2024 marks the seven-year anniversary of Allied PIxel president Bill Haley’s groundbreaking TEDx Talk on Personalized Video. Data-driven personalized video was a novel idea back in 2017. Today, personalization and video are among the top five marketing trends, according to industry experts. 

Consumers today have an expectation and strong preference for personalized communication. A recent study by Forbes concluded that 66% of consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, and 52% expect all offers to be personalized. 

In his TEDx Talk, Bill shed light on how data-driven personalized video works, as well as its transformative power to captivate audiences. He highlighted its ability to create authentic connections, deliver tailored experiences, and boost engagement and conversion rates.

Data-driven personalized video has a place in organizations looking to engage, connect and convert their target audience from prospects to customers. Personalized video delivers a measurable lift across multiple metrics, including a 16x higher click-to-open rate, 4.5x higher click-through rate and 2x higher conversion rate.

In its 31-year history, Allied Pixel has worked with hundreds of organizations, produced more than 2,000 projects and been honored with over 200 national awards.

Today, Allied Pixel stands at the forefront of data-driven personalized video and is recognized as a national leader in the field. As always, we welcome the opportunity to help strengthen your relationships with prospects and customers through data-driven personalized video and world-class video production.

We invite you to read a transcript of Bill’s TEDx Talk below or watch it here: TEDx Talk on Personalized Video.

Personalized Video – A Better Way to Engage with Your World

Let me tell you about Nicole.

This past spring, she was a high school senior with a big decision to make. Not where to go for spring break, but rather which college to go to this fall. Nicole had been accepted at three different colleges, all of them good schools, so she had to decide where to spend the next four years of her life and a big chunk of her parents’ money.

I’d like to show you how something called a personalized video helped Nicole decide. Full disclosure: I’ve never actually met Nicole, but we do know a lot about her because of some data. For example, we know what major she’s interested in, what activities she’s into, whether she’d like to play college sports, even whether she plans to live on campus or commute. We know all that because she told us when she applied.

You can imagine that accepted students like Nicole get bombarded with promotional messages from schools telling her how wonderful the teachers are, how beautiful the campus is, how many lifelong friends she’ll make while she’s there. But for those three schools who all want Nicole, there’s a big problem: Those messages are exactly the same for every student. They’re generic, so they may not feel personally meaningful to her.

In a world where all of us are assaulted by thousands of marketing messages every day, we cope by filtering out everything that doesn’t apply directly to us. For millennials and post-millennials like Nicole, the mass marketing model—one message to many—just doesn’t resonate. These schools need a better way to reach out and differentiate themselves.

Nicole, and all of us really, want to be spoken to as individuals. That’s nothing new, and marketers have used technology from variable printing back in the ’70s up to Google and Facebook today, serving up ads based on your personal interests. So, marketing is getting more personal. Unfortunately, video hasn’t.

I’m a producer, and I’ve spent my career helping organizations tell their stories with video. And the truth is that creating a video is a lot of work. After we shoot it, a human being has to go into a dark room, sit in front of a computer monitor, and sort through dozens, maybe hundreds, of individual clips, deciding which ones to use and what order to put them in.

Now, don’t get me wrong, some people actually enjoy editing, but it’s a tedious process. And the thought of creating individual videos is overwhelming. Until now.

As luck would have it, a couple of recent advances have made it feasible. First, a new generation of software tools enable us to use data to make editing decisions instead of a human. And with cloud-based computing, we can generate videos on a massive scale really quickly.

So it occurred to us that maybe this idea of dynamic video wasn’t so crazy after all. My team spent the better part of a year experimenting, and testing, and tweaking, and we perfected a way to do it.

This is how it works:

First, we look at the data. That usually comes from a school’s customer relationship management program or CRM. That’s a database that has all the information they know about prospective students. We cherry-pick the data that will let us tell the most engaging story. It’s different for every school.

Next, we storyboard the video. These are the building blocks that will form the structure of the video. The content in each of those blocks will vary depending upon the data. Then, we build an entire library of video content, taking into account every possible variation in the data.

So for example, if we’re talking about a school’s majors, we might create video content for each program that the school offers. If we’re talking about living options, we might create content for living on campus and for commuting.

Then, we build the master template. This is software that connects the data with the relevant video content and assembles them into a finished video. A good analogy is a grocery store. As you go down each aisle, you pick your favorite item in each category, and when you’re done, your shopping cart reflects your personal preferences, just like the master template.

Then comes the fun part. Pulling data from the CRM, we render each individual video, one for every student on the list. It’s an automated process, like a pick-and-place assembly line, where the correct content is dropped on the timeline and rendered into a finished video.

These videos are being built by a robot, which makes our editors very happy. The process is capable of generating tens of thousands of videos at a time, each one completely unique. When they’re finished, they’re transcoded and hosted in the cloud for playback on any device, anytime, anywhere. Just like that.

Personalized video sends a message that we value your individuality. We are getting some incredible feedback from colleges and universities around the country. But it doesn’t stop with higher education. I believe we are just beginning to tap the potential of personalized video.

A recent survey of digital marketers found that personalization is the number one priority today. So consider some of the possible applications. In medicine, we can create personalized wellness plans that help people live healthier lives. In sports, we can create personalized training programs. In entertainment, we can create movies that have personalized story lines. The list goes on and on.

The possibilities are limitless. My team is currently working on the next iteration of personalized video: on-demand. A person provides information online and in real time receives their video. This is the opposite of the mass marketing model. Instead of one message to many, it’s one message to one – a message that’s unique and specific to that one individual.

This is a game-changer. And on a fundamental level, this is about making our communication more meaningful. That’s the real promise of personalized video: sending a message that resonates and sets your organization apart. And that’s a benefit for everyone.

TEDx Introduction of Bill Haley

In this talk Bill Haley discusses the power of video personalization and how this technology is adding value to others. Bill is an award-winning producer/director and principal of Allied Pixel, a digital studio that fuses video production with interactive technologies.

Bill has over 2,000 credits to his name, including documentaries, corporate films, television commercials, web and social media content and independent films. Bill has guided Allied Pixel through numerous technological waves – from interactive multimedia in the early 90s to its current groundbreaking efforts to deliver the promise of Personalized Video – an innovative approach to creating unique, data-driven videos.

He is also the co-founder and co-managing director of the MarCom Alliance, a consortium of specialty communications firms. He is founder and publisher of thePhillyCreativeGuide.com and founder and managing director of the Philadelphia Area Production Association.