In partnership with Loyalty360, HapYak’s Founder, Kyle Morton led a webinar on personalized video. Kyle shared not only the different methods for deploying interactive video for customers but also strategic business strategies for personalized video and the real results both B2B and B2C organizations. Below is an edited and enhanced transcript. 

I’m really excited about today’s topic because it represents one of the major trends that we see among our customers and in the market more broadly- taking personalization techniques that have been used elsewhere and applying them to video.

A mega-trend for all digital communication, video fundamentally communicates better. It’s why I turned on my webcam. So hopefully you can see me, get a little bit more out of this message. It’s why everyone on this webcast is probably already making investments in video, large or small, but doing it because of the undeniable draw of being able to communicate as a human being, as a human with sight and sound. We know it’s the best way to deliver your message.

Video is key to every part of the customer lifecycle, whether you’re on this call because you’re thinking about driving conversions in e-commerce, or if it’s B2B software platform sales, or if it’s some sort of nurturing or video support.

When people think about personalization, it’s usually discussed along the lines of a campaign. A specific outreach, a specific message, that has an intention of adding somebody’s personalized content and turning it into a conversion action right away, right? That’s absolutely a great use case. Video is used throughout that lifecycle and can add value to each step.

“Personalization integrates customer information into a content delivery framework so that specific services or offers become highly relevant and highlighted accordingly.” – by Ellie Behling, RR Donnelley

Video is powerful, effective communication. Personalization is a technique that makes it highly relevant and actionable- and that’s the key.

The old way of delivering these messages is, in fact, the most common way. You make an investment in a series of videos to promote something or inform someone, it could be how-to content or promotional; then you publish and market that. It’s still highly effective because video itself is highly effective. But what we really want to review is how the “best of the best” are doing it, folks who leaned in and recognized this truth: video is your most effective content type, but it’s not just a content type.

Going Beyond the Medium: Optimizing Online Video Performance

It’s another arrow in the quiver. It’s a great message. But in the broader space of web technology, there are really sophisticated automation platforms, integrations of CRMs, A/B testing, and optimization frameworks. There so many technologies and infrastructures that are deployed for standard static web content, if you will, that often aren’t applied to video- if nothing else, if nothing else, just kind of considering that. Consider all the ways that you already optimize everything you do with your digital strategy. And where is video included in that? And where is video left out from that? Think about that. Because it, in and of itself, might illuminate new ways to benefit from what you’re doing with video.

What the best of the best are doing are not delivering one message to everybody, but delivering one message to one person. Because it’s about respecting that communication, which is another way that I like to think about personalization of technology as a whole.

“Personalization is another way that you can show respect for your audience, show respect for their time, to acknowledge them, to make them feel heard and understood. Personalization chips away at barriers and offers techniques to make digital feel more direct and conversational. That’s at the heart of personalization technologies.” Kyle Morton, HapYak

But what the challenge is, is needing unified data systems that will help you identify from the total potential audience- it could be actual people who are more likely to engage, more willing to engage. What their preferences are, what their behavioral patterns are, is key to being able to be effective with your content strategy.

Personalized video contentAll personalization flows from actually being able to know something about these viewers.

Personalization can, in terms of the techniques that we’ll look at, be either visual personalization or behavioral personalization. Not just saying, “Hey, welcome back, John. Glad to have you here.” It could be that John is also looking for how-to information.

So, first and foremost, I need to put the links for the how-to content at the top of my navigation menu, tailoring my content for John within the video. That’s fundamentally what personalization comes down to, the right action at the right time that’s going to be effective for the right person.

The Benefits of Video Personalization

  1. Lowers digital communication barriers to prospects and customers. They feel embraced in a one-on-one conversation, which lifts engagement.
  2. Respects for the viewer’s time, but also their experience. By empathizing with the viewer first, you can deliver the best content.
  3. Provides super rich audience data allowing for content and campaign optimization, refining your marketing efforts with each iteration.
  4. Accelerates conversion, as this more considerate, humanized communication strategy generates brand affinity from the prospect. They know you, they like you, and now, they want to buy from you.


