High-Impact Video Drives Fundraising for Columbia University


Columbia University




When Columbia University wanted to generate awareness for Columbia Giving Day 2020, they tapped Infinity Marketing to develop a highly targeted media campaign that would promote the one-day initiative and drive donations. To add to the challenge, Infinity also needed to develop a strategy for driving users to the correct donations page while ensuring the university’s other websites didn’t cannibalize the traffic. Since Giving Day was a single-day event, that meant our team needed to find a way to reach a 1:1 audience in a very short period of time. Luckily, we work best under pressure.


To build awareness for Giving Day and create a sense of urgency for the October 28 donation window, our media team developed a robust strategy that prioritized high-impact video creative. By leveraging tactics like CTV, pre-roll, and in-stream during the week leading up to the event, we captured the audience’s attention when they were most engaged. We utilized both 30-second and 15-second videos, specifically placing tactics in high-profile environments to maximize results. Our strategy was to deploy against a 1:1 targeted list of alumni, family, and friends across multiple devices, further widening the campaign’s reach.

On Giving Day, we deployed a paid search campaign to drive searches related to donations to the correct page. The paid search performed exceptionally well, leading to an incremental budget increase at mid-day to further drive results.

Video placements reached 72,000 unique households with 158,000 videos viewed to completion. The overall video completion rate was 81 percent. The paid search campaign was equally successful, performing well above industry benchmarks despite the condensed timeframe. In the end, Columbia University received 19,173 total gifts for a grand total of $24,161,991 in donations, surpassing their 2019 fundraising total by more than $2 million.

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