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Personalization: the next saga in video marketing

Each month, according to stats from YouTube, consumers watch more than 4 billion videos on the site and every minute yields 72 hours of freshly-uploaded content. Marketers, having already gotten used to the idea of online video as a broadcast channel, are now tentatively evolving their video strategies to create more personalized, targeted experiences.  

“You’re broadcasting one message to as many people as possible, [and] you’re trying your hardest to get as many people to watch it. That’s traditionally the way enterprises have used video up to now,” says Daniel Sevitt, director of marketing at Idomoo, which sends personalized video messages to consumers on behalf of brands.

By tapping into a client’s pool of customer data, Idomoo can use video as the medium to, for instance, wish individual clients a happy birthday, send an appointment reminder, or demonstrate how to pay a bill online. This level of personalization drives engagement and decreases customer frustration as it can address potential problems before they become actual problems. It also reduces incoming messages and contact center call volumes, optimizing support staff time.

Sevitt compares using customer data to tailor video messages to Amazon.com’s customized shopping experiences.

“The concept of personalization isn’t new,” he says. “It’s not unique to [Idomoo], but the ability to serve it in a video, which gives that added level of engagement, is really exciting.”

Sevitt adds that Idomoo distributes videos on different platforms and mediums—from MMS to email—“Wherever the customer wants to watch it.”

But why create a personalized video when a marketer could simply send a unique email or SMS message?

“[Video] gives people an opportunity to take in information a lot more easily and a lot more digestible than copy,” says Jay Miletsky, CEO of video network MyPod Studios—a sort of exclusive version of YouTube. “I’ve seen situations where a page of copy that should take two minutes to read has an average length of time spent on it of 15 to 20 seconds.” A two-minute video, however, will engage its audience for the full duration.

The other advantage of video, Miletsky says, is its potential to go viral, spreading to an audience beyond the individual to whom it was initially targeted.  He urges brands to develop their own parameters around viral distribution—for some brands, for instance, viral doesn’t have to be as extensive as “taking over the Internet.”

“If you’re a small brand and you can get your video out there and 100 people see it, and out of those 100 people 20 or 25 of them passed it along to people in their network, that might be viral enough for your brand,” Miletsky says.

Ultimately, the key to great video content is entertainment and information, Miletsky says, and not promotional marketing.

“[Brands] should be giving information and setting themselves up as the experts on a particular topic. Instead they always want to squeeze in there mentioning how great they are and that turns people off,” Miletsky says, adding that brands should cap videos, in general, at two minutes.

Finally, Miletsky recommends developing a series instead of one-offs.

“Get people used to the fact that this is going to be an ongoing thing so that people will be coming back, sharing more, and know what to expect from your brand,” he explains.  

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