How Mature is Your Video Marketing Strategy
Audience Poll – Video Marketing Maturity

Keeping our poll top of mind, How do you do it better? How can you think about it more strategically? One of these ways is the right action at the right time- presenting these calls-to-action in videos. Personalized calls-to-action convert 202% better according to HubSpot. That’s such a fundamentally easy value proposition, an easy justification to try personalized video.

Once you define why you want to create custom or personalized calls-to-action, then you have to define “the what” and “the how.” Time nurtured, how are you going to reach them? How are you going to follow up with them? And then what’s the specific content?

How-to: The 3 Phases of Personalized Content Development

  1. Determine Top Performing Offers and Creative: A/B testing, either using Optimizely or Adobe Test and Target, gets you started with a personalization strategy. You’ll do this because you want to know what types of content and what types of calls-to-action, broadly, are going to perform.
  2. Create an Automated Campaign: Utilization of a marketing automation platform allows you to follow-up based on behavioral data and identity generation. After an opt-in, you can nurture that person over time. If your conversion action is to generate a lead, then you’ll see how this directly relates to the reduced acquisition cost once video is introduced.
  3. Make a Personalized, Interactive Video: Using the data from what you’ve collected through the nurturing process, you can start connecting all the dots, building an asset that is customized and contains this specific customer information. It will be highly relevant to that person and delivered at the right time.

Just like with anything in the marketing stack, there’s a lot of pieces, but integrating all of them together is fundamental to the value you’re going to get from your video assets, making them more effective and engaging.

How to Use Personalized Video Content
Audience Poll – Personalized Video Content Adoption

3 Ways to Use Video in Your Personalization Strategy

We see people using video in three ways as part of their personalization strategy. The first would be around the video asset itself- so on a web page, while delivering the right video. The next would be within the video itself, having those personalized calls-to-action or other custom overlays. And the last would be how web and video tie together but through a marketing automation platform. The goal is to run a campaign that pulls people in and gives them web-based access to personalized video assets.

Method One: Personalized Site Content with Video

The first, this is very much via Adobe Test and Target scenario. If you’re using some of their content delivery form information, being able to have metadata that’s very robust, you can use this metadata on the videos indicating things connected to somebody’s user profile. So this is another thing to consider when you want to use personalization there is you can come up with a set and say, I have five videos. I want to A/B test them on rotation to see which one people engage with the most.

Where it turns into personalization is say, I have five videos. One of them is a how-to video. One of them is a promotional video. One of them is a product announcement, and so on and so forth.

The video type is present in the metadata and can be used with the metadata of a user profile. Think, when they log in or when they visit your site. You know that, in the past, they’ve visited videos of that type. They have maybe expressed interest specifically through their profile in the marketing automation platform. Then you can use that information to select from the A/B set you’ve created so that based on the metadata, the site serves that specific video.

That’s a really cool and I’d say most commonly implemented solution because it’s fairly generic, right? If you’re personalizing other web content, this is treating video just like another content type.

Method Two: One-to-One Personalized Video Content Production

This next one is personalizing the video content itself. You may all have received a bill in your email, but there was a link to a video version of your bill. I’ve gotten these from Verizon. Then there’ll be video content that has my data dynamically injected into it- I can see my usage and name. It’s a one-to-one video asset. For me, this one video was created. It can be a compelling, customized experience. There may be some limited use cases for using this kind of customer information. It depends on how you’re going to apply it.

There are two techniques for how to personalize video content in this fashion. One is burned-in, the kind of industry term. The other would be the overlay.

Video Personalization MethodsThere are software and services that will allow you to export a list of your known contacts and then, well, generate an actual individual video asset for each one of those contacts. You have to create specific configuration within video editing software to merge that data, sort of like a mail merge when you’re sending an email campaign, but into the video asset.

The other approach- and we’re seeing this gain in popularity because of its flexibility- are dynamic overlays. So rather than precisely burning information into specific frames of the video, what you’re doing is you’re synchronizing overlays that are applied at the moment somebody watches the video. There’s only ever one video asset being produced, only one asset being managed. But dynamically, when somebody views it, the information from the marketing automation platform or CRM or cookies are merged in. Dynamically those overlays will then appear with that additional content.

