As the importance of predictive data and algorithms continues to grow, marketers must devise new ways to reach and engage their audiences. This was one of the central topics at this year’s C2 Montreal, an event that brings together 5,000 executives across continents and industries to challenge their biases, shift their perspective and explore completely new ways of doing business.

On May 26, 2017, I spoke with Brandon Houston, CEO of Switch Video, a digital video marketing company based in Collingwood, Ontario. Switch works with mid-to-enterprise level companies globally to produce video content that helps tell their story. Houston and I talked about how the role of the marketer has evolved and the types of skills and tools that will be necessary in the future.

Question: How do you use predictive data and algorithms to make decisions as a video marketer?

Answer: We use predictive data and algorithms to help our clients identify their core audience as well as potential customers. We use that data to determine which video content is most relevant to them and position it to better engage them. We’re able to position specific video content based on who is viewing and drop irrelevant content. Using historical data along with real-time trend data we’re able to shift content and produce more that we know works with the audience. We can also personalize video based on the data we’ve collected on-the-fly. The ultimate goal is being able to provide relevant video content to viewers where they want it, when they want it. This in turn decreases spending marketing budgets on campaigns that don’t work and directing it where it will, ultimately providing the best return on investment.

Q: How has the explosion of mobile and social platforms (and things like Facebook, SnapChat, YouTube) changed the way you approach video?

A: It’s a mobile-first world, and marketers have to keep this in mind. Every campaign produced needs to consider mobile. Mobile now makes up at least half of all internet traffic and when you drill down to social platforms that number climbs. For example, 87 per cent of all Facebook traffic is viewed by mobile devices. We are going to see more integration of vertical video to complement those viewing trends of people. The approach to video on social platforms is shifting from traditional branded advertising to content that leverages more of a storytelling aspect that will engage viewers on an emotional level. This approach increases the shareability of video content and expands brand reach. We are going to see the old model of banner ads and brand video continue to drop off and be replaced with campaigns that engage viewers more directly through their stories.

Q: Have emerging technological platforms (AR, VR, 3D, AI) influenced your business? If so, how? What are some new technologies on the horizon?

A: Artificial intelligence is becoming highly relevant in my business. Being able to predict and learn more about your client’s viewers allows us to better create content for them. It allows us to adapt the content, personalize it, and directly engage with the viewer in an interactive way. AI is being integrated into all forms of online marketing, from websites and the content that’s produced, to how companies engage directly with customers through tools like chatbots. In video we’ve noticed the growth of personalization and interactive video over the last couple years. We’re continuing to develop that and offer it to our clients. Those technologies allow us to speak to the viewer in a way that traditional video was never able to.

Katherine Scarrow is the digital strategist of Globe Edge Content Studio. You can follow her @scarrowk

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