next. Reach out at the right time, from birthdays to onboarding. And never include irrelevant information.
Think of personalization as a baseline. When it’s missing, consumers aren’t happy, as research from Adobe found.
Percentage of Dissatisfied Customers:
- 33% When content isn’t designed well
- 42% When content isn’t personalized
- 29% When content isn’t optimized for their device
Making Video Better
We know video and personalization both drive business results, so it makes sense that they work well together. And they do — we’ve seen this for hundreds of campaigns over the past several years.
VIDEO (80% higher conversion and 68% higher retention) + PERSONALIZATION (6x conversion and 19% sales uplift) = PERSONALIZED VIDEO (8x conversion and 5x engagement)
But despite the popularity of video, there’s a few common challenges for businesses who want to integrate it into their day-to-day digital communications strategy.
- It isn’t easy to update. They’re large files, require expertise to manage, and changing one item in a clip could mean reshooting the whole scene.
- It tends to be generic. Since you won’t be able to update your video easily, you want to make sure it can last for a long time. A generic brand video might work, but most other videos will be out-of-date in a few months, maybe a year.
- It’s expensive. Video is the gold standard of digital communications. It’s easy to consume but costly to create. If you try to scale up your video creation efforts, you’ll usually scale up your spend in proportion. Not great for budgets.
The good news is that you can address all of these by personalizing your video using data. Essentially, you create a video with dynamic fields that can pull in different data. It’s easy to update if you can connect to the data source. It’s not generic since you’re using fresh, relevant data points.
And it’s much more affordable to scale up your video creation efforts since you can create one video with multiple variations and applications.
What data can you use to personalize your videos? Any data you have. But the fields below are good places to start.
- Purchasing behavior
- Device type
Tip: Make sure you have clean data. If the data is wrong — whether it’s someone’s name or their rewards balance — the video will be wrong.
9 Ways to Personalize Videos
If you’re just getting started with personalized video, you might be surprised at how many ways you can customize a video for the viewer — and how many of these ways let you repurpose existing video content.
You don’t necessarily need to use every type of personalization for every project. The impact on customer engagement comes from providing relevant content with a human touch. Sometimes a small step toward personalization can make a big difference.
Think of these as tools in your digital communications toolkit, and use them where and when they make sense.
This is by far the most common way to personalize a video. If your video begins “Hi, Bob,” that’s an example of text personalization. Add a dynamic field for [first name] and you’re in business.
While simple, it’s powerful. Using someone’s name adds a personal touch that shows your customer you see them as an individual.
Tip: Put your customer’s name in the first few seconds of the video so they know the video is just for them and will keep watching. We’ve seen this dramatically increase video completion rate.
Another application of text personalization is for numbers rather than words. Sending your customer the latest figures related to their account, whether it’s a monthly charge or loyalty points, is a quick way to communicate important information.
Here are some common text personalization examples we see:
- Plan details
- Rewards balance
- Days until renewal
- Recent purchases or actions
- Payment due date
- Loyalty points redeemed
Text Personalization Case Study: WW
An individual’s wellness journey is deeply personal. WW (formerly Weight Watchers) understands that and tailored their communications to match.
By using text personalization, WW was able to create a unique year-in-review to inspire and encourage each of their clients. The video highlighted how many steps the person recorded, their top foods, points they could redeem, workshops attended and more.
Customers loved the videos — and wanted to show them off — sparking nearly 2 million views on social media, a top KPI for the campaign.
- 9x amplification rate on social media
- 2x higher CTOR than industry benchmark
- Nearly 3x more conversions
A Word About Personalized Text
If you want to capture the true “magic” of personalization, you need to make every element appear native to the video. That means something with your customer’s name on it — whether it’s a credit card, an invitation or a car — looks just like the name is really part of that item.
The car needs to be able to drive and not have the name floating on top of other things in the video. The card needs to be able to spin, fly or sparkle, with the name (or other personalized element) appearing to be seamlessly part of it in 3D.
Security alert: Some people personalize videos by adding HTML overlays. There’s a security risk here since a hacker can access this data and steal or manipulate it.
Dynamic text might be the most basic form of video personalization, but make sure to do it well!
