Going viral

Online videos help hospitals boost marketing efforts

Topics: Communications and Public Relations, Marketing, Volume Growth, Strategy

August 23, 2011

Marketing strategies that feature online video may be the most effective for hospitals looking to engage patients and create brand awareness, according to a survey of hospital marketing professionals by the digital media marketing firm Acsys Interactive.

According to the survey, 12.9% of respondents said online videos are "extremely effective," and 33.7% said they are "very effective." Meanwhile, more than half of respondents said they expected the amount of resources devoted to online videos to increase across the next few years.

Videos drive patients to providers
Earlier this month, Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London, Conn., launched a new website that uses video as a key component. The hospital posted a series of videos that features physicians, nurses, and other staff members introducing some of the hospital's key services. According to the hospital's director of public relations and media services, "It's a lot more effective for some people to see something moving and to hear someone talking rather than to read words on a page or words on a screen."

A senior strategist for Acsys says incorporating online video into a marketing plan requires a relatively low investment of time and money. He notes that a recent Google study found that "irrespective of the quality of the video, it's about the trust in the physician and the hospital" highlighted in the video. The study found that 60% of individuals who viewed a video from a credible source made direct contact with the physician or hospital that was featured.

For hospitals that already have an online presence, adding video can help make a website more interactive and increase the length of an average user's visit, according to Acsys' senior vice president of strategy and innovation. He added, "In terms of taking a first step, a series of well-produced and syndicated videos living on a simple YouTube channel and integrated with website platforms can have a lot of legs, create viral activity, and produce strong results without any ongoing baggage" (Lewis Dolan, American Medical News, 8/22).