Online video is becoming more important as a source of business information and as a driver of work-related buying decisions among today's senior executives: 83% are watching more online video today than they were a year earlier and 65% say they have visited a vendor's website after watching a work-related video, according to a survey from Forbes Insights.
Work-related video is driving other actions among surveyed senior execs, such as conducting online searches (53%) and making purchases (42%).
Younger executives (up to age 40) are more engaged with video, showing a higher likelihood to make a purchase (51%), call a vendor (45%), and respond to an ad viewed on YouTube (46%).
Senior execs are turning to video more frequently: 75% say they watch work-related videos on business-related websites at least weekly; more than one-half (52%) watch work-related videos on YouTube at least weekly.
Moreover, senior execs are open to video ads: 66% say they notice ads that run alongside videos and 68% say they are comfortable watching in-stream ads. Video-friendly younger execs are even more comfortable with such ad formats (79%).
The social element of online video is strong in the executive suite: 54% of senior execs say they share videos with colleagues at least weekly and receive work-related videos (59%) slightly more often.
Younger executives are more willing to share video with colleagues: 28% do so daily, compared with 3% of senior execs age 50 and older.
Such generational differences are also pronounced in execs' use of social networking sites: 47% of all senior execs say they post work-related video links to business networking sites at least weekly. That figure jumps to 69% among younger execs.
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Business-related Websites vs. YouTube
Senior execs prefer information in a mix of text and video, looking to various outlets for different types of videos. When visiting business-related websites, for example, senior execs primarily seek out business news (74%), business insight or advice (64%), and speeches and presentations (57%).
But when visiting YouTube, the interest shifts from news in favor of more subjective content: The top three objectives of a YouTube visit in a business context are customer testimonials (29%), product demonstrations (28%), and product reviews (27%).
Video vs. Text
Text content is still predominant among senior execs: Only 22% say they're likely to choose a video format over text for reviewing business information—with 62% expressing a preference for text.
Younger execs are much more likely to select video over text: 30% of those under age 40 say they prefer video for reviewing business information, compared with 9% of those age 50+.
Still, 59% of senior execs agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic on the same page, they prefer to watch the video, with 47% citing three to five minutes as the optimal length of work-related video.
About the data: Findings are based on interviews with 306 C-level and senior executives at US companies with more than $500 million in annual revenue, conducted in September and October 2010.