January 18, 2007, 12:00 AM

Social computing and online video provide powerful tool for e-retailers

While Youtube.com is proving that online video is a powerful way to engage consumers and draw traffic to a web site, other e-commerce sites can also leverage video to better relate to their customers, Forrester Research says in a new study.

While Youtube.com and other social networking sites are proving that online video is a powerful way to engage consumers and draw traffic to a web site, other e-commerce sites can also leverage video to better relate to their customers, Forrester Research Inc. says in a new study.

The study, “Five Ways Social Computing Can Boost eBusiness,” points out that customer-generated video reviews can be particularly effective at helping companies better understand how their products and brands are perceived by consumers. “Social computing is valuable because it enables companies to truly understand the dialogue that happens about the company, its products and its brands, whether in the larger blogosphere, in feedback on a company’s site, or in video reviews,” Forrester says. “Often unfiltered and raw, user-generated content provides information and feedback that would be unlikely to come from the relatively civil setting of a focus group or the innocuous responses of a survey.”

Forrester cites the example of General Motors Corp., which invited consumers to create their own online video ads about the Chevy Tahoe truck. As a result, GM learned how much the Tahoe-as a symbol of vehicles that get poor gas mileage-angered environmentally conscious consumers when a consumer-generated video “ad” lambasting the Tahoe was widely circulated over the Internet. In more recent company communications and marketing efforts, GM has been focusing more on its line of vehicles with better gas mileage as well as its plans for electric-powered vehicles.

 

 

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