With this method, there are some trade-offs in terms of motion graphics, how you might actually have the visuals appear. But there’s also benefits in terms of the flexibility, the lower cost, the lower volume of asset production, so the less overhead in terms of the management of it.

Keep that in mind, too, if you’re investigating video personalization solutions, to know which technique is utilized. Is it burned-in? Is it overlay? And maybe what’s appropriate for how you’re going to use it. Burned-in is generally campaigns. Dynamic overlays are generally for email nurturing. But, they could be interchangeable, depending on what your needs are.

Probably the most common type is a list here of personalizing video is similar to what I was describing on the website in terms of using Adobe Test and Target to put the right content. But this is using your marketing automation platform to look at the scores of users, the behavioral attributes of users, and their interests to trigger automated emails, and send out email campaigns. I receive this all day long. You guys probably get a lot of these. You visit a website. You do a search. You do some have some specific behavioral action. You end up in that marketing automation platform tab as being interested in that content. And then the follow-up email is video- this is the third method.

Method Three: Video Email Campaigns with a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP)

Why is it video? Because people open video emails. They have a significantly higher open rate. Once you land on a video, people watch longer. So it has a higher engagement. And then of course, if you combine that with the technique of a precise overlay, can be the most effective way to convert email. Video email- we see it all the time because people are adopting these marketing automation platforms for these sophisticated uses. They’re combining it with the efficacy of video. You can also merge in some of that dynamic information to power the overlay technology.

Most of you, 65%, are already using personalization and experimenting with emails or the website. Let me show you some examples of this type of video personalization for customer retention.

Why is this so effective? Our research has shown us that calls-to-action are:

  • 2X and 3X more effective, producing a higher click-through rate, than any other call-to-action on the same page.
  • 42% more effective when combined with personalization.

How to Add Personalization and Create Targeted Video Emails

How is this deployed? Through a marketing automation platform, email campaigns are designed. The email campaigns mail merge specific user information into the emails that are generated. When people click on those, links they end up on a landing page for a video with parameterized information about that user. And then that’s all dynamically put together into a seamless experience, where there is the video, a personalized call-to-action on the end card, personalized overlays to show, “Hey, I remember you. I know who you are. You can rely on me to provide a concierge experience.” That’s a really simple and streamlined implementation but powerful use case.

This next example can be done with overlays or burned-in. This is an example of actual video asset with essentially simple motion graphics that are personalized. So in this case, Daniel- it has that. Daniel’s itinerary is on the phone right there. I’m the viewer. My name’s Daniel.

When I’m watching this video, I’m, thinking, “What else do they know about me in a way that proves they can deliver this concierge experience?” As a business, you’re conveying that you know and respect your customer. Personalization reduces acquisition cost up to 50%, and it’s because of this acknowledgment.

Think of all the various touch points you might have from someone. Maybe they’re identified at some point. Maybe you know something about their behavior. Whatever it is, if you can utilize that information to tailor the actual content experience, not just the content asset.

You’re building on the communication that recognizes them. Ultimately is going to lead to the places where your video calls-to-action are effective. There are many pieces in a customer lifecycle. Different techniques are going to be appropriate at different times.

This is a post-customer scenario where personalized video is used for customer retention and success. This company deployed personalized calls-to-action and also 
personalized account management outreach, where they send these videos out, account-based marketing, say, “Hey, customers. This is your account manager. They want to talk to you, see how you’re doing. They want to answer your questions.”

These videos go out from their account-based marketing solution, these campaigns. The call-to-action is a specific call-to-action saying in that case, hey, Chris, do you want to ask Tara a question? The call-to-action is personalized for you. And the person in the video, they have a name, too. It’s personalized for them, right? So the account manager, in this case Tara, this is her video. Each account manager has her own video. Their production is based on a repeatable template for shooting these things.

Video Email Campaign Results

  • 224% Open Rate
  • 45% Click-to-Open
  • 80%+ Engagement Rate
  • 8:27 Time-on-Site

They’ve seen some great results, right? They’ve seen awesome open rates, impressive share rates. They share it with another person because they think it’s cool. Great engagement rates- that means the email recipient is moving through to the landing page. They’re actually viewing the majority of that video experience, creating a huge amount of time-on-site, so they’ve heard the content, the message. They’re engaging.

