4 Reasons to Stay Tuned to Personalized Video

Originally Published in Target Marketing’s Tipline E-Newsletter
by Britt Brouse
Feb 11, 2009

Recently introduced to the U.S. market, personalized video solutions are making waves in online marketing. Instead of a static video, the marketer can present personalized video content or even allow users to self-select content to fit their needs.

“The idea is that we can take any sort of linear video—it’s tagged and it’s segmented—and then, basically, those clips are reassembled based on user interaction or any other type of profile information from an ad server network, behavioral targeting, Web-publishing data or cookie,” describes Naj Kidwai, CEO of Real Time Content, a New York-based provider of personalized online video ad technology.

XMPie, a New York-based provider of cross-media dynamic publishing, also offers a personalized video platform as part of its creative solution, which uses Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator software to personalize videos. These videos then can fit into e-mail or personalized landing page campaigns.

The four thoughts below, from experts at each company, will help illustrate the benefits of this new direct marketing tactic.

1. See Big Benefits and Results
Kidwai lists the benefits of personalized video as increased click-through rates, engagement, brand recall and sales conversions and adds that the technology allows marketer to deliver thousands, if not millions, of variants based on one ad. In a recent campaign for Nationwide Building Society, a U.K.-based financial services company, a personalized video on the homepage empowered the audience to pick out insurance elements of personal interest. “If I’m interested in insurance for my MP3 player, gardening equipment and valuables, those are the elements that I can click on in the interactive ad, and then, basically I would get a different voiceover and those key messages,” Kidwai explains. The campaign resulted in 48 percent higher brand recall, a 300-percent increase in sales conversions and a jump from selling about 400 to 500 policies per week to around 1,200 per week, he shares.

2. Make an Impression on Your Prospects
“As we’re showing our XMPie prospects these campaigns, most of them sort of look at it and say, ‘I can’t believe you can do that.’ Their eyes open a little bit wide—it’s a real differentiator,” comments Phil Rose, product marketing manager for XMPie. Upon introducing this technology to a U.S. market, Kidwai says that he realized no one had figured out how to get U.S. consumers to engage with ads before. He gives the example of Toyota’s now ubiquitous ‘Saved by Zero’ advertisement as an example of the disengagement seen in mass marketing. There’s even a Facebook group called “Stop Playing Toyota’s ‘Saved By Zero’ Commercial,” in opposition to the tiresome spot. Personalized video combats that consumer point of view, instead empowering prospects to select the content they wish to receive. “When we did the feedback analysis, it was like, ‘God, somebody’s actually listening to me, and I am actually allowed to create the elements that I am interested in,” describes Kidwai.

3. Save Time and Money
To get started, marketers need to be engaged in producing video campaigns and have a Web site. Aside from those basic requirements, both Kidwai and Rose advertise their companies’ platforms as easy to use and compatible with most current Web marketing systems and processes. Personalized video also is seen as an economical solution, because it takes existing video assets and spins them into multivariate products. “Rather than thinking of one shoot for all of their audience, they can now use all of the rushes that they leave on the editing room floor that now have value … rather than just the 30 seconds out of the five hours of footage,” explains Kidwai. Rose advises an even less costly option of using stock footage and personalizing it using XMPie’s Photoshop-based solution called uImage.

4. Be on the Leading Edge
Using a new technology for marketing purposes lets prospects know that your company or brand is on the leading edge. Kidwai sees the future of navigation online in video and sees personalized video as a fundamental part of where online marketing is going. “I like to use the analogy of flash … a technology that 10 years ago nobody had heard of and is now ubiquitous,” he says. “There is no better way of communication today than video online, and that’s why there are billions and billions of more streams being viewed globally,” Kidwai states. The idea of personalization, he adds, always has been over-promised and under-delivered, but he sees personalized video as something totally new, which may actually lead marketers to that one-to-one holy grail. “Everybody’s seen their name pop up on the top of a piece of paper or their name get used in a paragraph, but this is a whole new medium,” agrees Rose.

To see examples of personalized video, go to Real Time Content’s Personalized Video Demo, where a landing page for Nationwide Building Society shows a personalized and interactive video on the right side of the screen; or XMPie’s Personalized Video Demo, which features a mock telecommunications landing page used to promote XMPie’s personalized video software.

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