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The data advantage: How to target hard-to-reach audiences with video

Based on an interview with executive producer and creative director Eliot Brodsky

The data advantage: How to target hard-to-reach audiences with video

Executive-level decision-makers are a notoriously difficult-to-reach audience for marketers. In order to develop an effective video campaign for this audience, you must conduct research to drive every facet of the initiative, according to executive producer and creative director, Eliot Brodsky.

“We’ve come a long way from the stale, formulaic corporate videos of the past,” Brodsky stressed following his presentation at Brightcove’s most recent annual PLAY conference. “In today’s information-rich, social-media-driven world, the video work needs to have value, be informative, and connect with the audience, not its creator. Time is becoming more of a premium, and the best ways to not waste people’s time is to conduct research on your audience, collect data on it, and then use those insights to coordinate everything from the creative to how it reaches the viewer—delivering a personalized video experience.”

Interested in hearing some best practices for launching a data-driven video campaign? You’re in luck: Brodsky shared an example from his time at Oracle, where he recently served as the director of video strategy and production for over two years. Follow the three steps below to ensure your video reaches your target audience across channels.

1. Conduct your research

As Brodsky explained, Oracle wanted to be viewed as a future technology leader—and as a progressive brand that is taking on and supporting noble causes. To understand just how one of the company’s key target audiences—executive-level decision-makers—view Oracle in this context, the company conducted initial research of industry influencers, information technology (IT) decision-makers, and C-level corporate executives.

Based on the research findings, Brodsky’s team developed an overarching theme: “Smart companies have a vision of their future and are taking concrete steps today to secure it.” The team then used additional demographics and personal interest research on executive-level decision-makers to determine what would be the best type of creative to tap into the audience’s personal interest—and position the Oracle brand as a driving force for positive change that empowers them to take immediate action.

Take a page out of Brodsky’s book and consider how your team could benefit from performing a similar exercise. Start by determining how you want your brand to be seen in the marketplace and the type of research you can conduct to understand how to effectively develop that image.

2. Use data to drive your campaign strategy, goals, and content

To tailor its media strategy to executive behavior, Oracle used existing research to learn how to best reach and engage executive-level decision-makers. These findings prompted the team to adopt the following tactics: 

  • Amplify social content with paid promotion

  • Co-brand the content on premium news sites

  • Create an organic, mobile-friendly user experience

With their media distribution strategy in place, Brodsky’s team then leveraged data to shape the content of the video in an effort to portray Oracle as a company that is all about delivering “your tomorrow, today; and dedicated to customer-focused innovation, speed of change, anticipating what’s next, and having an action plan for getting there,” explains Brodsky.

“In our execution, we decided to showcase visionary customers that are innovating beyond current trends; tell stories through video, social posts, editorial content, and outbound advertising; and use arresting headlines and striking images to drive readers to a vision of the future.”

Additional research findings that also influenced Oracle’s creative included: 

  • The average human attention span is eight seconds

  • 82 percent of all videos on social media are watched without sound

  • Less branding helps audience retention, but hurts brand recall

In light of these findings, the team created short and focused videos that started with the most engaging content, made heavy use of on-screen text, and experimented with lighter vs. heavier branding.

“All of this research essentially boiled down to the fact that we had mere seconds to catch the attention of a busy executive as they glance at their phone between meetings,” Brodsky notes. “That’s why we knew that we had to reach them on an emotional level.”

One of the videos created for the campaign is reminiscent of the film, Gorillas in the Mist—highlighting the efforts of Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) to save mountain gorillas with the help of technology from Oracle.

3. Boost traffic via promotion

Once the creative was ready, Brodsky’s team used paid promotion to drive and boost video viewing and traffic. “We carefully balanced our budget between production costs and media spend to give the campaign the biggest bang for the buck,” Brodsky recalls. “In the end, we saw that optimized, data-driven videos outperformed other videos across all platforms. On average, these videos had double the completion rates and half the cost-per-completion.”

Using data, Brodsky and his team achieved their goals of successfully reaching executive-level decision-makers across channels, realizing a slightly positive impact on brand metrics, and producing stories that resonated with the target audience in a number of formats and environments. The video campaign generated 151 million impressions, 93 million video views, and 31 million complete views.

The results above tell one simple truth: Data can be a powerful tool for helping you understand how to create campaigns that reach your target audience effectively. Consider replicating the steps Brodsky outlined to define your brand image, conduct audience research, and leverage the insights you gain to improve your content.

Interested in learning more? Catch Brodsky’s entire presentation on data-driven video on demand at REPLAY

Eliot Brodsky used the methodology described above when employed by Oracle. He is currently an independent executive producer and creative director.

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