Right now, there is a shift occurring in how people think of online video: the novelty has started to wear off. Marketers and businesses are beginning to see that inexpensive videos add tremendous value and dimension to their websites and marketing campaigns – and that means better search ranking, more clicks, and higher conversion rates. Even Forbes has said that many executives now receive actionable business information through online video.

There is solid evidence that “video marketing” will soon be a common strategy in businesses from small firms to large corporations. I would even wager that within the next five years, video will have as revolutionary an impact on marketing as email had over the past decade.

Consider this:

  • Forrester Research reports that video increases a web page’s likelihood for a front-page Google search result by 96 percent;
  • ComScore found that product videos increase the likelihood of a purchase by 64 percent; and
  • Internet Retailer discovered that videos increase time spent on a website by an average of 9 percent.

Video’s recent popularity is driven largely by the success of video-sharing websites like YouTube and the drastically diminishing costs of video production. In fact, video has become so accessible that small and large companies have started using it to have ongoing conversations with prospects and customers.

There is no denying that we are still in the early stages of marketing with online video. Many companies are struggling to get it right because they treat video as a one-off. Producing one or two videos won’t reap ongoing returns, much like sending one or two emails won’t generate an ongoing flow of new customers. Video marketing is a strategy and getting it right means developing and publishing multiple videos that tell your unique brand story over time.

But no marketing strategy is complete if you can’t measure the results. So we at Pixability developed the free Online Video Grader to help businesses gauge how well they are doing with video and identify areas that need improvement. Using the grader we looked at a number of Dow 30 and leading brands to get a sense of the big picture.

The findings were rather interesting. The majority of companies scored between 50 and 74 out of 100, indicating that they are a ways off from fully utilizing the SEO value video can provide. Starbucks and IBM came out ahead of the pack while pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and classic American brands like McDonalds were far behind.

Here are some of the results:

Spotlight: Starbucks (Video Grader score = 82)

So why did Starbucks get such a high video marketing grade? The company integrates videos throughout its website and has done an outstanding job with its YouTube channel. Starbucks publishes new videos regularly – from fun and entertaining segments to product and how-to videos. By pushing engaging and informative videos, Starbucks has found a refreshing way of sharing the unique story of its brand.

As with any successful marketing strategy, companies can use video to educate, entertain and build trust in their products and services. It is time to forget about the “viral video” fad.  Great videos are like great conversations – offering an engaging communication platform, and balancing what your customers want with what you have to offer them. When done right, videos will make your brand stand out in ways not previously possible.

Author: Bettina Hein, a serial entrepreneur based in Cambridge, MA, is the CEO of Pixability, specializing in video marketing for growing businesses and non-profit organizations.