According to the latest statistics from comScore, over 188 million Americans viewed video content online in August. With a potential audience this substantial, it's no wonder that more and more businesses are seeing the use of video as an essential part of their operations. Advances in technology have significantly lowered video production costs over the last decade, making video an attractive choice for even the smallest of companies.
In contemplating the ways in which businesses are utilizing video as a communications medium, it's likely that advertising is the first thing that comes to mind. Online video advertising has a significant reach in the United States. Over half of Americans viewed Internet video advertising – 9.5 billion ads, to be exact – last month.
Still, cheaper technology and the immediacy of the web have made video a standard delivery vehicle for far more than just traditional advertising. Businesses are using video production to communicate with employees and customers in new and exciting ways.
- Promotion of products and services. The popularity of the web has made the online product review into an essential part of the buying process for many consumers. Posting or linking to video reviews and customer testimonials can be an effective way for businesses to spread the word about their products and services. Encouraging customers to create and submit their own content can help companies cut down on marketing costs while creating a dialogue with their target audiences. Additionally, company-created video demonstrations can help to highlight important features and distinguish one brand's product or service from those of its competitors.
- Company communications, orientation, and training. As helpful as it is for communicating with customers, video can be an effective – and cost-effective – tool for internal communications, too. From welcoming new hires to keeping everyone up to date on company activities, businesses are using video technologies to speak with their employees. Corporations have long used video for employee training purposes, and the online environment has made the dissemination of training videos cheaper and easier than ever before.
- Research and business-to-business communication. It's not just individual consumers who are turning to videos to research products and services. According to this Forbes study, the use of videos as an information source has been increasing among business executives. The study found that 65% of those surveyed visited a vendor's website after viewing a work-related online video, and 42% made a business-related purchase. The statistics for younger executives were even more impressive, with more than half of those under 40 making a purchase after viewing an online video. This bodes well for future sales prospects as members of younger, more tech-savvy generations continue to take the helm at more and more companies.
Advances in technology have driven down costs, broadened access, and helped video to become a standard medium for business research, promotions, and communications. Companies are now using video for far more than traditional advertising; they are using the medium to connect to both their employees and their customers. By combining creativity, ingenuity, and technology, companies of all sizes are can now use video to grow their brands.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She has also produced news content for major markets such as Dallas and Houston.