Databricks is the world’s first and only lakehouse platform in the cloud, combining the best of data warehouses and data lakes to offer an open and unified platform for data and AI. The Databricks Lakehouse provides a collaborative environment for data engineers, scientists, and analysts across all sectors to gain actionable insights from large volumes of data.
Each year, Databricks hosts the Data + AI Summit (DAIS), a week-long conference for professional development and certification, networking, and real-time education in the data and AI spaces. Keynotes, certifications, and breakout sessions are all focused on education, the advancement of AI and the data lakehouse, use cases, and the latest product announcements from Databricks..
Inkhouse’s campaign strategy for the 2023 DAIS was two-pronged: first, to position Databricks as the data and AI company for enterprise organizations around the globe, and second, to occupy a larger share of voice in the data and AI space than competing organizations — like Snowflake, who hosted a competing conference at the same time.
Our tactics helped to highlight a series of major product and brand announcements, influential experts and high-profile customers, and the product’s leading use cases across major sectors — in addition to delivering a world-class experience for press, on-site, and virtual attendees on social media. The team also leveraged Databricks’ social presence to engage the highly technical community in an authentic, conversational, and visual way, as well as showcase the impact of this event on the industry and data and AI community.
With our objectives in mind, Inkhouse worked with Databricks to create an integrated social media and PR campaign that focused on amplifying activities, media coverage, and owned content from the product, brand, and event marketing teams at DAIS. In doing so, the team created a digital experience that authentically showcased the energy the community brought to the conference. Tactics included:
Leading up to the event, we drummed up interest for event registration, keynotes, and auxiliary events across all of our social channels, using a combination of visual and text-based social assets uniquely tailored to each platform (i.e., using Instagram to “humanize” the brand with photos and video, LinkedIn for longer-form technical breakdowns, and Twitter for real-time updates). We also leveraged content for compelling press coverage across print and broadcast channels, including a Bloomberg highlight on the company’s revenue growth milestones and key investments in new technology partners and products centered around LLMs.
Our social team built a calendar to amplify the week’s activities across LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook — including two major keynotes that featured prominent speakers, like Andreessen Horowitz’s Marc Andreesen, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Databricks’ co-founders and C-Suite. The team approached content with a keen eye toward what the community cares about – by showcasing the breadth of events (parties, meetups, breakout sessions, and livestreams that complemented keynote speakers and other event programming) and leveraging live insights from attendees – social content from DAIS served as an approachable, enthusiastic hub for the most important topics in data and AI today. We paired branded graphics, candid photography, videos/reels, and professional photography to create a cohesive, yet dynamic and exciting online experience. Our PR teams also secured extensive coverage during the event, which the social team amplified on our two biggest channels, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Our off-site PR team ensured that major announcements — like the acquisition of MosaicML and new product updates — received earned coverage. Concurrently, our on-site PR team focused on engaging with news publications directly, briefing reporters and outlets on corporate news and the unveiling of product updates, use cases, and key features on the Lakehouse platform. Both teams also extended invitations to journalists from globally renowned publications — like the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and Handelsblatt — to attend the Summit in person. These journalists were granted special privileges, such as one-on-one briefings with executives, a tailored customer panel and discussion, and a press conference with Databricks' co-founder and CEO Ali Ghodsi.
Leaning into Real-Time Community Conversations
Between the non-stop movement and sudden changes that all live events bring, our social team found underrated moments to capitalize on for a boost in organic impressions and engagement. We balanced technical product announcements with photos, videos, and memes based on the content our audience loves. We also took a candid approach to visual assets, swapping highly designed template content with authentic conversations and real-time photos to highlight the community-oriented atmosphere of DAIS, which was a major contrast to competitors like Snowflake.
To measure our results, we took a number of factors into account — including follower growth, impressions, mentions, engagements, and engagement rate. Additionally, we implemented a PR Impact Score (PRIS) rubric that measured the impact of media coverage based on publication tier, readership, key audiences, and depth and sentiment of coverage. The PRIS helps the team to align on goals and target publications, and is the most important metric to translate integrated efforts to Databricks’ executive team and Board.
At a high-level glance, our team was able to achieve over two million organic impressions (+53% YoY) across social channels and earned media placements, and roughly 2.65K mentions on Twitter. We also averaged 68K total engagements, gained 7.8K net new followers (+141% YoY) across our social channels, and maintained an engagement rate (per impression) of 3.7% for the duration of the event. Furthermore, our PRIS score for the event totaled 2045.5 — amplified by the impact of the brand’s latest product announcements, plus a surprise brand announcement to acquire another company for $1.3 billion. For context, the team’s PRIS score goal for the entire quarter was 4,150; our team’s efforts specific to DAIS generated nearly half of the points to reach our goal for the quarter (which we ended up exceeding by nearly 2x).