Speaking of text…
Yes, you can customize what people read on the screen, but customizing what they hear can be powerful, too.
The most frequent application of a personalized voiceover involves the viewer’s name. When a customer hears their name spoken aloud, it creates a true “wow” moment — it’s unexpected and special. Just like with personalized text, we recommend including this at the beginning of the video so you catch their attention early on and encourage them to stay tuned in.
Beyond first names, there are plenty of other opportunities for voiceover personalization. For example, you might say the exact number of rewards points a customer has earned, a great way to drive home the opportunity that awaits them.
There are two ways to handle spoken text in videos.
- Text-to-speech: Use AI to generate most common words and names in almost any language. The result won’t sound as natural as a human speaking the words, but it’s more affordable and easy to scale.
- Recorded voice actor: You can also hire someone or have someone on your team who can individually record each instance of a word or phrase you might need.
Which should you choose? It depends on your brand, budget and project scope. Text-to-speech is cheaper, but it doesn’t sound as warm or inviting, especially important for a first name. However, even if you’re looking at hundreds of thousands of first names, having a person record them isn’t as time-consuming as you might think. From “Hi, Adam” to “Hi, Zeke” should only take 2-3 hours, and you can record a generic greeting for customers with rarer names, typically less than 15% of your audience.
- 2-3 hours recording time for thousands of names
- 85% of customers covered by most common names
Tip: Use the same voice actor and keep the recordings of those names. It’s an upfront investment that you can continue using for your videos going forward.
Voiceover Personalization Case Study: Highmark Health
One of the 10 largest health insurers in the U.S., Highmark Health has a huge customer base, yet they still want to onboard every customer individually.
How do they do it? With a personalized video. The video covers plan perks and setup details, but one thing that makes it different from the “average” onboarding video is that the customer hears their name spoken aloud at the very beginning.
Using a customer’s name is always welcoming, and it’s particularly appropriate when the goal of your video is to welcome them to a new product or program.
The campaign exceeded benchmarks across the board.
Is all of this success attributable to the personalized voiceover? Probably not, but we have noticed that including personalization upfront increases completion rates. And having the name spoken as well as displayed on screen just strengthens this effect.
- Over 250% higher than average engagement
- 3x uplift in conversions
A Note About Music
Remember audio goes beyond the voiceover. You might not have a separate music bed for each customer, but using different tunes for niche segments can be a great way to customize your video. For example, you could use a different genre of music based on a viewer’s geography, age or where they’re at in the buyer journey.
Or you might get really creative and try personalized music. Orangetheory Fitness had a DJ create a custom soundtrack set to their customer’s heartbeat (beats per minute). The video recaps each customer’s past year and inspires them to keep pushing themselves for the year ahead, creating a memorable, shareable customer experience. And it worked. The campaign led to the lowest attrition rate the company had seen in 5 years.
- 97% record high attendance
- 45k additional bookings during launch week
- 200% positive social mentions
Dynamic Scene Selection
One obvious way to personalize a video is to have it say “Hi, Bob,” at the beginning (presuming the viewer’s name is Bob).
But a better way of personalizing the video is by selecting scenes just for that viewer. It’s called dynamic scene selection, and you can swap in one different scene or a whole host of different scenes, depending on your capabilities. The important part is that whatever you show is relevant to your customer.
Dynamic scenes can cover anything, but here are some common examples:
- Welcoming new customers while recognizing an existing customer’s loyalty
- Skipping scenes that promote products or services your customer already has
- Ending with a different call-to-action for different customer segments
Here’s an example from American Airlines of what that might look like. There are scenes from four videos. Based on the viewer’s top flight route, they’ll see a clip from a different city.
Dynamic Scene Selection Case Study: Mr. Cooper
Imagine this. You’re a mortgage company during the pandemic. Requests for mortgage payment delays have skyrocketed nearly 20x. Meanwhile, government regulations mandate forbearance policies. The calls start pouring in. Borrowers are worried and confused.
How can you possibly answer every customer’s question, quickly, clearly and at scale?
It’s a problem Mr. Cooper faced during COVID-19. Like other lenders, they were experiencing massive call volumes. Personalized video with dynamic scene selection came to the rescue.
