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How CFA Institute More Than Tripled Engagement

Social and Live Stream Video Boost Membership, Brand Awareness

CFA Institute is the world’s premier association of investment management professionals. This non-profit, membership organization is the official administrator of the Chartered Financial Analyst® Program. In order to be awarded the CFA charter, one of the most recognized and respected financial designations, candidates must pass a series of three exams, complete a work experience requirement, and annually attest to adherence to professional conduct guidelines. It’s also one of the hardest financial designations to receive—typically, only about one-fifth of program candidates earn the CFA designation.

Historically, CFA Institute dedicated its marketing resources toward current and future members, deriving its revenue primarily from membership and exam fees. Past CFA Institute marketing communications, such as emails, direct mailings, and printed flyers, focused on providing educational content for members. However, a shift in marketing strategy led the organization to develop a broader approach to increase awareness of its overall mission: to promote the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence in the investment industry for the betterment of society.

CFA Institute turned to Brightcove to help achieve these new marketing goals. Using video as a core marketing tool, the organization hoped to target not just existing CFA Institute members and candidates, but also institutional and individual investors, all in the pursuit of establishing higher standards within the investment industry.

“The idea was to build awareness of the organization’s high standards and promote how CFA Institute and its members both embody these values and help deliver improved outcomes for membership and the broader society,” says Mitchell Forst, CFA Institute global video production manager. “By calling on the investment industry as a whole to measure up to these same high standards, we can build greater trust and market integrity, which will benefit everyone.”

Localized Video Marketing Campaign Boosts Global Awareness

To transform its overall marketing strategy, CFA Institute collaborated with Brightcove to deliver better, more broadly-targeted brand awareness video campaigns. And while the organization continued producing educational video content for its membership base, the organization decided to allocate a majority of its video spend toward worldwide thought leadership efforts.

CFA Institute debuted its most extensive video awareness campaign, “Let’s Measure Up,” a multi-million dollar, multi-year initiative to raise awareness among financial services audiences. Hosted on, and distributed through, Brightcove’s Video Marketing Suite, the global campaign profiled some of the organization’s charterholders who have “measured up” by going above and beyond. The campaign ran in all 73 CFA Institute markets in which charterholders reside, including Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and the Americas. Through Brightcove’s global delivery platform, campaign producers were able to track engagement and web traffic from around the world. After seeing upticks in viewership in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions, the CFA Institute video team coordinated with those local offices to produce location-specific campaigns, complete with subtitles and culturally relevant content.

“One of the things we really appreciate about Brightcove is its ability to let us see who’s watching, where people are dropping off, and what works better in certain markets,” says Forst.

Since the organization’s introduction of localized video marketing, there’s been a tremendous growth in interest from the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions. One of the reasons, Forst says, is video: “Video has played a big part of the growing interest in these local communities, especially among the younger, more tech-savvy demographic. They’re more inclined to be on social media and watch videos. And this new marketing effort has benefited the organization in many ways, including record-setting exam registrations and rapidly growing levels of top of mind awareness.” Currently, CFA Institute is working to create more localized video content for each of its regional markets, using Brightcove to support distribution.

CFA Institute Triples Engagement Score Using Brightcove Analytics

Among Brightcove’s capabilities, its analytics functionality and analytics API have proven most significant for CFA Institute. With analytics providing Forst and his video team precise data to measure video marketing efforts, they’ve developed a far better understanding of what aspects of video drive results. For instance, they’ve learned to keep a close eye on drop-off rates to determine ideal video lengths. And they’ve been able to identify key engagement-driving factors.

“We’ve learned to target our email and video campaigns toward different audiences at specific times of the day,” says Forst. “We’ve also been able to make much more informed decisions about the types of video our audience will be receptive to, with respect to content, length, and format. That was a big learning for us.”

One example that showcases Brightcove analytics’ tremendous value is in the video, “What to Expect on Exam Day.” Part of the organization’s exam preparation series, the video explains what candidates need to bring and what they shouldn’t forget on the day of their exam. It was the first opportunity for CFA Institute to put the full extent of Brightcove analytics to work and, according to Forst, results proved just how critical the analytical data was to the video production process.

“Our first attempt at the video was disappointing. The analytics showed it was way too long, and people dropped off because it wasn’t engaging.”

But the analytics also uncovered that the video attracted increased views and engagement in the run up to exams. Considering these factors, Forst and his team went back to the drawing board and recreated a far more effective version of the same video. They reshot it with a professional actress and shortened it. They also decided to release it twice a year, close to exam days, to maximize peak watching periods. “It turned out a lot better,” Forst says. “And it’s now one of our most popular videos.”

In 2017, “What To Expect on Exam Day” drew 53,000 views and a 71 engagement score—that’s more than three times its previous score of 20. And out of 4,000+ CFA Institute video assets, it’s one of the highest ranked videos for engagement.

Annual Conference Draws 20K Live Stream and Social Video Views

CFA Institute also employs live stream video and social media marketing to increase views and engagement. For large-scale events, such as internal meetings, conferences, and outreach programs, the organization delivers live stream footage to its Brightcove Gallery Live page, giving off-site participants the chance to watch from their personal computers and mobile devices. Using Brightcove Social, CFA Institute posts the live content simultaneously to its Twitter, Weibo, and LinkedIn accounts. And after any live event, footage is cut down to smaller VOD clips, which are then posted to the group’s very active social network. Among its growing number of live stream video events, the organization’s annual conferenceand Research Challenge rank as most popular. Last year’s Research Challenge attracted over 10,000 live views across all distribution channels, while 2017’s annual conference drew over 20,000 views from live and VOD content combined.

Thanks to Brightcove Social, Forst says video distribution has become much more efficient, which he believes has impacted audience reach: “Through the social tool, we’re able to make clips rapidly. It also allows people in the organization to self-serve and find clips themselves, which saves us a lot of time and expense. I think we’re reaching new viewers just by being able to make those clips available faster to audiences on social media.”

He continues: “We’ve learned a lot about engagement. It’s definitely higher than it was five years ago, and we attribute that to the better content we’ve been able to create using Brightcove. Brightcove has all the tools we need, and it’s a great choice for any size organization, large or small.”


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