Guy Atzmon Tue Jun 26, 2012

One of the major challenges in creating a SmartVideo template is maintaining the right balance between a branded, unique experience, engaging and informative content, and a script and structure that will allow enough personalization and repeat viewership opportunities.

It’s basically the difference between taking a cool TV ad with bits and pieces of personalized info dropped in, to creating a flexible video template that provides a new viewing experience every time you watch it. And keep in mind: TV and online video ads are NOT created equal. (Though unfortunately we learned at this year’s VideoNuze Ad Summit that 90% of online video ads are repurposed TV ads! Gasp!)

How often will the user watch?

SmartVideo Creative

This video thumbnail above updates the viewer on the amount of time left for her bid. 

The first thing you want to consider is how often will the user watch their SmartVideo. Is it a one time event like an onboarding experience? Is it a monthly event like a video bill? Or perhaps it’s a daily video, where a user looks for daily status updates?

For more frequently viewed videos, you want to either create a relatively “thin” creative package or a “wider” template with more variations – multiple visual skins, different themes that change seasonally, a wide scene bank that deals with different content elements, and even different narrators.

The key point is that you don’t want your users to feel they are about to watch the same video they already saw – keep them guessing, and keep them coming back for more.

What type of content are you delivering?

Another key element to consider is the actual content you are trying to communicate – is it purely informative like an account statement? Is it more marketing oriented like a newsletter? What is the ratio between general branding and targeted, segmented messages?

On more informational pieces, it’s usually better to keep the creative and branding elements subtle – nobody wants a dancing chipmunk serving them that $300 monthly cable bill. On the other hand, when you are promoting services and products, you want to add more color and fun creative to the mix. (Chipmunk optional.)

ATT’s video bill (below) is a good example of a simple yet branded creative package. subtitle

As an overall theme, you want to make sure that your SmartVideo is aligned visually and audibly to your brand guidelines. Speaking in one voice throughout all your communication channels is extremely important in creating loyalty, and besides – you know the brand police are always watching… Make sure to use brand elements properly, and that everything from the narrator choice, narration style, music, colors and visual elements are all up to par.

Creating a SmartVideo template is a challenging process, but ultimately very rewarding for generating videos at scale. Creating the right synergy between your in-house and agency brand and content expertise to the technical and strategic expertise of a SmartVideo expert team is key in this process.

To paraphrase our favorite “Social Network” quote, “One video isn’t cool, you know what’s cool? A billion videos.”


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