June 12, 2023

The case for using personalized videos in political campaigns

Personalized videos are popping up everywhere, across every industry, and political campaigns are no exception.

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Personalized videos significantly enhance political campaigns by boosting engagement and donations. Serving digital-native voters effectively, they aid in data collection and amplify campaign success.

In this short piece, we’ll walk you through the real-world benefits we’ve seen personalized videos deliver for political parties, candidates, and campaigns, and help you decide if this emerging technology is right for you.

Personalized Video: What It Is and How It Can Help Political Campaigns

You’ve likely heard of it. You might have even received a few before. But for the sake of this piece, let’s set up a shared definition of what personalized video technology is. 

To make a personalized video, you first define at least one data point from your audience. Common data points can include a constituent’s:

  • Name
  • Key election issues
  • Electoral district
  • Local politicians
  • Polling results
  • And more

You then create a video where at least one element of the video uses at least one of those data points. For example, you can create a personalized video where a candidate says the recipient’s name, mentions their electoral district, and speaks to them about the key election issues that are most relevant to them.

Even small personalization points can make a big difference and dramatically improve the performance of your campaign’s videos. A/B testing has shown that a fundraising video that says a recipient’s name can generate 2.3x more donations than a video without name reading, monthly donors that receive a personalized video as part of their onboarding is 50% more likely to still be a donor after 6 months.

We also have seen that in a majority of cases, 60-90% of recipients of personalized videos will watch a ~2 minute video until the end, compared with a 3-10 second drop-off for generic videos.  

And we aren’t the only ones to notice big benefits from personalization, and big demand for personalized experiences from the people they serve. 

  • Adobe has found 67% of consumers want personalized offers, and 72% buy more goods than planned when they receive these offers.
  • Bluecore saw a 139% increased click-through-rate on emails when they were personalized.
  • McKinsey found “Companies that grow faster drive 40 percent more of their revenue from personalization than their slower-growing counterparts.”
  • Forrester found 80% of executives put in charge of customer experience overperformed when they personalized their content.

In short: Personalization seems to work in many channels. By creating personalized videos, you can make every touchpoint between you and your constituents feel like a 1-on-1 chat. This helps you better capture your voters’ attention, increases your candidate’s relevance, and creates a snowball effect that can increase a campaign’s influence and chances for success.

No Silver Bullet: What Personalized Video Can and Can’t Do for Campaigns

Now, personalized video is not a silver bullet for political campaigns. It won’t solve every problem you might experience being heard, reaching your constituents, or winning an election. Instead, it’s just one tool in your toolbox.

However, personalized video can be a very powerful tool, and it can solve some of the big issues that political campaigns are struggling with today. Legacy media — like TV and print newspapers — are still relevant, but they aren’t being consumed to the same degree they used to (especially by younger voters). Social media has changed the way people receive information and created content overload and information silos.

Personalized video can help you overcome these challenges. Specifically, it:

  • Lets you speak 1-on-1 with every one of your voters (at any scale)
  • Helps you reach voters who don’t watch TV or read conventional news media
  • Gives you content tailor-made to be shared across social media channels
  • Increases engagement rates of social media content and emails
  • Serves the 71% of people who expect personalized content
  • Collects data and marketing consent that can be used for future campaigns

Most important, personalized video delivers measurable results for campaigns, and superior engagement rates over conventional digital tools like email alone.  

Across industries, we’ve found that personalized videos deliver 3x higher conversion, 5x more time with brands, and 7x higher engagement rates. In some of our real-world campaigns, personalized video delivered a Click-Through-Rate (CTR) of 74% — compared to an average 2.3% CTR across industries (reported by Campaign Monitor).

Within politics, we’ve seen similar results from leveraging personalized video.

In these examples, personalized video was just one element within multi-channel campaigns. Yet it made a clear impact, and delivered engagement and sharing rates significantly higher than legacy tools like email would have delivered on their own.

The Broader Strategy: Building a Snowball Effect with Personalized Videos 

Not every benefit of personalized videos can be measured. Anecdotally, we’ve seen how personalized video can help create a “snowball effect” that builds momentum for political campaigns and increases the support they receive from constituents — for both the campaign at hand, and for the candidate or party’s future campaigns. Here’s how.

To create personalized videos, you first need to either collect a lot of data from your constituents, or consolidate the data that you already have into one place, in a usable form. This alone gives you a more detailed picture of the people you are soliciting and how you can best reach them across all of your channels and efforts.

Each personalized video then has a high chance of turning its recipient into a political influencer who sends their video to people they know. This spreads the message, and encourages more people to create their own videos (giving you more data for more people, and laying the groundwork to create a viral effect).

By doing so, each personalized video extends the campaign’s reach, builds its momentum, and increases its chances of victory.

Finally, once the campaign is over, you keep the data — and the marketing consent you received from each recipient — to use in future campaigns for the candidate or party. This lets you nurture constituents between election cycles, and gives you a head-start the next time you need to capture their votes.

In this way, bringing personalized video to your campaign will increase its chances of victory both short term and long term.

Bringing Personalized Video to Your Next Campaign 

Personalized video is not a silver bullet, and it isn’t always easy to get right. It is more technical than generic videos, and requires a higher level of effort and expertise to implement. Yet — as the numbers show — investing a bit more resources into producing personalized videos pays dividends and can deliver meaningful, very high ROI results.

It won’t be right for every candidate and every campaign, but it’s worth looking into.

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