The video had several elements of personalization, but it expertly employed dynamic scene selection. Viewers saw only the scenes relevant to them. They could learn about loan modification, reinstatement and more — but they weren’t overloaded with information they didn’t need.
It was incredibly effective. Nearly 80% of clients who watched the video were able to self-serve with online tools, and it cut call volume by nearly three quarters.
- 79% of clients self-served online
- 73% call volume reduction
Tip: Use templates to save time. With personalization, you can have one video template with multiple variations. Our platform includes several templates, one specifically for forbearance used in the example video above, allowing companies to launch campaigns in as little as 2 weeks.
Have an international audience? Your videos need to reach everyone. Data-driven video makes this easier since languages can vary in lots of ways. Make sure any video provider you work with supports internationalization specifically for:
- Different alphabets and corresponding fonts
- Left-to-right and right-to-left text designs
- Multi-lingual captioning
Emojis: And don’t forget the universal language! Be sure to check that emojis are supported for all dynamic text. They’re a great way to add some fun to your copy.
Language Personalization Case Study: Ubisoft
To launch their new service, Ubisoft Connect, gaming giant Ubisoft sent a personalized video to its players — nearly 5 million of them.
Since their gaming audience is global, we helped them create videos in 11 languages. One automation perk of our tech? Even when different languages affect scene length, our platform automatically adjusts the scene, including visuals and audio, to accommodate the different text.
The campaign was incredibly successful, shared across social media and exceeding industry benchmarks for watch time and engagement.
- 270% increase in CTA click rate
- 5x uplift in Facebook and Twitter share rates
- Nearly 3x uptick in video download rate
Images can be data-driven, too. Show customers a product they purchased that will arrive soon. Send them a video postcard with a photo from their recent trip. Help them visualize their next incredible customer experience.
That’s the power of personalized images. Just like text, images can be dynamic, different for every viewer even if you’re creating millions of videos, as long as you have a platform that supports this functionality.
Reminder: Similar to text personalization, make sure your images appear native to the video. For example, for our campaign with Cadbury, the dynamic photos in picture frames acted as one item, even when an actor moved them. It keeps the viewing experience cinematic and immersive.
Images Personalization Case Study: Plan International Canada
Plan International Canada wanted to inspire its most dedicated donors to continue and increase their contributions. To do this, they created a video for every donor to show how their efforts made an impact.
The story was compelling. Donors learned how they helped families with disaster relief, education, wellness and more. But more importantly, it included the faces of the children they were sponsoring.
The campaign met their conversions goal and exceeded their target video completion rate by 250%. Donors wanted to watch their video — and the personalized images were a part of that, creating an immediate emotional connection for the sponsor.
- 51% uplift in engagement
- 49% higher video completion rate than industry benchmark
- 1.5 views per donor
Don’t stop at customizing images. Why not customize the footage your customers receive?
It’s a dynamic field, just the way text is, allowing the clips to be different for each customer. You might not have this for every video — in fact, for most, you won’t — but it’s pretty cool when you do.
One common example we’ve seen is in the gaming industry. Studios send their players personalized recaps showing clips from their favorite games.
Another example of custom footage is from live events. How do you get footage of every person for a live event? It’s the exception rather than the rule, but one brand known for innovation did just that as you’ll read below.
Video-in-Video Personalization Case Study: adidas
When adidas sponsored the Boston Marathon in 2019, they wanted a way to personally congratulate every single runner. So they created a personalized video featuring not only stats from each runner’s marathon but footage of that runner during the race.
Working with an agency, Grow, to capture the footage, we created 30,000 videos in a matter of hours so runners could have it the same day they crossed the finish line.
The result? Runners loved their videos, and they loved buying adidas products!
- 95% video completion rate
- Over 25% of runners shared their video on social media
- 11x increase in product sales
Interactivity is a revolutionary way to customize the viewer experience. Think about it — even if it’s the same video, no two people will interact with it in quite the same way. Every experience will be different.
And it works. Here are some of the results we’ve seen.
- 89% positive rating among viewers
- 21% reduction in negative calls to customer support
If you have the right tech, you can create videos with all kinds of interactivity. These are just a few possibilities.
