As the lead of digital US events for Microsoft, Kaila Bongiovanni is always aiming to help the Redmond-based tech company reach a bigger audience and increase the ROI of the events it produces throughout the year. Bongiovanni oversees four large quarterly virtual events, and the broadcasts play a pivotal role in attracting new leads for Microsoft. However, the live streams of these virtual programs are only part of the strategy; the OnDemand content produced has become a key factor in generating new potential customers. In fact, Bongiovanni says that approximately 50 percent of Microsoft’s audience now views the content in the OnDemand phase through platforms such as video libraries and third party content hubs. Two years ago, that figure was roughly 30 percent.
“It’s been a big shift, and it’s created a significant increase in the number of people who are engaging with our content,” Bongiovanni says.
Embracing OnDemand Opportunities
Bongiovanni and the Microsoft team have adapted their approach to accommodate the rise in online viewers. “Three years ago, we might only post the keynote speaker and one of the other opening sessions online,” Bongiovanni says. “Now, we post everything. We slice up all the sessions, and every minute of our programming becomes part of our OnDemand strategy.”
Bongiovanni doesn’t expect an online viewer to spend countless hours combing through all the material to find what they want to watch. She works with a production team and a video editor to cut sessions into bite-sized content. Each piece of online content averages approximately 15 minutes. “We don’t like to go much longer because it’s much easier to lose the attention of an online audience,” Bongiovanni says.
Many of those viewers may never make it through an entire event or program track, but that’s just fine with Bongiovanni. “Some people may only watch one or two sessions, but we can gain a lot from that engagement. Whether they give us their contact information or we’re able to intelligently retarget them with relevant advertising, that initial touch point is essential.”
Powering Engagement With Online Partners
Creating OnDemand content is only the first step. Bongiovanni highlights the importance of disseminating the material in a range of places to increase the likelihood that new potential customers may interact with the content. “You have to outline a structure of where you’ll post your video content,” she says. “That depends on the amount of content you have and your objectives, as well as budget.”
“You should post the videos on your owned properties, take advantage of the free platforms available to you; your own website and your company’s social channels, for example,” Bongiovanni adds. “If the event is big enough, it may make sense to create and brand its own YouTube channel.”
In addition, Bongiovanni says there are a number of third-party platforms that allow organizations to upload their videos into the cloud, embed the video in a range of places online and track the results with robust analytics tools. For planners and marketers interested in exploring some options, Vidyard, BrightTALK, Uberflip and Brightcove all offer ways to help drive more traffic to OnDemand content.
Before experimenting with any video partners, though, Bongiovanni stresses the importance of answering one key question. “You should determine if the content will be gated and require some kind of registration information or if it will be available for anyone to view,” she says. “Think about your goals. Are you aiming to drive awareness, or are you collecting information for lead generation?”
While there are plenty of questions related to how planners and marketers should capture and distribute content for their organizations, one piece is certain: everyone needs an OnDemand strategy.”People are busy,” Bongiovanni says. “They may not be able to participate during a live event, so it’s important to let them consume the content when it works for their schedules.”
If you’re looking to learn more about Bongiovanni’s approach at the Microsoft CIO Summit, click here to learn how she and her team have increased the virtual event’s ROI. Interested in even more insights on virtual events and OnDemand programming? As the DES Course Subject Matter for the Production module and a member of the VEI Advisory Board, Bongiovanni has plenty of expertise to share. Click here to send her a message on LinkedIn.