From ‘U’ to ‘View’: How the Viewer Experience Needs to Go Beyond Video

Opinion: The power of a scene library approach and personalization makes it easier than ever

Personalized video is ideal to simplify complex topics DragonImages/iStock

Brand websites were once clunky and ugly creations. Back in those early, pre-Y2K days of the internet, the web user experience resembled the equivalent of a Yellow Pages directory imported onto a computer screen. Over time, digital marketers and advertisers committed enough resources to develop their websites into sleek, beautiful and intuitive tools.

Now change is in the martech winds yet again. Thanks to the rise of digital video, the web user experience qualifies as a viewer experience. As Thinkmojo CEO Yann Lhomme wrote, video and its attendant assets—music, voiceover, graphics and text—symbolize the brand itself, when previously, it had been defined by the functionality of its website and mobile app.

The proliferation of screens in our lives means that video can be consumed on television, desktop, mobile and tablets, as well as in social feeds, on websites and in mobile applications. Each of these devices and channels drives a different VX, as people interact with those platforms uniquely depending on such variables as time and location. This requires further thinking about the placement of the video, with appropriate adjustments in its content and presentation.

One major trend in mobile is the blurring of video content and an app user interface. Snapchat Stories and Instagram Stories, for instance, embrace the vertical aspect ratio in the design of its content. Now, brands create experiences tailored to that format, combining video elements with static overlays, splitting the screen in unique ways and making “swipe-up” interactivity a part of the video.

Another prime example of the video-UI hybrid is quizzing mobile app HQ Trivia, in which a live presenter asks trivia questions, a la classic TV game shows, but with interactivity enabling viewer responses.

Clearly, the time has come for brands to create helpful, valuable video content that is relevant to their customers, transforming the video VX from a passive experience to active involvement.

Some of the new viewer experiences that make video a customer-centric engagement include:

Search query initiated

Have you ever been to a website to search for something, only to receive a laundry list of answers you have to comb through one by one? Today, many search results are artificial-intelligence-driven, so the most common answer bubbles to the top. When video is applied to this experience and is the first piece of content served to the viewer, it can be interactive to enable personally relevant content—the viewer can indicate the nature of his or her inquiry, and a video guides the viewer to a solution or a call-to-action.

For instance, a customer who searches the AT&T site for such terms as, “How do I schedule a payment?,” receives an interactive video experience that promotes online payment.

Taken one step farther, if this experience were behind a post-authentication login within the provider’s account portal, the video content could be personalized to the specific customer’s account, referring to his or her payment dates and payment amount.

Responsive interactivity

Financial institutions, insurance providers and healthcare insurers typically offer complex products and services that easily confuse new account holders, policyholders and members. Consequently, many of these organizations tend to go overboard with new account information during the onboarding process.

Ideally, onboarding videos should be targeted and prioritize answering the specific questions of an individual customer, helping to achieve his or her own goals with only the most salient details specific to the viewer.

Personalized video is ideal to simplify such complex topics, but the video content cannot—and should not—be the only dynamic component of the viewer experience. The landing page in which the personalized video resides should also be a living asset, responding and reacting to the content and the viewer’s interactivity.

For instance, the video can open with an inquiry to the viewer about what is most important to him or her, and the rest of the video content can prioritize topics from the viewer’s answer. Chaptering the videos enables the skipping of topics, depending on the relevance to the viewer, while chapter titles and interactive buttons appear on the landing page around the video player, in conjunction with scenes, to allow for further consumer interaction.

In such a use case, a landing page contains some advanced UI elements that directly connect to the video and drive the nature of its content. By designing a complete experience and having the elements complement each other and prompt actions, a brand offers a richer, more compelling VX, which responds more immediately to the needs and preferences of the viewer.

Digital placement at the optimal time

Digital channel placement is just as, if not more, important in terms of contextual relevance for a consumer as is the content of a personalized video. When a video is easily accessible within a consumer’s account portal, it gets placed at the optimal channel and touchpoint when the consumer needs it most.

For example, this could be found in an airline mobile app that notifies passengers 24 hours in advance their flight check-in times. If a patient filed a recent medical claim, a video explanation of the claim would be available in the patient’s account portal of their healthcare provider.

A scene library enables scalability, with interchangeable assets that vary the content of each personalized video. For instance, an explanatory video of a claim may be offered for the first claim of the year, while another video would be generated for patients on an ongoing basis if their claims are regularly greater than $100.

Story sequencing

A brand may want to deliver personalized video across multiple channels, offering messaging that functions both separately and concurrently, while deepening the level of personalized content as the consumer advances with the brand.

For example, a personally relevant video on Facebook serves as potential for advertising messaging, possibly for a loyalty program, or even the availability of personalized content on a viewer’s account. If a brand wants to promote the download and usership of its mobile app, personalized video can promote that message, but a brand may also use the app itself as a delivery mechanism for personalized content. The cross-messaging and cross-platforming approach tells a sequential story that produces a call to action.

As the above examples indicate, any touchpoint where customers natively interact with a brand has the potential for personalized video. In the emerging age of VX, it is no longer enough to take a video created for one medium and repurpose it across channels. Today, each channel—and each interaction—must be designed with the viewer’s mindset as a prime criterion. The power of a scene library approach and personalization makes it easier than ever to achieve this tailoring in the most scalable, effective way possible.

Guy Atzmon is senior vice president of creative and industry solutions at personalized video platform SundaySky.