Random Acts of Progress

C-Level Executives Watch Online Video Too

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C-Level Executives Watch Online Video TooExecutives don’t have time to watch online videos. They’re too busy shouting things like, “Buy! No, no – sell, SELL!” They have golf games to attend to. Conference rooms to design. Coffee to ask their secretaries for. Meetings to call – lots and lots and lots of meetings.

If this is what you think C-level executives are up to, well, you’d be right. However, you’d be wrong about not having time to watch online videos. Yes, that’s right: C-level executives – the Chief ____ Officer – are slumming around on YouTube just like the rest of us. Not only are they hanging out in those low-brow corners of the internet, they’re hanging out there more often than ever before.

This interesting fact is brought to us by a new joint research study conducted in December 2010 by Google and Forbes Insights. Among other things, the survey revealed that an astounding 83% of senior-level executives watched more online video in 2010 than they did the year before.

How Senior Executives are Using Video

The difference between a senior executive visiting YouTube and her teenage son visiting YouTube lies within the “what” and the “why”. While the son might be watching music videos, his COO mother is tuning in to YouTube channels not for entertainment purposes, but to research business-related information.

For the time being, the Forbes and Google survey showed, senior execs still prefer text to video. However, this is changing quickly. Already, close to a third of executives under 40 prefer to receive business-related information in the form of online video rather than online text. Internet TV Surprisingly, their elders feel the same way – another 31% of executives 40 and older also prefer video to text. Therefore, the notion that it will take several more years for video to dominate the web, as digital natives in their 20s and 30s move up the corporate ladder, is probably misguided. Older executives are already using video to make business decisions, and they’re doing it in increasing numbers.

What should be very interesting – and exciting — to vendors and any B2B marketers who target C-level executives is what the executives are doing after they view a video. A full 65% of senior executives reported that they have visited a vendor’s website after seeing an online video; 42% report that they made a business-related purchase thanks to an online video.

You Can’t TiVo Online

While companies who advertise on television are scratching their heads trying to figure out what to do about TiVo, companies who advertise online don’t have to worry about it. So far, there’s no equivalent of TiVo that would allow viewers to skip those in-stream ads that show up on YouTube or industry sites.

Not only do business executives have to watch vendor ads when they are viewing another video, they are actually responding to them quite positively. More than a third of executives say that they have contacted a vendor at some point after seeing an ad that showed up in an online video. Almost 70% say that they are comfortable watching the in-stream advertising.

Better yet, the percentage of executives who don’t mind watching “must-watch” online ads is higher the younger the executive is, indicating that in-stream ads will be more and more acceptable to executives as time goes on.

“Hey – You’ve Gotta See This”

Executives Share VideosC-level executives are watching videos, then sharing the ones they like with their colleagues. More than 40% of executives say that they have shared online videos with colleagues; they are receiving links from their colleagues at about the same rate. Watching business-related videos on Facebook is a little bit lower percentage – a total of 33% — but if you look at the under 40 group, this number jumps to 52%.

Where else are business executives watching videos? Perhaps it isn’t surprising to find out that the place they watch videos most often isn’t YouTube but on business-related websites. Nevertheless, more than half of the executives are spending time on YouTube watching video related to their job.

What This Means for Marketers

In case you’re a little slow to catch on, what all of this means for marketers is that online video is poised to explode in 2011. No longer the domain of college kids and home videos, social media marketing with video on YouTube, Facebook, and elsewhere is reaching everyone, even the most powerful people in business.

Marketers can no longer afford to avoid video, any more than they can avoid having a website or a Facebook page. As technology continues to progress, business executives are going to be shouting “Buy!” and “Sell!” based on an online video they saw. They’re going to show colleagues and clients videos on their iPhone on the golf green. They’re going to pull out their laptop in the conference room and show an online video at one of their infernal meetings. In the airport, on the subway, in the back seat of their limousine, business executives are going to be consuming more online video than ever before, and they’re going to use what they see to guide their corporation’s business decisions.

Random Acts of Progress

Study Indicates Social Media Pays

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New Study Indicates Social Media Pays; Wetpaint and Altimeter Group Find Correlation Between Brands’ Social Media Efforts and Financial Performance

A new study from Wetpaint and the Altimeter Group confirms that deep engagement with consumers through social media channels correlates to better financial performance. The ENGAGEMENTdb study showed significant positive financial results for the companies who measured as having the greatest breadth and depth of social media engagement. These “Social Media Mavens” on average grew company revenues by 18 percent over the last 12 months, while the least engaged companies saw revenues sink 6 percent on average over the same time period.

The ENGAGEMENTdb study reviewed more than 10 discrete social media channels, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, wikis, and discussion forums for each of the 100 most valuable brands as identified by the 2008 BusinessWeek/Interbrand Best Global Brands ranking. Activity in each channel was ranked for depth of interaction on measures that corresponded to that specific channel. Scores for overall brand engagement ranged from a high of 127 to a low of 1. The top 10 ENGAGEMENTdb brands with their scores are:

Starbucks (127)
Dell (123)
eBay (115)
Google (105)
Microsoft (103)
Thomson Reuters (101)
Nike (100)
Amazon (88)
SAP (86)
Tie – Yahoo!/Intel (85)

Qualities of Success

Companies that scored well in the study generally have dedicated teams, however small, active in the social media channels they utilize. The study found that the most successful teams evangelize social media across the entire organization to pull in a broad range of stakeholders. These companies view social media as an indispensable tool to help them achieve results, and their approach is conversational. This mode of operation differs from the approach of traditional communications and early corporate blog experimentation, which emphasizes messaging and talking points.

“This is the first study of this depth on the top global brands and we think the results provide a good guide for corporations and brand marketers in every industry,” said Charlene Li, Founder, Altimeter Group. “The success stories we have uncovered provide a blueprint for companies making decisions about how to best apply their marketing and consumer relations resources.”

“The ENGAGEMENTdb study goes a long way towards validating the importance of social media for business,” said Ben Elowitz, CEO of Wetpaint. “The closer any company is to its customers, the better, and it’s hard to argue with the ability for social media to create such proximity. In this day and age, companies should feel much more comfortable investing in social media — the correlation to results is so clear.”

Four Quadrants of Engagement

While each company in the study received a quantitative score, the ENGAGEMENTdb study revealed that companies fell into four specific categories in terms of their breadth and depth of investment in social media channels — Mavens, Butterflies, Selectives, and Wallflowers.

Mavens — brands that have made social media a core part of their go-to-market strategies and are very active in many channels; usually driven by dedicated teams assisted by company-wide awareness and participation.

Butterflies — brands that recognize the need to be in many channels but have only met with real success in a subset of their activities; these companies are usually spread a bit too thin.

Selectives — brands that focus on just a few channels and excel in those; these efforts are usually initiated by an internal evangelist.

Wallflowers — brands present in only a few channels and very lightly in those; these brands are sitting on the sidelines and are wary of the risks. They are still trying to figure out the best next steps and investments in social media.