Optimizing Buyer Personas With Interactive Video Metrics
What’s one key ingredient that lies at the heart of every successful marketing campaign? A deep understanding of your ideal customer — i.e., buyer personas.
In its simplest form, the buyer persona includes market and industry research, existing customer data, and customer feedback. It helps companies paint a holistic picture of not just who potential customers are, but what motivates them to choose a particular product, service, or solution.
The results of using buyer personas speak for themselves. Companies that exceed lead and revenue goals are four times as likely to use buyer personas for demand generation than those that miss lead and revenue goals.
Especially at a time when personalization is expected, having a well-developed buyer persona is critical. However, personas are complex projects, and gathering the necessary data can be difficult.
Fortunately, video marketing offers a powerful tool to aid the development of buyer personas: interactive video.
Buyer Persona Challenges
Customer feedback provides some of the most valuable data points for buyer personas, but it’s also the most challenging to collect for a few reasons.
- Budget. Customer feedback is typically collected through direct interviews or surveys, which many companies do by hiring specialized agencies. For those that can afford it, this isn’t a challenge. But for everyone else, budget alone can make buyer personas a non-starter.
- Resources. Companies with more modest budgets may choose to task internal resources with collecting customer feedback. And for those with dedicated customer marketing teams, this may not be a challenge either. But for everyone else, interviews and surveys are time-consuming efforts. Some may prefer to draw inferences from existing customer data, but this is equally time-intensive and also requires deep analytical skills.
- Frequency. Though creating one is already hard enough, buyer personas are not one-time projects. Consumer preferences and trends are constantly shifting, which means your profiles will quickly become outdated. Some suggest they should be updated as often as every 6-12 months. Even those with the budget and resources will find this burdensome.
Interactive Video Benefits
Interactive video presents a new avenue for gathering customer feedback that eases the challenges of traditional collection methods while bringing distinct benefits.
- Convenience. Interviews and surveys are one of the best ways to gather customer feedback. However, keeping buyer personas fresh may require over-soliciting customers to collect enough responses, potentially leading to burnout. Interactive video, on the other hand, integrates customer feedback directly into your branded content. Not only does this minimize the burden on the customer, it reduces the burden on the brand to gather feedback.
- Relevance. Customer surveys and interviews, though direct, are often dependent on the respondents’ memory of brand interactions. Over time, their recollection of experiences and their particular reactions can become distorted and less reliable. In contrast, interactive video can be a source for real-time feedback, keeping the responses in context with your customer/brand relationship.
Even for those who don’t have difficulty updating their personas, interactive video offers additional data points for a more granular view of your ideal buyer.
Key Interactive Video Metrics
Interactive video is much more than a CX tool; it’s a customer data gold mine. There are a number of valuable data points you can extract from different interactive elements, but the following video metrics are a good place to start.
- Timestamps. Timestamps provide a better understanding of which topics resonate most based on when viewers take an action. They can also help you understand why certain topics or content structures are more engaging by analyzing when users take the most actions vs. when they don’t.
- Hierarchies of interests. Think of these as an interaction-based focus group. Knowing what viewers are clicking on when presented with options, and in what order, helps you better understand which topics interest them most. Interactive elements like branching or chapters are particularly valuable here. They offer insights into what viewers are prioritizing based on what they are clicking on first as well as what they’re skipping.
- Sentiment analysis. Beyond the actions they take, the sentiment viewers experience during a video can be telling. By determining if a viewer feels positively or negatively about a video or a portion of it, you can uncover areas for future optimizations. Overlays with thumbs up or down, emojis, or ratings are the quickest way to get this information.
- Quizzes/polls. By being embedded directly in the video, quizzes and polls share the benefits of interviews and surveys without the burden on marketers or participants. Keep in mind, however, that they’re most effective when used with highly-engaged audiences to maximize participation and accuracy.
Interactive Video Applications for Buyer Personas
To be clear, interactive video is not a replacement for market research, industry research, and other customer data. Nor will switching on interactivity magically spit out fully-developed buyer personas. No matter your approach, buyer personas take time. Interactive video is just another tool in a good marketing strategy. And like any other tool, you need to know where best to apply it.
