New Tool Lets Firms Personalize Videos, Watch Who's Watching

I opened an email the other day and got scared out of my wits. Someone started speaking to me.

On the bottom left, framed in circle, was a video of a woman touting ViewedIt Enterprise, by which business people like her can reach clients, in a more personalized way, and with a way more pinpointed message. It’s being announced today.

She gave me a pre-recorded video “Howdy” that segued right into her pitch. Since she knew the email was coming to me, she was able to address me by name.

On most of my screen--all the parts where she wasn’t--was information about ViewedIt and its Canadian parent, Vidyard, as well as encouragement to check out more about how it works and why you care.

Basically, here’s the situation: Nobody talks on the phone anymore. Business is done via text and email, which even with drawbacks is less intrusive and clumsy than ear-to-ear communication. Options like Facetime seem to just highlight the reason there are phones.

(Vidyard has been marketing the free consumer version since October and it seems like a painless way to communicate with relatives, if nothing else. So far 250,000 people have downloaded it. As advertised, it’s basically a one button operation.)

Personalizing videos with your sweet face also opens the door personalizing information at companies. (You can also just record your voice if you’re in your pajamas.)

On the screen, Enterprise gives tools to gives ways for companies to quickly add business-related videos from their libraries, add the names of clients and which of eight different kinds of intro splash screen works best.  

The ViewedIt suite of products lets a company track when someone has opened the email, how much they watched, what they skipped through, looked at again, or whatever.

Vidyard analytic tools lay that out pretty succinctly. “You’ll find out what each viewer really thinks about you,” says an actor in a promo video. “Think of it as digital body language. You’ll learn if they’re kind of in to you, leaning way in or turning away.  

Unlike the basic and free ViewedIt, the Enterprise version gives ways for companies to quickly add videos from their libraries. It seems kind of tailor-made for managers with far away branches who want to convey information, charts, new product demos or whatever, and also seem like a human being.

ViewedIt Enterprise still isn’t available on cell phone platforms, which might not sound as crucial for a business video product--but probably is. I’m told it’s coming.

You probably can overstate the importance of this touchy-feely stuff, but Michael Litt, Vidyard co-founder and CEO, is not far off when he says personal messages turned into emails are “sterile and non-human.” Real people really talking to you helps. Indeed, the fact he said that on a video in which it certainly appeared there was a kitchen mixer incongruously on the shelf in the background, gave me a little feel for the company.

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