According to popular urban legend, goldfish have almost no memory — an idea can stay in their heads for no longer than nine seconds before bubbling out of their brains, never to return. Scientists, being killjoys, have more or less debunked this myth. A goldfish is not surprised by the little plastic castle in its tank every time it swims past, as its incredibly short memory is mostly a myth.
At least it’s a myth when applied to fish. Goldfish memory is a real phenomenon easily observable in the average American consumer casting about on a digital commerce journey. In fact, goldfish memory for some merchants is a condition to be hoped for — as a whole nine seconds of the consumer’s interest would represent an improvement over how they are doing now.
Given that consumers are flooded with stimulus trying to catch their attention, and that’s not likely to do anything but increase as consumers move more of their lives online.
“First and foremost, it’s all about relevance. Because if you’re not relevant, then you’re already lost in that short attention span,” SundaySky CEO Jim Dicso told Karen Webster in a recent conversation.
Data-driven video experiences, what SundaySky specializes in, have an advantage in the arena. Video content does tend to be more immediately attention-grabbing than text or images alone. However, that advantage is largely lost if the video content consumers see is generically designed to capture a wide cross-section. Trying to design for everybody, Dicso said, often means designing for no one, or at least leaving a large cross-section of possible consumers behind by offering up content not relevant to their needs.
Depending on how big the miss, he said, you run the risk of creating a bad experience instead of a good one.
This is why SundaySky, he noted, uses data to make sure customers are seeing something that makes real sense to show them.
Traditionally, video content is created as a single asset with a linear narrative, rendered once and sent to a content management system. When a consumer comes to a website and clicks the video content, that one video is pulled from a database and displayed.
And no matter who that customer is, Dicso noted, they see the same video.
SundaySky works differently. SundaySky doesn’t pre-build one complete video package that it pulls from a database. Instead, he noted, it builds micro video segments that can be combined and recombined in different ways based on the consumer clicking on the video to ensure the most relevant experience for that individual person.
“Our cloud platform makes a call to the data sources and uses its data about the consumer and the brand to select scenes from the scene library, and then dynamically render the content for the person based on the data. So six different people can click play and all of would have a different experience. In fact, I could click two hours from now and have a different experience if something in my data has changed,” he said.
And that switch to automating video production to be bespoke in presentation, based on the data of the person is watching it, he notes, is the path to offering up content relevant to the consumer — and a chance of holding their interest.
Where Custom-Cut Video Content Works
As consumer demand for video content and time in front of the screen has changed during the pandemic period, so has demand for the platform shifted. Dicso said SundaySky has worked with telecom companies, for example, to help them create videos for consumers during the time when sending technicians to consumers’ homes was a no-go. They’ve helped banks build better onboarding content for their customers. They’ve seen demand for their technology pushed into loyalty programs where there is often a complex set of data that needs to be parsed out for the loyalty customer to maximize their enjoyment of the program itself.
“There’s lots of different journeys where we can leverage this kind of capability to really drive a deeper customer relationship,” Dicso said.
Because no matter what happens next in these uncertain times, he said, what they can know today is that video experiences need to be improved where consumers encounter them, simply because those consumers’ expectations are higher than they’ve ever been.
The reality is that people are expecting more and more relevance and they’re consuming content very differently today than they ever had, he said. All of the advertising we see is already highly data-driven.
“And since that is true, all content should be data-driven as well,” he said. “The variability of the message is critical and the ability to appropriately use data to vary the content of the message is also critical.”