Cracking the code behind developer marketing with Microsoft Build

How we created an online content experience to excite developers around the world

Microsoft Build is the highlight of the year for developers, but only 6,000 people can attend the event in-person.
Our challenge? Bring the excitement and inspiration from the conference floor to the screens and feeds of developers tuning in around the world. Challenge accepted.
Aiming to capture every buzzworthy announcement and special moment at Microsoft Build, we set up a war-room in the Washington Convention Center, just steps away from the conference floor.
We transformed @WindowsDev social channels into live-action news feeds, making sure every post showcased the electricity of the event and the cutting-edge updates for devs to apply their knowledge, tools, and skills.

Reduced cost per lead by 85%

235% Increase in social traffic

Our campaign and strategic approach succeeded in capturing the attention of more than five million developers worldwide, converting that attention into targeted action through live-clipping, highly targeted social campaigns, and developer influencers.
We brought the keynotes and announcements to Twitter in snackable, sharable bits, allowing devs to engage and amplify on their terms. Once the conference kicked off, we recorded every keynote speech, then edited and published the content in just minutes, ensuring that the online followers felt as up-to-speed as those in the room.
Oftentimes, live event content burns brightly, and sometimes far too-quickly given the investment. We addressed the issue of content lifespan with what we call “rich social” — Facebook canvases, video carousels, Twitter media polls, and other mobile-first, interactive formats that extend the life of key conference moments and updates well beyond the original speeches.

We drew in larger online audiences with visual content in carousel format by turning the day’s biggest soundbites into attention-grabbing moments. Our live-clipping made Windows Developer social channels the destinations for news from the conference floor.
Post-event, we focused on driving traffic to the developer kit download page. By focusing on retargeting those who had already engaged with our social content, we were able to convert them at a massive scale with increased value per action – driving millions of views and a massive spike in traffic – all in real-time.

3 million social video views

175,000 engagements with Build MC content over 3 days

In addition to live-clipping and creating owned content for social, we launched a new campaign at Build 2018, focused on content by devs and for devs.
We call it the Build MC program. This activation was driven by five influential developers who each specialized in a different area of development. Their role at Microsoft Build was to experience highly tailored conference tracks and exclusive on-the-ground opportunities on behalf of their online developer peers.
Two camera crews captured Build MC’s immediate reactions, perceptions and iconic moments from the event. We shot, edited, and published over 70 curated videos to a dedicated microsite — all within just a few hours after those iconic moments happened.
We promoted the content on owned social and had Build MCs, who were also social influencers, amplify video content across their own social channels. This audience-centric content helped us attract and pique the interest of the largest and most engaged Build online audience on record.
Through the combination of live-event social, activation of developer influencers, and smart paid social retargeting, we made Microsoft Build the highlight of every developer’s year.

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