Personalization and customization aren’t identical. They do share some similarities, but their starting points and end results are different.
It’s important for marketers and brands to recognize the distinction to avoid confusion when establishing goals and objectives. With that said, knowing the difference will help you choose the right approach when it comes to developing content.
Let’s take a look at some textbook definitions of two terms.
Personalization, as described by TechTarget, is “a means of meeting the customer’s needs more effectively and efficiently, making interactions faster and easier and, consequently, increasing customer satisfaction and the likelihood of repeat visits”. To put it more plainly, personalization is a tailored experience based on a consumer’s previous behaviours.
Customization, on the other hand, is the action of modifying something to suit a particular individual or task.
Both functions involve the manipulation of marketing content, services or products. But with customization, the user guides the changes directly. For personalization, the provider or producer creates those changes for the user.
For example, let’s say you frequently dine at a fast food restaurant. A customized experience would be telling the server what toppings you want on your burger, and how much of those toppings you’d like. If the experience were personalized, a server who has memorized your favourite order would make it for you without asking since you ask for it every time. They might even take things a step further by bringing your meal to your table.
These are two completely different experiences. The result may be similar, but personalization allows you to delight users by providing an effortlessly bespoke experience.
Remember, the key factor that differentiates personalization and customization revolves around the person making the changes. This distinction applies to video content. A customized video would allow the viewer to make changes to the content, while a personalized video would be tailored for the viewer based on their preferences.
Choose your own adventure narratives are making a comeback, especially with hits such as Netflix’ Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. Choose your own adventure videos are great examples of customization because they’re presented in a format that allows viewers to make decisions (namely, what choices a character will make). The narrative experience will change depending on what the user wants for the character.
In that same vein, an interactive product video tour would encourage the viewer to click on certain product features. Naturally, each viewer would experience the product differently based on personal interests.
When a video is personalized for the viewer, the producer has built a video around data they have obtained about the customer. This data could include information about their age, gender, location and behavioural trends such as their purchase history and frequently viewed pages.
The difference between a personalized video versus a customized video can have a drastic effect on your marketing/business objectives. Customizable videos are a great way to gather additional information about your audience. On the other hand, a personalized video would be a great way to engage audiences and increase conversions.
With these differences explained, you might wonder “which is the best path to take for my video content?”
The “right choice” depends largely on the needs of your audience and the objectives of your business. In many cases, brands may use both at different times in the buyer journey. But for the sake of meeting modern demands from audiences, there are advantages that come with video personalization.
Additionally, there are numerous benefits to one’s brand if they incorporate personalization, including:
Creating a personalized video will take more work upfront since you have to collect data and then build it into a template. With that said, it is manageable if you choose the right platform. For example, our IndiVideo platform makes it easy to create and scale personalized videos for your existing customer base and is built to help brands achieve high levels of measurable engagement.
With a deeper understanding of how personalization and customization differ, you can make more strategic decisions about approaching either option.