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Zumba Cranks Up Response with Personalized Video Email

By Ken Magill
Does personalized video in email work? Well, the folks at Zumba Fitness are convinced it does.
Zumba recently sent a video email campaign touting registration for its annual fitness instructor convention in Orlando using Rukus, a Brooklyn-based start-up company that specializes in providing personalized video for email campaigns. 
The campaign featured two video emails: one personalized, one generic.
Unfortunately, the opening frames of the two messages were different enough to render this test questionable as a true A/B split. But the results were compelling enough that they’re worth considering.
The generic video email opened with: “Master the Business of Fun."
The personalized video opened with a scene from last year’s event featuring the instructor’s name.
Wayne Miller, Zumba’s senior manager, email and marketing automation said he became aware of Rukus at the Direct Marketing Association’s fall conference in Chicago last October. He added he began to consider using Rukus when he started strategizing marketing Zumba’s fitness instructor convention this year.
“When we started getting into the strategy on how we were going to market our instructor convention as the event they need to attend to take their career to the next level, we wanted to put them in the experience before they got there,” said Miller.
“We had a generic promo reel we were already working on with footage of the last two or three years,” he said. “We sent them [Rukus] over some of that footage and got on some calls and walked through what some personalization moment s might look like in some of the footage we already had.”
The personalized video email addresses recipients by name at various points throughout.
“Since it [personalized email video] was so new and carries a bit of a price tag we wanted to make sure we were getting some lift out of it,” Miller said.
The campaign was sent only to instructors residing in the U.S.
“To compare apples to apples, we held out a control group in the U.S. rather than hold out international instructors who were going to convert at a lower rate anyway,” he said.
Zumba sent the messages to an undisclosed number of recipients. Ninety percent received the personalized versiuon. Ten percent received the generic version.
“The subject line was slightly different because we were really trying to optimize the personalized version so it skewed the open rate a little bit, but what we saw on the personalized version was just worlds ahead of the non-personalized version,” Miller said. “Our click-to-open rate was actually the highest we’ve ever had on a promotional email.”
According to Miller, the personalized messages’ open rate was just over 40 percent. The open rate on the control was 31 percent.
Moreover, the click–to-open rate—of the subscribers who opened, what percentage clicked—of the personalized messages was over 50 percent compared to 18 percent for the non-personalized messages, according to Miller.
The click rate for the personalized version was 20.6 percent compared to 5.4 percent for the generic version, according to Miller.
There was apparently one downside to the campaign, however.
“We are getting some negative feedback,” said Miller. “Since the instructor community is so tight knit, a few control group members are aware of the other and are disappointed they didn’t get a personalized video.”
Miller said Zumba is considering using personalized video email in a welcome series of messages to new members.
See the Zumba convention campaign here.

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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by: robinteractive
Date: 2014-05-13 15:49:13
Subject: You Are Mighty

I'm assuming a person needed to click through to the site to see the video. Reminds me of the You Are Mighty site from years back, where (don't click, site is defunct now) would embed the name Magill in the Flash video, which is super-easy to do with Flash and url variables. Of course Flash doesn't work on those pesky iOS devices... I would have been more impressed if the button at the end of the video (within the video) took me to the registration form. It simply replays the video. Kudos to the page designer for aligning the non-working registration button within the video with the working button lower on the page. If a person were simply going for first-name video personalization on the cheap for some preliminary A/B testing (I don't work at a place with a humongous budget, I tend to think low-cost for testing and even implementation), a list could be scoured for the most common first names, separate videos created for some of those names, and test those vs. a generic control video. Or tested with personalized images based on url variable.