understand viewer personas to drive engagement

Ever spend a ton of time and money producing a video, only to get a lackluster number of plays, and zero engagement from your viewers?

Clearly, you missed the mark somehow. We all have at some point. The key is to learn how to avoid falling flat with your video content.

By researching your audience, and understanding your target viewers, you can ensure you only create engaging content they’ll return to time and again. Here is how to get to know your audience, build targeted viewer personas, and use that knowledge to improve your video marketing strategy.

Understand Your Audience

A great way to understand why people visit your website, and to find some inspiration for video topics, is to examine your search terms report.
You can look at your search terms report in either Google Analytics, Webmaster or Adwords.

To access this report in Google Analytics, go to your main website profile, and open the Keywords report under the Acquisition section, and look at the Organic Keywords report. Sort them by Total Visitors, New Visitors, Conversions or Conversion Rate to get a sense of what different people are looking for when they click on your page.

In Adwords, go to the Keywords tab for your campaign, click on Details, and select “All” instead of “Selected” to see all the search terms that are triggering your ads. Sort by Clicks, Click Conversions or Conversion Rate to get a sense of what is working and what is not.

With Google Webmaster, under Search Traffic, click on Search Queries, and review total Clicks and Click Through Rate, as well as your site’s Average Position for different terms. If possible, use all three tools to get a clear picture of how your website is performing against different search terms.

This type of insightful analysis can help guide your content optimization strategy. You can take a deeper dive by also looking at behavior by traffic source rather than just search terms.

The key questions to answer include the following:

  • What are people searching for? Do you specifically offer it?
  • If they search for your product, are they clicking through to your website?
  • Are they clicking through, but not converting?
  • Are most people who convert searching for specific characteristics of your product or services?
  • Do specific sources deliver higher quality traffic than others?

Build Viewer Personas

Detailed and accurate viewer personas are a tried and true cornerstone of successful content marketing campaigns. It helps you clarify who you want to reach, and how to reach them.

A viewer persona is a visual or written depiction of a prototypical person who might view your videos. By identifying different groups of viewers you want to target, and pinpointing their demographics and interests, you’ll be better able to make content that appeals to them.

A persona can be as detailed as you need it to be. You could even select a stock photo, or profile of an actual customer, that best represents who you are trying to reach.

Naming and visualizing the viewers you are trying to target can help define how you might speak to them. For example, when you have someone specific in mind, you can ask yourself, “What would Brenda want to watch?”

If you don’t want to go that far, you might stick to abstract demographics and topical interests to guide how you shape your videos. This is still very valuable information.

However you define your personas, be consistent across each separate group you’d like to target. Then, try to figure out what type of content they engage with and share online. This will help you understand how best to reach them with a message they will connect with.

Design Your Content

Using this information, you can design video content specific to your viewers’ interests. Ideally, you can use these targeted videos to drive engagement, lead generation, or conversions on your website.

For instance, do a lot of your site visitors search for a specific product or service offering? Make an explainer video, or an introductory video for your company and services. Provide video subtitles to improve accessibility, and to help with your search rankings by improving keyword density on the page. Optimize the title and description of the video against the specific search terms you are targeting. If possible, coordinate the landing page URL with these tags as well.

For another example, are a lot of people who search for a particular product or service bouncing off the page before they can find it? Video has been shown to improve time on the page. If you target those specific site visitors with video content, you will help them find what they are looking for. Place it above the fold, and consider auto-playing it to grab their attention.

If, rather than a specific group of keywords, you found that a lot of your conversions come from email offers, you might want to focus your video content on growing your list. You can use email-gated videos, or a post-roll call-to-action to drive lead generation on your site. Depending on the video they watched, you might want to design your email campaigns differently. Or, include additional video content to improve click through rates to your website.

It’s challenging to truly optimize against specific viewer personas. Keep testing different ideas for videos, landing pages, and lead generation to see what works.

How do you optimize your video content? Please tell us about it in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter!

Written by Courtney Purchon

Courtney is the Head of Marketing at SproutVideo. Follow her on Twitter.

Posted March 24, 2014

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