Developing personalized content experiences is an ongoing task for B2B marketers today as buyers expect vendors to fully understand how their solutions affect business outcomes for their companies. Organizations such as VIAVI Solutions, Avanade and Eastern Bank are finding new ways to provide personalized video content across channels to better engage target audiences and understand their pain points.
At Brightcove PLAY 2018, the company’s annual user conference held in Boston, the overarching theme revolved around engraining personalization within the videos, messaging and offers. Video sits in a unique position as a content format that can draw emotion from viewers. When done correctly, personalization can position companies to offer tailored video content that stands out amongst the crowd.
“Video helps us connect with people in a way that text simply cannot," said Caren Cioffi, EVP and GM of Digital Marketing at Brightcove, during the event’s opening keynote. "This is because it can make people feel. Feelings are what make people want to do business with you.”
Tech companies, including Brightcove, have been focusing more on personalization features and functionalities within their platforms. At the conference, the company announced product updates designed to help marketers personalize video experiences, including content, playlists and calls to action. Marketers can present different offers to different people based on their content preferences and prior engagement. Brightcove also expanded its in-page experiences with the addition of interactive video and templated layouts for livestream events.
The feature updates to the platform align with an ongoing desire to move the idea of personalization away from the typical “gimmicks” it is associated with and, instead, focus more on how it impacts the entire customer journey.
"True personalized video [involves] the entire experience, not just the piece of content," said Paul Casinelli, VP of Product and Strategy at Brightcove. "It’s taking the gimmick out of it. It’s understanding who the person is and making sure the video is relevant. It's tying into ABM efforts, so you know how that person ties into accounts.”
Ultimately, Casinelli noted that the goal should be to “create an entire video-centric experience tailored by the segment and buyer data you have, then providing analytics on the back end so you can catch the ROI."
In one session, Eric Vejby, Sr. Digital Marketing Manager at the network testing and monitoring equipment manufacturer VIAVI Solutions, shared a use case where he and his team wanted to grow brand awareness and thought leadership through a weekly video update. Before setting forth on creating the content, Vejby noted that this idea initially required a lot of planning to understand their target audience, personalizing the messaging to their target segments and leveraging Brightcove to understand viewer engagement.
"Making video personal is a mix of engineering the right content and formulating a process backed by the right technology," said Vejby.
The initial pilot ultimately generated more than 20,000 views, and Vejby’s team is seeing average engagement rates between 75% and 90% for video content compared to other content available.
When engineering your video content, Vejby suggests starting by first identifying a fundamental business problem. Identifying a single problem and goal from the start helps clearly display where video will be used in the customer journey — avoiding any concerns about dissipating resources.
"Be choosy about video and use it when and where it matters,” said Vejby. “Choose the best vehicle for your video. Combine these elements to better personalize content for your key audiences."
Better Engagement Data = Better Buyer Understanding
Avanade, the professional services company that specializes in digital and cloud services for the Microsoft platform, found that personalized video content combined with a thorough marketing framework positioned the company to better understand how it should engage with prospective customers.
"The changes in tech, content preferences, channels ... it became daunting for us," said Matt Stegan, Director of Digital Marketing at Avanade, during his session at the event. "It became harder for us to think about our audience, content, delivery and more.”
Stegan and his team formulated a strategic framework that helps address each aspect of a given campaign. This includes:
- Execution; and
With Avanade’s video content, Stegan noted that prospects viewed 2x more pages per visit to the website than the average visitor if they watched a video. Prospects who engaged with video content also engaged with 4x more assets, had a 4x longer average session duration and bounced roughly 4X less.
Stegan noted that the growth in technology enabling his team to better understand how prospective customers are engaging with their video content helps show what buyer interests are, where they are in their buying journey and what they need next to make their purchase decision.
“For a long time, video analytics was analog,” said Stegan. “As platforms started to change and provide more information, we’re now looking at not just analog data points, but also data that moves people through the sales funnel. We can now attract via channels and sources, engage target clients and adjust lead scores, which drives them into trigger-based campaigns and then converts to MQLs/SQLs and closing business."
Social Considered Optimal Channel For Personalized Video Amplification
Another common theme throughout the event was how video content was being amplified through a variety of channels. Specifically, social media garnered a lot of attention as an opportunity for marketers to further tap into the emotional, humanistic and social aspects video content brings to the table.
“Social is human,” said Katie Martell, an Independent Marketing Consultant and Co-Executive Producer of Boston Content, during a session at the event. “We are literally hard-wired to interact with each other because of our social brains and have a strong and fundamental human desire for social belonging and interpersonal exchange. In addition, the amount of noise on social channels means buyers scan [and] crave stimulation, making it incredibly difficult to break through. The bottom line is that now is the best time for social video.”
In the same session, Sharifah Niles-Lane, VP of Digital Marketing and Social Media Manager at Eastern Bank, shared her story about how she and her team used social video to target social-savvy Millennials and small business decision makers, which led the company to generate 10k+ social impressions on their social video content. Eastern Bank decided to focus their video messaging around promoting social activism and issues plaguing local communities throughout Massachusetts.
"We set out to educate, empower and activate via our social strategy," said Niles-Lane. "The issues that plague our communities ultimately impact our businesses; and we want to help start the conversation and show that we want to be a part of the community's conversation."
To accomplish this goal, Niles-Lane noted that her team took a “GOOD approach” to social and messaging through video content:
- Gather audience insights;
- Open up and be authentic;
- Opt-in to storytelling; and
- Define your measurement plan.
"Authenticity causes our storytelling to be much more human," said Niles-Lane. "When you think about your plan, it’s important to measure, optimize and continue to learn."
Martell added that it is important to find a healthy balance between marketing-focused metrics and attribution metrics that tie video content to the company’s end goal: revenue.
"Track metrics that indicate success for marketing optimization, while keeping an eye on the true value their social videos bring to the business itself, which is the stuff the CEO/CFO care about: customer acquisition and retention," said Martell.