8 Tips For Creating The Optimal Personalized Video Ads

Kelly Gentile March 06, 2018
8 Tips For Creating The Optimal Personalized Video Ads

The time has come where video advertising no longer serves only brand objectives, but delivers as a performance medium as well. With the introduction of personalized video ads, the world’s largest and most innovative brands have begun adopting video advertising strategies that deliver measurable business results in addition to the top-of-funnel brand engagement that traditional video has always delivered.

Execution of these strategies commonly begins with a retargeted advertising program, focused on bringing consumers back to the site with customized pre-roll ads. Bringing site abandoners back to the site is an ideal way to not only drive brand engagement but also recapture an otherwise lost investment. According to eMarketer, retargeted ads produce an upsurge in website visitation of 726%– more than twice of any other form of advertising. Retargeted customers are also 70% more likely to complete a sale than other visitors. When even deeper personalization is added to these retargeted video ads the results become even more compelling. These personalized video ads re-engage visitors, who left the website without converting, based on their previous on-site behaviors and likely future actions.

The result: true business impact is consistently and effectively measured, and continually optimized to serve both brand and performance camps.

The advantage personalized video ads have over traditional video advertising is that the former not only provides individually relevant content proven to deliver real business results but also provides a way for brands to use and reuse content throughout a customer’s lifecycle. Here are four use cases where personalized video ads can be used and reused to drive customer acquisition and support further engagement initiatives:

1. Nurture prospects

SundaySky SmartVideos are built in a modular manner that makes each video a breathing, living thing. This means that each time a customer receives a personalized video ad it will be relevant to their most recent on-site behavior. Therefore, if a visitor has already seen a retargeted ad for the last product viewed, and did not take the desired action, then the next time they receive the ad it can exclude the scenes relevant to that goal and instead include scenes for a new, more relevant goal. This could mean including a promotion scene to try and further convince them to purchase the original item or including a scene for a completely different product that seems to have redirected their attention. Either way, personalized video advertising is a great way to keep prospects engaged from first touch to actual conversion in a relevant and efficient manner.

2. Push cross-sell performance

Once a customer makes a purchase from your site, it’s just the beginning of a long-lasting relationship. Drive further revenue by cross-selling to customers through retargeting based on next-best actions. By retargeting based on recent purchases, you can drive repeat orders, subscription upgrades or even product add-ons. This comes in handy for brands who are constantly trying to educate customers on additional offers available that could be valuable for that customer’s specific situation. Great examples of this include adding a package to a single-service subscriber or reminding a newly established customer not to forget about the additional products they could purchase that directly support one they recently bought.

3. Boost customer lifetime value

You can also use personalized video ads to promote loyalty and rewards programs to your customers. Just like a personalized video ad can change and adapt throughout the prospect lifecycle according to the prospect’s most recent behaviors they can do the same well into the customer lifecycle, as well. In some ways this is the same concept as cross-selling, but the primary goal for this use case differs in that the video is advertising a program or benefit that the customer simply needs to sign up for instead of something that needs to be purchased. This form of retargeted advertising helps drive customer loyalty by creating a relationship built on trust and transparency that shows the customer exactly how valuable they are to the brand.

4. Drive new visitor traffic

Personalized video ads can help brands create “look alike” targeting (sometimes referred to as audience extension) in order to bring new visitors to the site. By capturing the attributes belonging to successful retargeted video ad engagements, a “look alike” profile can be established for targeting new prospects who are likely to react to video advertising in the same way. This is an added benefit enabled by the measuring and optimization processes behind the actual personalized video advertising program.

Clearly, personalization has elevated video advertising to new levels by expanding its usefulness way beyond the base use case and revolutionizing the way brands look at video in general, but how can you maximize both engagement and business results within the medium? Our perspective is that personalization goes beyond the content that is included in the video ad. The act of personalizing a video ad is actually a mixture of delivering the right information at the right time and implementing best practices in terms of where and how. So, here are four optimizations for creating the most effective personalized video ads:

5. Ad Length

Ad lengths of 15 or 30 seconds are the most effective across all industries. While this is similar to televised ad spots, retargeted video ads should NEVER be repurposed from television ads.

Here are the details for when to use a 30-second video ad versus a 15-second one:

Bid on 30-second video ads for first-time visitors and buyers – These customers have a lower impression value because they are not as likely to convert. Whether it is a prospect in the research stage, or a browser abandoning his cart, hit them with a 30-second personalized video ad to deliver your brand message, the last product viewed, and perhaps a promo code to drive them back to your site and make that purchase. Additional characteristics of a low-value customer include:

  • Infrequent visits – one to three times per month
  • Spends more time on-site (10-20 minutes) than a customer who knows what they want

Bid on 15-second video ads for repeat “shop-a-lot” customers – These customers have a high impression value because they visit your site and purchase more frequently than any other segment, such as first-time buyers or visitors. Therefore, a 15-second personalized video ad is enough to re-engage them, either by showcasing the last product viewed or the next-best action. Furthermore, repeat customers are familiar with your brand, so save those extra 15 seconds for a prospect who is not. Additional characteristics of a high-value customer include:

  • Subscribes to one-click checkout
  • Visits frequently – two or more times per week

6. In-Stream Placement

While video ads can be placed in a variety of areas on digital platforms, in-stream placement is the most effective and engaging placement – specifically pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. By delivering the personalized video ad to the prospect or customer where they are already engaging with video brands show the customer that they understand where he or she is consuming his or her content. This small detail can be the difference between an individual skipping the video within the first second and giving the video at least a few seconds to capture their attention.


Incorporating a compelling call-to-action (CTA) may seem obvious, but again, is a best practice in maximizing engagement that has been proven time and time again within personalized video ads. The addition of relevant CTAs within a video ad allows the prospect or customer to take immediate action and gives the brand a chance to easily trace the performance of a video in terms of the desired business results. Some of the best performing CTAs we’ve seen include, “Add to Cart,” “Make a Payment,” or “Click to Chat.” The best part is different versions can be tested on each individual and the one that performs best with each can then be used from that point forward.

Constant Optimization

Finally, one of the best added benefits of personalized video ads is that the modular nature of the content allows programs to be measured and optimized in an extremely easy and efficient fashion. Being able to switch out specific creative details gives brands the opportunity to test and measure every possibility for said details since creating videos that are identical other than a single detail produces the perfect multi-variate test environment. Combining this fact with the real-time nature of personalized video ads allows your brand to deliver the most effective video ad programs that you can in the most efficient way currently possible.

By following the best practices mentioned in this article you’ll be able to convert site abandoners to loyal customers in no time. In the meantime, head on over and check out our Saks Fifth Avenue personalized video ads case study to learn how one of the world’s largest retailers increased online revenue while knocking their return on ad spend goal out of the park!