Final result? This is among the most successful ways this company books meetings.

You can send an email and say, “Hey, reach out to me. Let’s have a meeting and talk about X.” No one ever opens that. You send a video like this, where the brand shows they know who you are, and lets you directly engage by combining interactive video with a personalized call-to-action- then, it’s actionable. The customer is going to ask a question or book a meeting. And that’s precisely what this company is seeing.

How to Get Started with Personalized Video for Customers

Just Start. I know I threw out a lot of different technologies, discussed a lot of integrations. But it’s easier than it used to be. There are ways to try any of these capabilities individually. But you’re going to see the impact. You’re going to see the outcomes. Integrate these capabilities to use video throughout the whole customer journey. Interactive video can be valuable at every stage- because communication is always critical.

And then think about what systems will be touched first rather than last. Think about video like any other content, not as its own silo. Do what you can to break down those silos. Make sure it’s going to integrate across the systems where you’re ultimately going to measure your results. And you’ll thank yourself.

HapYak Interactive Video Guide

Building Customer Loyalty with Personalized Video Q&A

1. Are these interactive video campaign principles B2B or B2C or both?

That’s a great question. I would say the principles are both. The principles are absolutely both.

My area of expertise is B2B. Our customers are B2B. So regarding these specific examples and the technology stack generally used, they are in B2B. I’d say in B2C, especially around e-commerce, where people are often logged in, often have accounts. There are behavioral profiles. I’d say that’s the specific area of B2C that I think has the most overlap in terms of the techniques and capabilities I was discussing.

2. Can I add personalization to existing videos?

Absolutely, yes, all the different techniques that I mentioned except the burned-in video campaign. But with the other technique, creating personalized calls-to-action (making sure you’re showing the right content at the right time to the right person) these are things that are broadly accessible to any existing videos that you have.

3. How does interactivity work with sound or music?

I did not cover this yet, so that’s a really good question. That is connected to the burned-in video again. For the burned-in video personalization, there is generally options for graphics, for music. Those solutions will actually provide those types of capabilities.

4. What is the level of technical expertise required to create an interactive video? Can I do it myself? Or do you have services to help?

We do have services to help. But you can do it yourself. I guess an interesting way is I think everyone should experiment. Everyone should dabble. But I don’t want to give the importance of an effort like this short shrift.

If you have people in your organization who deal with A/B testing or personalization for other content types, you should try to get them involved in the conversation. Because you can use these techniques. You can prove the value proposition and have initial success. And you can generally do so independently with tools that are available from HapYak and things you might be able to find. Keep in mind the strategic view about how you’re going to roll this out and utilize it should always be the goal. So if your organization has anybody with the wherewithal to understand a conversation like this and personalization, I’d recommend getting them involved.

5. Are there any differences in the interactive video experience depending on the device- phone, tablet, computer?

I say yes, there are differences- anybody that says otherwise is probably not giving you the right answer or a good answer. The form factor and the way people consume information on the go through a mobile video experience is simply different than on the web. It’s simply different.

You should always consider when the personalized overlays make sense. Do they make sense on a mobile device? Do they make sense on a web browser? When should you use any of these techniques? It definitely matters.

From a technical distinction, no- most of the technical barriers are erased. You can perform just about any of the techniques that I discussed on phone, on tablet, on web. You can start with a standard strategy that treats them all the same of course, but I think that you should optimize the experience by device type, if possible. And you might ultimately want to use different techniques.

6. With regards to video and email, is it video embedded or online links, bearing in mind most email clients lack the support requiring various codecs?

When I talk about email campaigns that are including videos, I’m really talking about including a thumbnail image that links to a page. It is possible to embed video in email, at least for certain email clients. I don’t know if we have any customers currently doing that. Because it’s limited. It’s complex. And quite frankly, the cost benefit is not obvious.

Just letting somebody click and link out, you end up with better data about their behavior. You know they clicked on it. You’ve also got more control over the experience. Generally, a thumbnail that’s linked to a landing page is still the best technique, at least as far as what I’m saying our customers do.

And I think that’s it for questions. So hopefully, we’ll see you on another webinar in the future. Thank you so much for your time today.