Types and uses of online video for businessFor my upcoming workshop “Using Online Video for Your Business,” I’m going to go through some examples of online videos to show different types of online videos and some different ways that businesses are using online video. I thought it would be nice to have a blog post that I could refer to with embedded examples during the workshop and for attendees to refer to afterwards as well.

What Kinds of Videos are Businesses Publishing Online?

  • Marketing & Advertising
  • Explaining a Product
  • Product Demo
  • Explaining Concepts
  • How-Tos

These are just the main ways that businesses are using online video and this is what I’ll focus on but there are a lot of other ways to use video besides these that I point at at the end.


I like to classify video into 5 basic types:

  • Live Action
  • Screencasts
  • Motion Graphics
  • Slideshows
  • Live Streaming

Let’s look at some examples of some of these types and uses. As you watch these, here’s some points to consider:

  • What different styles are used in these videos?
  • Do any of the kinds or types resonate with you and your business?
  • Which videos are made with just software, no video camera?
  • Are these video hard-selling or soft-selling?
  • How successful do you think these videos have been for the companies who produced them?


Marketing & Advertising

First, a couple of examples of slick, very professional, Holllywood quality videos, both of which have garnered millions of views.

Smart Water

And for gender equity, here’s one for the ladies.

Old Spice
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE [/youtube]

Comedy of course helps a video go viral, but Tom Tom GPS proved that you don’t have to feature beefcake or cheesecake to get your audiences attention.

Tom Tom GPS

But, you don’t have to have a big Hollywood budget to produce a successful online video ad. FrontPoint Security produced their own video with inexpensive camera that brought them a 250% increase in monthly sales leads.

FrontPoint Security
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxmf4WsrGUc [/youtube]

And, the Girl Scouts showed that you can produce a nice marketing video using just motion graphics.

Girl Scouts
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Wy31SsNPv4 [/youtube]

And this one is just too creative and funny to not include.




Explaining a Product

Online ads may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of using online video for business, but for most small businesses and organizations, using a video to explain your product or service is probably going to be a better tactic.

Kiva Systems sends videos to prospective clients illustrate how the company’s robots are used to retrieve inventory within warehouses and streamline order fulfillment for retailers.

Kiva Systems

Some products or services are hard to show using live action video. Using motion graphics videos, produced with computer software, Voucherry and Visual.ly use online video to explain their offerings.



And, online videos are even being used now to promote books.


Four Hour Body


Product Demo

Where online video really shines for a lot of businesses is in visually demonstrating a product’s features or how it works.


And Shockles proves you don’t need a big production budget to show how their boating products work.


Screencasts work great to show how digital products and software work.



Explaining Concepts

What if what you need to explain isn’t a product or service, but a concept or idea? Explaining concepts and ideas is where motion graphics videos really shine. XPlane shows that with a good script and some basic computer software, you can creatively explain concepts that are otherwise difficult to grasp or may be boring to read.

Digital Convergence

How Will Your Week Work

Here’s a more sophisticated animated graphics example to explain a concept

The Power Gap

And here’s an example I did inspired by XPlane’s technique using only computer software costing less than $200.

Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative

The masters of explaining difficult to explain concepts is Common Craft. Check out examples of their videos.



Another great use of online video is to show people how to do something. Providing how-to information to your audience establishes you as an information resource and leader in the field and using video to do it will set you apart from text-only websites.

Automattic, the makers of WordPress, do a great job of producing videos on their WordPress.tv site to explain how to do various things in WordPress.


Home Depot


Here’s a quick summary matrix that correlates the main types of videos used to the ways that some of these businesses are using video.

Live Action Screencast Motion Graphics
Marketing &
Smart Water
Old Spice
Girl Scouts
a Product
Digital Convergence
Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative
How-Tos Home Depot WordPress

There are a lot of other ways that your business can use online video such as customer testimonials, using video for internal training, covering events, video blogs and podcasts.  For more ideas, check out 42 Ways to Use Online Video for Business Marketing on ReelSEO.com.