1. Let viewers choose what they need.
This is great for when you don’t have the necessary data. You can present your customer with options right within the video, and the scene they choose plays.
Think of it as a video call center with all the 1:1 support and none of the wait time.
2. Extend the viewer experience online.
Add links in your video so users can continue their journey beyond the video — to a shopping cart, another website or even triggering an email for their next step, all from inside the player. This is incredibly effective as a sales tool since customers can click to buy right from the video, reducing the risk of drop-off.
3. Use chapter markers.
Add a menu so viewers can skip to different scenes or backtrack to rewatch scenes. This is especially helpful for explainer videos people might watch more than once.
4. Make it a game.
A link doesn’t have to be a button. It doesn’t even have to be static. If you’re offering a 50% off coupon, make it irresistibly clickable by having it move within the video, challenging your customer to catch the deal before it’s gone.
Interactivity Case Study: Vodafone
To drive upgrades for the launch of the new iPhone 12, Vodafone needed a campaign that would grab attention. So they sent a customized video offer to millions of eligible customers. It included plan details, a discount just for that customer where relevant and a clickable upgrade option right in the video.
The relevant offer combined with the actionable video was powerful, exceeding expectations and prompting an additional campaign for the iPhone 13 launch.
Action: CTAs: Embed your call to action in the video to increase the likelihood your viewer will click through. You can also capture who clicks what CTA, allowing even deeper personalization going forward.
Charts are a great way to visualize a lot of data at glance. If the rise of infographics have shown us anything, it’s that graphs aren’t just for number geeks. They help all of us understand complex information.
The principles we discussed earlier about how humans process visual information faster hold true here. Sharing data in simple charts helps viewers understand the critical details at a glance. And since you already have the data points, it’s easy to create custom infographics for every viewer.
Tip: Remember all your audiences. We often think of digital communications as external — for customers, donors, prospects, etc. But internal communications are just as essential, and we’ve seen great application of personalized video in the field of HR. You’ll see one such example below.
Charts Personalization Case Study: Woolworths Supermarket
When Woolworths Supermarket created its new share plan program, they were excited to tell their team all about it. But employees are busy, and topics like shares and vesting aren’t exactly easy to grasp quickly.
So they made it fun. They shared a personalized video for every employee showing the base and max award they were eligible for based on their role and performance. How much money would that actually translate to? A chart had the answer, calculated based on the initial award amount, showing how much it would be worth given a 10%, 20% or 30% increase over the next two years.
Employees overwhelmingly approved of the video, finding it helped them understand their benefits better. Most finished watching the video, and 40% clicked the CTA.
- 90% video completion rate
- 98% positive feedback from employees
- 40 CTA clicks
When it comes to customization, it doesn’t get more bespoke than this. Let your viewer customize or even create their own video.
How does it work? You can enable fields for customization within the video. This isn’t something most video players allow out of the box — in fact, Idomoo is currently the only personalized video provider that does this.
Essentially, your customer sees a menu directly in the player that lets them choose how they want to customize their video. You set the parameters. It can be as simple as drop-down options or as unique as letting them add their own media. Here are some things viewers might do:
- Pick the color or style of a product.
- Select what they want covered in a year-in-review video.
- Add names of friends so they can pass on the video.
- Upload vacation photos to see a recap of their trip.
- Choose different features to automatically update a customized quote.
And all of it happens in real time for a seamless experience.
Viewer Customization Case Study: CCP Games
To connect with players and promote their premium subscription, CCP Games created a personalized year-in-review highlighting EVE Online players’ top achievements. But they didn’t stop there. They let their audience choose the stats they wanted featured in their video.
As a result, viewers were happier with their video and more likely to share it, increasing engagement, brand awareness and ultimately site traffic to the recruitment page for their premium tier subscription.
- 66% uplift in visits to the EVE Online recruitment page
- 14x amplification on social media
There you have it. Nine ways you can personalize a video for every viewer and wow them with a superior customer experience.
- Dynamic Scene Selection
- Text Personalization
- Voiceover Personalization
- Images Personalization
- Charts Personalization
- Viewer Customization
Don’t let the possibilities of personalized video intimidate you. The important part is to start taking advantage of this kind of communication — now — even if it’s small at first.