Engaging consumers in today’s digital landscape requires more relevance than ever before — and brands need to work harder to stand out. Personalized video is an emerging category that takes current video formats and adds customization at scale, making the content relevant to the audience and their interests.
That was the message for marketers at a virtual event hosted by Google and Incubeta Joystick. Mark Wilson from Google’s Marketing Platform Creative Services team moderated a discussion on the current landscape and future state of this emerging space for advertisers and agencies. Amol Rana, Creative Agency Lead at Google, discussed actionable insights and real-world solutions on the implementation of these exciting strategies along with our Incubeta Joystick CEO, Sara B. Francis, and COO, Dave Rosowsky.
Watch a full recording of the session here.
Here are some key takeaways from the event:
1. A one-size-fits-all approach to video campaigns is a thing of the past.
Ensuring people pay attention to ads is about making your ads relevant to both the viewer and the moment — this is personalization. Research finds that relevant video ads get three times the attention of an average video ad.
2. Simply knowing your audience in general is not enough.
Today, advertisers must also know their audiences’ mindset in the moment they want to reach them and understand in what context that will occur. In other words, understanding audience intent is critical. The right message, placement, targeting, creative and ad format are key to successfully grabbing a consumer’s attention. That’s a pretty big opportunity for brands, and at Google, our aim is to help brands breakthrough with effective video campaigns by finding ways to easily make ads hyper-relevant.
3. Use technology to create more of a 1:1 conversation with your audience.
If you had the ability to customize your message to be hyper relevant to your customer, then why would you continue to serve everyone the same ad? As an industry, we talk about personalization and the importance of creating relevant ads and this should apply to video ads in the same way. This can sound overwhelming and a lot of work to understand, but really it doesn’t have to be. With video consumption at all time highs with everything going on in the world, it’s worth the effort.
4. Start with campaign objectives and KPIs to shape your personalization strategy and inform decisions about technology solutions.
The goal and KPIs should always be central to the strategy, and will help inform which side of the personalization scale you lean towards.
From there, understanding the technology that powers the video creation is an important component of the strategy. To make decisions about the tech, it’s important to understand the things that will influence what tech to use.
Will video variants be used, and if so, how many variants will there be?
What’s the update cadence? Will the video pull in data on impression or are daily updates going to be sufficient?
Also, where is the audience? Are the videos running in traditional channels, across social or on connected devices?
The goal is to align our video strategy with the target audience – this is what defines personalization – it’s what customers want and, at this point, it’s what they expect.
5. Personalize your video campaign by aligning your video creative with the audience segment.
You can approach personalization by developing a core idea that allows for slight executional tweaks — such as personalized text overlays, custom supers, different settings or characters, or unique CTAs and offers.
Essentially you take a base video asset, and then use technology to automate the process of creating each variant and pushing them into the delivery platform. These variants are then aligned with the audience — for example by setting up Line Items in DV360 for each audience, and attaching a personalized video variant to each of those Line Items.
To make this process easier, we have turnkey solutions like Director Mix (developed by Google) or custom technology built based on each client’s individual requirements. There are also third-party platforms available.
One thing these different options have in common is the ability to edit just about any element within the video, such as text, audio, graphics or even portions of the video itself.
6. Take an audience-first approach to selecting the platforms, solutions and formats to use.
As a best practice, take an audience-first approach — meaning run in places where the audience spends their time, build as many formats and use as many platforms as necessary to reach them. When you do reach them, make sure there is some level of personalization on the video.
By taking this approach, advertisers can achieve their campaign goals efficiently. When a campaign calls for 10, 20, 50 versions of video ads — personalization at scale — production can be expensive and arduous. Fortunately, YouTube has tools like Director Mix that can help solve for this. Director Mix turns brands’ layered files into dozens of personalized video ads by swapping images, text, and other video elements, and serving them to audiences based on intent signals.
7. Personalized creative at scale can be achieved by automating creative variants or using dynamic video.
To get true, real time, to the second dynamic elements into your creative, you need VPAID, and with it you open up the opportunity for interactive elements, or really anything you could do with display advertising.
Because you are building VPAID units in Google Studio, you have access to the Studio dynamic platform, and you follow a similar process as you do with building rich media ads. With VPAID, your dynamic elements will load on impression.
Once it is completed in Studio, you can get VAST tags out of Campaign Manager or sync with DV360 and serve programmatically — as long as VPAID inventory is accepted.
A more common approach is to use video variants — render the videos in advance and move them into the platform for delivery. Hooking into data feeds, generating hundreds of variations and automating the process through to delivery is still possible. But it doesn’t render on impression, so there is some lag between the creation of the video and the user seeing it.
This works great when data changes daily and with really smart automation – we have seen it done with data changing every few hours. In most cases, using variants in this fashion feels like real-time, and it’s definitely much better than just showing one video to the masses.
We still consider this dynamic – if the video variants are being generated in an automated fashion, using real time data at the time of creation, they are dynamic in nature.
For more information on getting started with personalized video campaigns, request access to The Complete Guide to Personalized Video on the Solutions Guide platform.