Small programs with big impacts


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The relevance of video messages still counts, of course. American Express, with its agency Digitas, Boston, created an ad unit that was targeted at small-business owners. The campaign used video, webinars and other behaviorally targeted, third-party content. The video appeared in a custom syndicated content player that was placed strategically on sites such as, and The ad unit garnered a 66% higher average viewing time than the same video placed on American Express' and drove six times the amount of expected traffic to the site. It may have done so well because the videos were directly related to the content on a page. So, for example, if someone was reading a story on, the custom video player would feature similar content that focused not on selling the American Express OPEN card but on solving a business problem, said David Doty, senior VP-thought leadership and marketing at the IAB. “The videos were interviews with leaders who shed light on what that potential prospect would want to know about,” Doty said. “It wasn't just about American Express. They created an environment for learning.” Without extremely targeted content, even the most educational messages won't gain traction, said Sandy Carter, VP at IBM Software Group Channels. Carter knows this firsthand. IBM is using a combination of education and social media to get the word out about two technologies: Service-Oriented Architecture and Business Process Management. Its game, dubbed Innov8, created for IBM by game developer Center Line, has been successful. The most recent version—an online one released in May—lets teams take each other on and post their high scores to their Facebook pages, Carter said. Today, more than 3,000 universities use the game, as well as companies such as Farmers Insurance. But the most impressive stat is its ROI. “The first deal we got based on the game paid for all the game development,” Carter said. M
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