personalized video production

A detailed guide on personalized video production

Table of Contents

Once you decide that you want to move ahead with a personalized video campaign, you still might have a few things that are unclear to you. By this point you know the benefits, you know the use cases but what often confuses people is the personalized video production.

And that’s what i’m going to explain today. You can expect to learn:

  1. How does a personalized video production go (step-by-step)
  2. What to pay extra attention to
  3. What tools to use

Starting your first personalized video campaign might seem daunting at first, and a lot of people think it’s too complicated and technical. That’s not the case. My intention with this article is to de-mystify personalized video production and boil it down to the basic concepts. This will allow you to stop thinking about it, and start thinking about the benefits and creative ways to improve your video personalization game.

Overview of personalized video production

personalized video production workflow example

Each campaign starts with an idea. The idea can be as simple as: “We want to delight our employees with a personalized video celebrating their years at our company”. Okay, you got your idea now, let’s see what are the elements needed to produce this kind of personalized video campaign.

The first thing you’ll need is a video template. This template is going to be used for all of the videos as a base, and your video automation tool will swap out elements of that video to make it personalized. 

What’s great is that the template can look however you want. It can (and probably should) follow your design guidelines, it can be in whatever style and dimension you wish and the sky really is the limit here. It all depends on how much resources you want to spend on this. The template itself can either be made by your in-house design team, or an external agency/freelancer. The majority of video automation tools are using Adobe After Effects as the tool to make templates in. This is good for you because After Effects is an industry standard program in the design world. Your in-house design team is probably already familiar with it, so creating a template will be hassle-free.

The second thing you need is a data source. No matter what video automation tool you choose, a data source needs to exist in order for that tool to create personalized videos. Now, i’m aware that data source sounds really fancy, but it can be as simple as a spreadsheet that will contain all of the personalization data. If you wish, you can push this further and connect your template to an RSS feed, a database of some kind, or even an external API. But a spreadsheet is often times enough.

If you’re using a spreadsheet, you will have to lay all of the personalization data inside of it. Create a column for each dynamic element inside of the video, and simply add new rows for each video. The video automation tool will go through every row, pull the data out and insert that data into the video template you created.

spreadsheet for personalized video production

The third, and final thing is creating the integration. You can either create the integration manually if you have the dev resources or knowledge. Or you can use a tool like Zapier/Integromat which will connect your data source and the video automation tool. What are you doing here is basically creating the workflow that’s going to create videos on autopilot.

Now, this is where a lot of people get confused, so i’ll try to simplify things.

In order for the whole workflow to work, you need a way to connect your data source and your template. This way the video automation tool can take the personalization data and insert it into template to produce the personalized videos you need. Some tools have native Google Sheets integrations, allowing you to connect your spreadsheet to the template in a few clicks.

personalized video workflow integration

Even if this is the case, you still need to distribute these videos somehow to your users. Maybe you want to send videos through email, or SMS, or through a Web App. This is what creating an integration means. You’re integrating multiple pieces of the workflow together.

If you don’t know how to code, you can still create pretty awesome integrations. This is where tools like Zapier and Integromat come in handy. These integration tools will allow you to:

  1. Connect ANY data source you want
  2. Distribute the videos through any channel

without using any code, and the setup takes only a few minutes. If you’re a newbie to no-code, both Zapier and Integromat have a lot of useful resources on how to get started. We also covered a few of the most common use cases, and created step-by-step guides for them.

zapier screenshot

And voila! Your personalized video production is ready to start. There’s only one more thing to sort out. How will the personalized video production trigger. There are a few options:

  1. Do a batch render of all of the videos
  2. Render videos on a set time interval
  3. Have the end user trigger the render

Depending on your use case, you’ll set this up while creating the integration. With these 3 elements, all you need to do is press the “play” button and relax. The videos will start creating automatically and they will distribute in the way you set up the integration. 

The beauty of automation is that it’s set & forget. Sure, it takes some time to set everything up…but after that you can sit back, relax and reap the benefits.

Pay attention to these things during a personalized video production

If you want to save money, and reap the most benefits out of your personalized video campaign you need to do some optimization. Producing personalized videos is usually priced on a per video, or a per video minute basis. This means that the more video you create, the more you will pay. 

Because of this, it’s crucial to audit your list. Does everybody on that list need a video, or can someone be skipped?

In cases where you are sending personalized videos in sales emails, doing a batch render might be inefficient. If you have 1000 people, and your open rate is 20% then you really need only 200 videos. In cases like this, creating a trigger will save you a lot of money. The trigger can be the user opening the email they got or something similar.

unopened email
Photo by Stephen Phillips – on Unsplash

Render speeds are an important factor also. In a production of a personalized video, that video needs to be rendered. In use cases where an user triggers rendering this is crucial, because it will determine how fast will the user see the video. When rendering batches, it’s less important because you usually render videos and send them after they are all done.

Tools for personalized video production

While there are plenty of tools in various shapes and sizes, the one with the best balance between functionality, ease of use, and bang for your buck is Plainly. It’s a cloud based video automation tool. Since it’s basically drag & drop, you’ll be able to set everything up in a few clicks, no matter what skill level you are.

inside of video automation tool

Plainly API allows you to create the exact workflows that suit your business needs, without any compromises. This means you can use ANY data source you wish, and distribute videos to any channel you wish.

It’s using After Effects for templates, which means that your team can create amazing templates quickly…and it’s Zapier/Integromat compatible which means you can set up integrations without any code.

Setting up a personalized video production using Plainly takes only a few hours, and you don’t have to sit through 6 calls and 3 demos. Don’t believe me? Here’s a video in which i explain how to set up a personalized video production in under 15 minutes using Plainly, Integromat, and Google Spreadsheets.

Personalized video production – closing words

I hope that this article brought you a bit of clarity when it comes to personalized videos. It’s really not that complicated and technical. Once you get your first campaign underway, the next ones are really easy as you are just switching templates and maybe a thing or two in the integration.

Personalized video production brings a bunch of benefits. In the world of digital noise, getting a message that’s 100% tailored to you is the only way that someone will reach you. But you already knew that. If you want to start your personalized video production journey, book a 15 min Plainly demo, and we’ll guide you every step of the way.

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person using a video generator