Perhaps the most difficult part of creating a buyer persona is the messaging — the arduous task of reviewing all your audience research, data analysis, and customer feedback, and transforming it into catchy phrases that capture attention and compel action.
In short, messaging is the product of inferences. It’s what marketers think their customers need to hear in order to buy. But it’s still a guess. And they don’t know if it will work until they test it, often through expensive and time-consuming focus groups.
Interactive video gives you another platform to test your buyer persona messaging.
You can use hierarchies of interest (i.e., interaction-based focus groups) to test control messages against variants. Or, for more direct feedback, you can leverage quizzes or polls to gauge viewer reactions.
Filling in Data Gaps
Even the most thoroughly researched and carefully developed buyer persona will have blind spots — areas where the information is incomplete or inferred. Interactive video helps address these gaps.
- Psychographic. Psychographic data that captures the motives and values of your target audience is often the biggest data gap. For example, how do your customers feel about ESG standards? Does it vary by persona? An interactive quiz promoting the same product with different value statements could help uncover this. Clicking on “I buy this product to help the environment” vs. “I buy this product to support local economies” paints a clearer picture of audience values.
- Demographic. Demographic information about your audience’s age, gender identity, or education isn’t usually the biggest gap, but some details can be elusive, like household structure. For example, are your customers likely to have kids? Here again, interactivity can help. Imagine you have a kid’s version of a popular product. You could add it as a product recommendation overlay in a video and track the interactivity data. Based on the overlay click-throughs, you can gauge what percentage of your audience has children.
FAQs for Analyzing Interactive Video Metrics
Like any marketing tactic, interactivity has to be analyzed in context with your audience. While industry benchmarks may provide a broad frame of reference, they’re much less helpful in projecting how different types of customers will interact with your content. Review the following FAQs to help you get started.
Is there such a thing as too much interactivity?
This will largely depend on your content and your audience. Audiences that are particularly loyal to your brand have a higher tolerance for interactivity. However, keep an eye on your engagement rates. If you notice a significant drop, or even a consistent but less significant drop, it might be time to reassess.
Which interactions are best?
Short answer: The ones that are generating the most engagement while yielding the most valuable insights. Discrepancies in the results between various pieces of content or interactive elements are actually a good thing. They’ll help identify which interactions engage your audiences most while also producing the most effective results.
How can I tell when to use certain interactions?
That depends on the objective you’re looking to achieve. For example, if you want to better understand the hierarchies of interest among your audience, branching can provide those insights. If you're looking to gather demographic data, quizzes will offer the best and most direct results. If you want to know how viewers perceive your content, sentiment analysis will help you uncover those feelings.
Content, audience, or interactivity—which is the issue?
A/B testing is the best way to isolate variables, but there are other things you can watch out for as well. For example, changing the text or presentation of a CTA can make all the difference, especially with some audiences who may need more explicit instructions. Watching when viewers leave your video, like during a segment without interactivity, can also be a clue. Tracking no interactions at all could mean you’re targeting the wrong audience. And determining patterns of user behavior can help you easily identify anomalies.
Which of my findings are actionable?
If you see a clear connection between specific interactions and certain outcomes, it’s likely that the data is actionable. That said, be sure you have a strong and representative sample size that gives more credibility to the findings. The more data you have, the more patterns you can establish. And the more patterns you can establish, the more you can identify spikes and trends in user behavior that are worth acting upon.
Interactivity’s Potential for Video Analytics
Today’s shifting marketing landscape and consumer desire for personalized, relevant content make buyer personas table stakes. They’re no longer just a marketing tool; they’re a clear competitive differentiator and a truly valuable business asset.
Traditional methods of obtaining feedback and insights like interviews and surveys still have their merits. But interactive video has emerged as a powerful tool to bring precision, depth, and clarity to understanding your target persona. All while being less of a burden and using fewer resources.
Beyond the customer experience interactive video provides, now is the time to harness its potential for data-driven marketing strategies.