Want to know the best strategies for reaching a target audience through the power of video? Take a cue from an expert on what it takes to share content that entertains the 18-34 male demographic.
In the realm of digital content, the days of succeeding in isolation are done. As holding companies absorb agencies, content aggregators like Hulu and Digg form strategic alliances with content providers, and media conglomerates annex pretty much everything in their paths, partnerships are tearing down the silos and walled gardens that kept a powerful hold on consumer interests but sacrificed true engagement across multiple shared interests.
Online video is a prime example of how the worlds of digital content are now colliding. iMedia Connection was fortunate enough to speak with Andrew Budkofsky of Break Media -- which has been on the forefront of content networking for stronger targeting relevance -- to get some perspective on how banding together affects the business of narrowing marketing targets down to the most interested consumers.
iMedia Connection: Given Break Media's success in targeting men age 18-34, are you thinking of branching out into other demographics? What do you see as the next lucrative opportunity in niche targeting?
Andrew Budkofsky: We're seeing success with clients across every demographic through our video ad network, which was most recently ranked the third-largest by comScore. Our ad server allows us to target audiences both demographically and psychographically, which is a huge advantage when going after niche markets.
iMedia: Niche marketing is definitely an area set to take off, particularly as localization becomes more feasible and popular. What recommendations can you offer for marketers looking to target specific demographic groups?
Budkofsky: Be authentic and informed! Make sure you speak to them in an informed voice and don't force content that doesn't speak to them directly. The key is to truly understand a specific demographic and what makes them tick. Understanding behavioral trends gives the insight to back up intelligent marketing decisions.
iMedia: As EVP of brand partnerships at Break Media, what advice would you give to brands that are looking to create stronger online partnerships with publishers? How do you personally evaluate the opportunities you come across to decide whether or not a partnership would be beneficial?
Budkofsky: Partnerships, by nature, are two-way. The dialogue that brands need to have with publishers should be trusting. At the end of the day, the reason publishers are successful is because they've attracted valuable audiences based on their ability to speak with them in a voice that makes sense. Brands should leverage that, not interfere with it.
iMedia: Break -- and particularly your flagship site, Break.com -- has gained solid ground in the world of online video. What tips can you share for making branded video work?
Budkofsky: Strive to create video that speaks in the voice of the publisher and feels natural to the consumers. Consumers are smart and can sense when a piece of branded content is forced.
iMedia: When creating a branded video effort, the goal for many brands seems to be to "go viral" without any real strategy for achieving this, or a way to leverage a viral video into a plan that will meet established marketing goals. So how do you walk the line between creating a viral video and seeming like you are trying too hard and getting nothing in return?
Budkofsky: It's a fine line for sure. Brands come to us all the time and tell us they want a viral video without truly understanding why or how a video goes viral. Brands should avoid spending tremendous resources on the production of videos without a strategy for syndicating and distributing them. We recommend strategies that place the video in an environment online where it will watched the most and engaged with by audiences, that way there is a tremendous amount of earned media garnered along with traditional ROI.
iMedia: Speaking of engaging with video, this year three-dimensional films hit the box offices in a big way, and 3-D video is poised to follow. What's your stance on this trend? Does 3-D video have a place online right now, or is it too new and too expensive to really be embraced by consumers?
Budkofsky: There is absolutely a place for 3-D. We're seeing viewers and advertisers want more of their video in higher-definition quality, with more-advanced technical capabilities like 3-D. With the ongoing convergence of the web and TV, the demand for 3-D content online is increasing every day. We've come up with some great ways to partner with brands to distribute 3-D glasses; and it's not about cost, it's about quality content and there's more coming online every day.
iMedia: Can you give an example of an online video campaign you've seen that you feel is a really strong creative and marketing effort?
Budkofsky: I can appreciate the campaigns that play off of each other from a creative perspective across media. It's impressive when a client gets it right and offers me content unique to my experience, whether it be on a smartphone, the iPad, PC, or TV. Video is engaging, and when clients utilize the distribution methods dynamically, it's easy for me to feel good about the brand participating in it.
Jodi Harris is senior editor at iMedia Connection.
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