In order for online video to become a completely viable marketing tool it needs to be accessible to all levels of business from sole proprietors all the way up to multinational corporations. There are far more SMBs than large corporations and that means there's a larger possibility to get some new clients for the online video industry. But the question right now is, how accessible is it to small and medium businesses and how do we as an industry go about getting them involved?

The general movement of the industry is certainly in a more transparent, more accessible direction. But this trend definitely needs to continue before everyone is able to climb aboard the online video train. Here's our list of what the industry needs to do in order to get the SMBs fully ready to jump on.

  • Ease of use – This is first and foremost in the minds of many business leaders. Others might argue that cost is first, but we believe that in order for the widest possible range of SMB owners to become involved in online video, simply put, it has to be easy for them. Without services that take all the guesswork out of a multitude of factors, many SMB owners just won't even know where to begin. Without knowing where to begin how can they possibly do it?
  • Cost – Certainly cost is a major factor in all business decisions. The costs involved in creating an online video campaign are varied and range from the creative to the ad placement to advisers, video hosting services and a myriad of other things. Kaltura's Community Edition may be able to take many of the costs out of hosting and distribution and the IAB online video ad standards could take a lot more out of the equation if they become widely accepted. This would be helpful because advertisers need less versions and formats to maintain. Creative will always be a cost in creating good, informative, professional online video content. The scripts, camera operators, video editors, etc will always need to be in the loop unless they take a more DIY approach.
  • Metrics, analysis and ROI Determination – SMBs have, by definition, smaller budgets and that means they generally need to see the value of everything they do or they simply aren't going to do it. That means that the industry needs to give them the information they need in an easy-to-understand and qualitative way while still being quantitative. That means that they needs lots of information and that it needs to be valuable. Differing calculations on what makes an online video campaign successful and what exactly the return on investment is are only going to be deterrents to SMB owners getting into the game. Every SMB owner might see ROI in a slightly different light and some might be going for increased brand awareness while others will be looking for cold hard sales increases. Either way these need to be incorporated into ROI calculations.
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Interaction is key in all of this. The SMB owners need to be engaged on multiple levels. They will need attention paid to them by the video platforms, the ad networks and the creative side of the industry. I'm not suggesting that they're stupid or that they need extra hand holding. I'm suggesting that they have less to spend and that they generally will need more convincing of the value of something prior to diving into it.

What kind of interaction?

Well first off you're going to need to show them how it will benefit them. You might also need to have some form of system to show or educate them in what they would need to do in order to help have the most successful online campaign they can. Periodically, you'll need to actually talk to them, not just send an email or have them fill out a survey or a form. Many SMB owners, myself included, require some amount of personal contact. This is more of a way for us to know that we're appreciated and that the companies and partners we do business with acknowledge us. It's not about being special, it's about good business.


In the end, SMB owners have less time to sit around and think up great new ways to promote their businesses. They also have far less time available to them to implement those ideas. That means that if you truly want to help them you'll need to supply a fast, easy solution for many. Something that they can get into and out of with a minimum of fuss and something that gives them all the information and abilities at a touch of a button. You might even need to make payment as easy as possible including credit cards, online payment services, etc as well as flexible since many SMBs have lower cash flow and fluctuations in capital are common.

At present we're probably at a place where the cost of utilizing online video is not as prohibitive as it once was to SMBs. That means one hurdle has been mostly removed for them and it's only a matter of getting past the others. SMB most likely will drive online video in the near future and historically when there's an economic downturn where a lot of people lose their jobs, many turn to starting their own businesses to survive. That means right now might be the best time ever for the online video industry to begin working to attract this type of clientele. Plus with the vast amount of SMBs in operation at any time there are an ample number of potential customers that one could obtain and with proper handling and good results, keep indefinitely.

  • @Jippidy

    I just discovered ReelSEO a couple months ago, and I must say, it's articles like this that keep my team and I coming back! Your list of priorities for the industry to establish is on the money - after working closely with many SMBs as we film professional video ads for them, the one constant we've found is the time constraint of many business owners. They all want the video, and they all love the final product once it's presented to them, but the responsibility of day-to-day operations means that coordinating the shoot - from scheduling it to having the owner take 2 hours out of their shift to film - becomes a huge bottleneck in the process. So the ease of use, as you mention above, is definitely the most important point for us to work on - any suggestions to facilitate the process?

  • AliSwi

    I think it’s also important to stress to small businesses that while quality is certainly a factor, it is possible to achieve quality, low cost results with the DIY approach. The primary focus should be on the video content, followed by the audio/visual quality. You need to be communicating something of importance, whether that be an interview, testimonial, demonstration, etc. A great video site for businesses of all sizes is The site is dedicated to business content and videos range from extremely professional with a production crew to very amateur with a flipcam.

  • Christophor Rick

    Hello Jamie and Cherie,

    Thank you for the comments and additional information, this is the eact type of discussion I had hoped to foster with the article and I hope you prompt more of the industry to participate so that we can better tap into the SMB market. I believe it's a win-win situation for both the industry and the SMB owners.


  • Cherie


    Your suggestions about how to get SMBs involved in video advertising are spot on. And, as an industry, we certainly need to continue to lower the barriers to online video advertising. I work with SpotMixer, a self-service video creation and distribution platform that is focused on serving SMB customers' needs in the key areas you pointed out.

    First, we made our tools so intuitive that any business can produce its own ads and distributed them with just a few clicks. Then, we allow customers to use their own videos and photos, or choose from a library of stock content, an extensive collection of licensed music as well as hundreds of ad templates appropriate for any type of business.

    And, once the ad is finished, we make it easy to get it out there to some of the biggest distribution channels on the web including YouTube and Google AdWords. We also partner with online directories and search engines, as well as cable operators, to provide their customers with our DIY platform.

    Thanks for your thoughts on how we, as an industry, can continue to serve our customers well.

  • vzaar Jamie

    Fast and easy is certainly the key. The SMBs that we have worked with at vzaar, many of who are multi-channel sellers (including eBay) are constantly facing the pressure of time. Time to find the right person in the business to take responsibility for video, time for planning out the production of the video, time to learn how to handle differing codecs and time to add the video to their site and then market it. Time and therefore ease of use is the key.

    From the sellers that I have met who have taken on video the first question they often ask is "how much will it cost?" and there lies the opportunity for simple and effective tools. No longer does video production mean turning to expensive production companies. It can be done in-house given the technologies (think Flip Cams, think HD Cameras, think iMovie etc) now available. If the ambitions of a business lie beyond that then shop around for the best rate possible.

    The second question is then "But what type of video should I shoot?" and there I think analytical tools and wider scale market sharing of results can help. It is still not proven, particularly given the variety of videos we have seen uploaded to vzaar, which type work for SMBs. Should the video content be product led, should it concentrate on cross selling items, does the shopper want to see the SMB and the team behind it in order to drive familiarity and consumer confidence? At the moment all are extremely valid - but perhaps over time a dominant and preferred style of video might emerge.