A panel at this morning's MediaPost Video Insider Summit explored the topics of automation and customization in video, asking if the two could coexist.
Joe Mandese, MediaPost's Editor-in-Chief, was moderating the panel and shared an industry concern, asking if "we are getting so personalized and so about the individual [that] we are losing the collective tissue."
The topic was a timely one for me, because it closely related to a conversation I had last week with Eric Frankel, CEO of StarGreetz, a video personalization platform for advertisers. Frankel was previously President of Warner Bros. TV and an exec there for 20-plus years before creating StarGreetz.
In my brief discussion with him, Frankel claimed that personalized video messages typically generate anywhere between 50-700% higher engagement and sales/revenue than what he called "one-size-fits-all" commercials. Giving a range of 50-700% is somewhat laughable because of how wide it is, but it gets the point across: Personalized ads seem to work.
But do they come at a cost?
The concern Mandese had raised was brought up again by the next speaker at the Video Insider Summit — Gary Reisman, CEO and co-founder of NewMediaMetrics. Reisman said in the early stages of his presentation that "sometimes [personalization] gets so tactical that we lose sight of the foundation of why people engage in the first place."
So why do people engage in the first place? It's a great question, and one marketers have been asking themselves since the dawn of marketkind. Frankel believes people engage when they feel like they have a "great relationship" with brands, but he doesn't think that "great relationships" are built purely through a brand's intentionality. "You just happen to like them," he quipped.
He called display ads too "passive" and Facebook ads "forgettable." He believes personalized video ads are, well, the opposite of passive and forgettable and will help brands build those "great relationships."
StarGreetz uses social data, location data, behavioral data, etc. to find out what a user's name is and where they are from. The underlying tech also allows for real-time editing and creation of personalized audio and video messages.
Frankel played some personalized video examples for me, and while it was pretty jarring to see and hear celebrities start off a YouTube ad by saying my name, it certainly got my attention.
For now, I'm undecided which side of the fence I sit on when it comes to whether or not it's too personal — for both the consumer and the brand.