Watch the Scriptwriting for Personalized Videos Video

Total running time: 15:09

1. The Fundamentals: What to Know Before You Start

Data First

Build the creative concept on the data you know is available.
Often, data we think is available — turns out not to be.


  1. Is the data available?
    • Data sometimes exists across different and often out-dated systems. Always test and confirm data availability.
  2. Is the data reliable?
    • Having data does not mean that data is accurate and up to date.
    • For example:
      1. Rank: If you have data about people’s titles, is that updated every time there is a promotion?
      2. Does your system enter default fallbacks for unknown fields? If so, are the defaults accurate?
  3. Are we allowed to use the data?
    • Avoid using PII (personally identifiable information) or other data points; security may block these.


To hit a target, aim for it.

  • Remember your key objectives and keep the messaging focused accordingly.
  • What is the top action (or inaction) you want the viewer to take?
  • How will success be measured (See KPI’s)?

The personalized video should focus on your top goals.

Know Your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)

Which scores matter to the people who matter?

  • The success of any Personalized Video is measured by its ability to deliver on the outlined KPI’s. These should inform the content included and the messaging hierarchy.
  • Sample list of KPI’s include:
    • Increased Email Open Rate
    • Email Click through rate
    • Video view rate
    • CTA click rate
    • Log in rate
    • Conversion rate
    • Call reduction
    • Enrollments, Purchases, sign-ups, or other actions the project is specifically designed to drive
  • Some KPIs can be quantitatively measured. Others are more “qualitative” and difficult to measure.
    • KPIs like “brand stickiness” take a long time to measure and are impacted by countless variables (not just any one video)
  • Scriptwriting tip: Be sure to check your Personalized Video script against your KPIs to ensure the top KPIs have been accounted for.
    • ⚠️ DO NOT: Build for 1 goal and then measure for another.


☞ Get key stakeholders involved early.
Anyone whose opinion matters should be involved early.

This might include:

  • Senior Leadership
  • Legal
  • Brand
  • Marketing
  • Product Owners
  • Other relevant members involved with the projekt.

2. Writing Your Personalized Video

Non-Linear Storytelling

Traditional video scripts have a defined beginning, middle and end (and thus, a defined total length). Whereas personalized Video scripts are dynamic, can be modular, and are data-driven. To ensure your script adheres to this formula, remember the following:

  • Scriptwriting should take into account that not all information will be in every iteration of a video.
  • This means that one PV (Personalized Video) script can have multiple iterations and thus different minimum and maximum lengths that must be accounted for.
  • “Choose your own adventure” style interactivity empowers the viewer to take multiple paths through the video.


A flowchart is an easy way to organize your project and visualize all alternative scenes.
It should be viewed as a living document, with updates made as you progress. The more detail the better, a few things to include:

  • Audio file names
  • Personalized elements (including the parameter name)
  • All alternative scenes

Tip: Try Lucidchart – a free and easy flowchart tool.

Consider the Big Picture

Remember that everything is connected and that:

  • Each scene does not exist in its own silo.
  • While not every scene will appear in every video, it is important to consider how one scene flows into the next.
  • Ask yourself if the scene flows naturally and makes sense from the user’s experience.

Choose Your Own Adventure

“Choose your own adventure” style interactivity empowers the viewer to take multiple paths through the video.

Less is More

Video length and CTA rate are inversely proportional.

Shorter Videos = Higher Engagement

  • When viewers feel like they are done watching before video completion, the common behavior is to close the browser - not click the CTA. Thus, the video’s completion rate is strongly tied to the CTA rate.

Run Time

We are all battling for the “attention economy.” So before the viewer decides they’d rather be doing something else, we need to get their attention and get to the point.

Under 90 seconds is a good general estimate of a maximum video length.
However, this can certainly vary depending on the use case and other unique variables.

Quality vs. Quantity

The Attention Economy” is the battle for people’s attention. At any moment, they could decide they would rather check their phone/email/social media/anything else instead of watching their personalized video. So we need to get to the point- quickly and concisely.

Shorter videos have higher retention rates and should incorporate some of the following points.

  • The goal is not to tell the viewer everything. The goal is for the viewer to retain the most important information.
  • Increasing the quantity of information increases the likelihood that it will be ignored.

Bottom Line: Choose quality over quantity of information.


If you try to tell someone everything, they will hear nothing.
Information overload results in a “brain freeze.”

Prioritize goals and eliminate the lower priorities. This will ensure people remember the key points and stay focused on those key points.
This often means parting with some messaging we genuinely love. Mourn the loss and move on; it’s not worth sacrificing your most important goals.

“Should We?” vs. “Can We?”

Keep the focus on “What will be most effective?” and
Not, “Can we do it?”

  • The simpler approach is also often the most effective.

Show, Don’t Tell

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Keep in mind video is a visual medium. Whenever possible, let the visuals tell your story. A good visual metaphor says a lot, a lot more effectively, and quicker than a lengthy spoken explanation.

Think, “Mobile First”

The majority of views will be on mobile.
So always have a “mobile first” attitude.

  • Review the content on small screens.
  • Consider vertical or square formatting for mobile optimization.

3. Additional Tips

Be a Human Translator

Writing a script isn’t just about taking a list of talking points and placing them in a video. The true art of a quality Personalized Video is to write in a tone that your audience can relate to. To accomplish this, you should:

  • Strive to make your scripts as conversational as possible.
  • Write like you speak: Viewers are more receptive to language that mirrors how people talk in everyday life.
  • Read the room: Understand the context of your P.V. and make sure that the tone and approach are appropriate given the subject matter.

It’s Not About You

Think from the viewer’s perspective.

  • What’s in it for them [the viewer]?
  • Why should they care?
  • Does this connect to what they are already thinking about?
  • What do they want to know?
  • How will this help them?

You can start with your own goals. Then ask, “Why would the viewer care?”

Get Personal, Immediately

Use personalization within the first few moments of a video when possible.

By adding the viewer's name to a video in the first few seconds, there’s an uplift of 60% in engagement to watch the video until the end.

  • Be focused with your personalization
    • It might be tempting to add as many variables as possible, consider what information will be meaningful to the viewer, and focus on that.
  • Find personalization in unexpected places
    • Ask yourself: are there interesting ways to personalize your script that would delight or surprise the viewer?

Overt vs. Covert Personalization

Overt = Open
The viewer is aware of the personalization

Covert = Hidden
The viewer may not be aware of the personalization.

Both are incredibly effective when used well.

Calls To Action

Strike while the iron is hot- Make sure you include a call to action that drives the next step you want viewers to take.

  • Placing your Calls to Action (CTA’s), usually as an interactive button or directive at the end of your script, allows animators to create a final end frame lockup that avoids confusion for the viewer.
  • Ideally, we want viewers to act on a CTA when the video is completed.
    • If a user presses a button before the video is completed, it can adversely impact performance metrics.

First Drafts

When creating your first draft, bear in mind the following:

  • Writing is a process.
  • Write first. Edit second.
  • Perfection is the enemy of progress.