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The Evolution of Video Personalization

Ever since the rise of YouTube, the increasing ease of user-generated video creation has enabled the medium of video to proliferate into the most sought-after form of content across the globe. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat or TikTok, we’re seeing every platform take a more video-first approach today.

 

Why?

 

Because video just works so well. It’s by far the most engaging and impactful medium of content consumption. From entertainment to learning to advertising, video is by far the best way to send and receive information in the world we live in today.

 

More recently, however, there has been a new form of video content that brands are increasingly relying on to achieve never-before-seen engagement and conversions— personalized video.

What is Video Personalization?

Video personalization can be defined as the process of generating and distributing videos that are personalized individually for every single user to some extent or the other. The levels of sophistication of video personalization vary from being as basic as showing relevant video ads to users based on their cookies or being as complex as having a celebrity brand ambassador call out a user’s name, location, last ordered item, etc. on a video ad. 

 

Over the years, thanks to technology, video personalization has gone from manually recording every personalized video to having AI generate personalized copies for millions of end users with little to no human intervention.

 

In this blog, to better understand the journey of personalized video, we’ll go through the evolution of video personalization and see how the transformation of video content has led to it becoming the ultimate channel for branding and marketing today.

The History of Video Personalization

2006 – Youtube’s Participatory Video Ads (PVA)

The origin of targeted video ads started with YouTube’s PVA campaigns in 2006 which allowed advertisers to show targeted video ads to relevant audiences on the YouTube platform. This was in many ways the first form of video personalization at scale.

YouTube's Video Personalization Ads

With PVA, viewers could actively participate in the ad by answering questions, taking quizzes, or providing feedback. These ads were designed to be a lot more immersive and interactive than traditional video ads, and served as a great tool for brands to improve engagement across their target audiences in a more meaningful way.

 

It also allowed brands to start their own channel, allowing them to boost brand awareness, drive engagement, and even generate leads or sales in a more native and coherent manner. YouTube’s PVA served as a unique way for advertisers to build engaging personalized experiences for viewers, ultimately helping them drive better results.

 

2006 – Manual Video Personalization

In 2006, Blendtec began uploading videos of household objects being blended with their new blender on YouTube. When viewers suggested things they’d like to see get blended next, they would occasionally respond with the suggested video— blending everything from golf balls to skeletons.

This was one of the first-ever personalized video campaigns where a brand individually responded to its audiences’ comments with a video recording. If only this was scalable though.

2008 – YouTube’s Pre-Roll and Post-Roll Ads

In 2008 YouTube began allowing brands to show highly targeted video ads to relevant audiences before and after a video was played. This way brands could show relevant ads to people based on the type of video a user was about to watch. Since then, these ads have become ubiquitous to YouTube’s ecosystem.

2012 – Stitched Video Personalization

Procter & Gamble’s “Thank You, Mom” campaign was launched by P&G during the London Olympic Games in 2012. It featured heartfelt video messages from Olympic athletes to their mothers, thanking them for their support and sacrifice toward helping them achieve their dreams.

 

The campaign further included a “Thank You Mom App” that allowed users to thank their own mothers by uploading personalized content in the form of text, image with captions or videos. The website then generated a stitched version of the ad along with the personalized content that could be shared across social media.

The campaign was a huge success and the personalized videos were extensively shared across social media. It helped P&G establish a strong emotional connection with users, and the campaign’s success inspired other brands to create personalized video campaigns.

2014 – Augmented Reality

In 2014 AR started to go mainstream as brands increasingly began experimenting with AR campaigns. One of the first-ever smartphone-powered AR brand campaigns, L’Oreal Paris launched the Makeup Genius app in 2014.

 

It allowed users to try on different makeup looks using their smartphone camera, creating a virtual makeup try-on experience.

Augmented Reality AR Video Personalization

2016 – Augmented Reality for Social Media

Since 2015, when Snapchat introduced its AR lenses, a lot of brands have built immersive AR-powered campaigns that allow users to virtually interact with their products in fun and creative ways. Using these social media filters, users could record and share photos and videos with their followers.

 

Video Personalization Ad Campaigns: Augmented reality filters on Snapchat

One of the first brand campaigns to use augmented reality filters on social media was a 2016 Michael Kors campaign on Snapchat. The campaign allowed Snapchat users to try on Michael Kors sunglasses using a branded filter, and share the videos/images taken with it. The campaign was a massive hit with it receiving over 100 million impressions in just 24 hours.

2018 – Interactive Choice-Based Films

In 2018, Netflix released an interactive film called Bandersnatch that allowed viewers to make choices on behalf of the main character throughout the film that further determined its narrative and ending. The element of personalization created a unique immersive viewing experience for every viewer.

Video Personalization in Movies and TV Shows - Netflix's interactive movie, Bandersnatch

By integrating video personalization technology into the film, the film generated a new form of engagement with its audience, demonstrating the power of interactive storytelling.

2019 – Digital Avatars

AI-powered digital avatars of real people and characters have been used by brands to create real-time personalized video campaigns that offer immersive and engaging brand experiences. A Calvin Klein advertisement featuring Bell Hadid was one of the first time a digital avatar featured in a brand campaign.

The campaign had no element of video personalization in it, however, it inspired future campaigns that coupled digital avatars with more immersive personalization experiences. 

 

While digital avatars seemed like a great gimmick they are distinguishably unreal. This led us to build the next chapter of AI — humanized generative AI video personalization!

2022 – Humanized Generative AI Video Personalization at Scale

In 2022, Zomato, India’s largest food delivery app, ran the first ever real-time generative AI personalized campaign on social media featuring Hrithik Roshan. Depending on the location of the viewer Hrithik would recommend a hyper-local restaurant next door, a dish recommendation from there and mention the city/town/area the viewer was in.

All of this done with just a single recording of the superstar! How?

 

The ad included a fully human Hrithik Roshan with AI voice and lip-sync technology and not a fake digital avatar of him.

Zomato Ad featuring Hrithik Roshan powered by Gan.ai's generative AI video personalization technology

Here’s everything that was required to run the world’s largest AI-generated ad campaign in terms of distribution for Zomato:

  1. A single recording of the ad featuring Hrithik Roshan
  2. A 2-minute training clip of the actor
  3. Gan.ai’s all-in-one AI deep learning engine that does everything from pulling data from your CRM/database to deploying locazied copies of the ad to users across social media platforms based on their location to collecting, analysing and reporting campaign data.

Make Your Brand Futureproof

Since Zomato’s hyper-viral generative AI ad in 2022, some of the world’s biggest brands including Samsung, vivo, MPL and Bajaj have gone on to repeatedly build mesmerizing hyper-personalized campaigns using Gan.ai’s state-of-the-art generative AI platform.

 

With a single video recording, brands can now automate engaging and immersive personalized video ads across multiple channels. Whether it’s email, SMS, WhatsApp, pre-roll ads, IPTV, mobile apps, personalized landing pages, push notifications or anything else, Gan.ai will build it for you!

 

Maximize your ROI on celebrity endorsement campaigns and ensure customers are continuously converting at every step of your brand’s user journey!

 

See it in action to believe it!

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