Skip to main content

If you're interested in the immense potential of creating, sharing and distributing digital content in 2014, consider who's doing it best to help you achieve great results.

It's been known for some time that online video helps businesses increase their brand awareness, generate genuine buzz, and increase sales. What's becoming more evident is how much of a difference it makes, which is reflected in the results of the latest industry studies.

One of the latest, released this year by Animoto, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers, highlights the impact of video:

  • 73 per cent are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video.

  • 96 per cent say online videos are helpful when making purchasing decisions.
  • 71 per cent say watching online video content leaves them with a positive impression of the brand, service or company.

According to eMarketer, online video is one of the marketing approaches that promises the greatest return on investment.

One key business-to-consumer sector is retail, where we are seeing video used to assist a customer's journey through the sales funnel. Videos offer a better view of products, they promote trends, they express brand culture, and they make a statement that's much bolder than most advertising methods. From longer-form videos on YouTube to bite-sized content on Vine and Instagram, the smart brands are getting on board, and they're seeing results.

Zappos was one of the first and it continues to be one of the most mentioned retail brands leveraging online video. Tens of thousands of videos are embedded on its website at any given time and its YouTube channel is full of products, how-tos, and company culture videos. Zappos also encourages its customers to play a role by allowing them to upload their Zappos Experience videos. While the online shoes and clothing shop is a huge video-hustle example, smaller retailers can start to emulate its success with a few small pieces.

French Connection is another example of a brand that regularly pushes video content to its network on YouTube and other social media. It creates and releases seasonal fashion updates, fashion tips, campaign teasers and series of short "films" that celebrate the "power of clothing."

Most of them are short and sweet with creative fair – the company puts some of its fashions on a 360-degree moving display, which offers a more engaging experience that is trusted by consumers more than, say, digitally manipulated photos. Other top retail YouTube channels include Home Depot – with a variety of cool DIY project tutorials – Bed Bath and Beyond "product of the week" segments, and Best Buy how-to videos and "latest technology" news.

With mobile traffic set to increase 13-fold by 2017, retail brands have been quick to experiment with short-form video platforms such as Vine and Instagram. From Ford to H&M, Reebok, GoPro, Ralph Lauren and Tide, there's even a mashup of the top branded short-form videos of February, 2014. From informative content to entertainment to shock value, there's no shortage of creativity and unique approaches.

Strategically, it's about honing in on content a retailer's target demographic would find intriguing, engaging, informative and helpful, all of which contributes to brand awareness and increased sales. Most brands take a similar strategic approach to video, though the content, of course, is quite different and tailored specifically to their audience.

Not convinced yet? Here are a few more stats from the initial study mentioned:

  • Video plays an impressive role in consumers’ lives with 94 per cent watching it at least once a week from their desktop.
  • 76 per cent of smartphone owners watch videos at least once a week on their devices.
  • 89 per cent are likely to share a video if they consider it educational.
  • 86 per cent are likely to share a video if there is an incentive, such as a promotion or discount.

Roll and record, retailers. This is your year to make an impact with online video.

Lisa Ostrikoff is a TV journalist and anchor-turned-creator of BizBOXTV, a Canadian online video production, advertising and social media marketing agency. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook .

Follow us @GlobeSmallBiz and on Pinterest
Join our Small Business LinkedIn group
Add us to your circles
Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Report an editorial error

Report a technical issue

Editorial code of conduct

Tickers mentioned in this story

Study and track financial data on any traded entity: click to open the full quote page. Data updated as of 29/05/24 6:40pm EDT.

SymbolName% changeLast
Best Buy Company
Home Depot
Ralph Lauren Corp

Interact with The Globe