NEW YORK: Marketers like Nissan, Virgin Mobile and Intuit are using online video less as a means of selling products and more as a way to engage consumers via digital channels.

This is the picture that emerged from conversations between a number of brand executives and DigiDay, the media company.

"Building compelling engagement first is key for us to earn our way into the conversation," said Ron Faris, head of brand marketing at Virgin Mobile USA, the telecoms business. He explained that the company uses branded content on social channels "with the ability to retarget later with display ads".

Intuit, the small business supplier, is using video as part of a wider relationship marketing initiative. "We plan to align content and format to the buying and retention behaviour of our prospects and customers, respectively," said Cezanne Huq, head of online acquisition.

Consequently "earned and paid video and various branded content will be used to facilitate the relationship and will be given more of an emphasis this year".

At Nissan, the carmaker, the focus is on mobile-friendly video. Erich Marx, director of integrated and social media marketing, outlined the need for video content to have a purpose, whether driving the brand or issuing a call to action and said Nissan would be tagging content "to encourage and optimize search activity."

"Seeding the video is a must," he added. "It's like giving a child a push on a two-wheeler bike. Even great content benefits from a few strategically placed, paid placements."

A 2012 report from goviral, the seeding firm, found that Red Bull, Google, Disney, Nike and Samsung are the brands boasting the greatest amount of "social video equity".

It reported that every member of the top five secured over 50m views of their content, indicating the huge potential audience available for brands achieving success.

Goviral's report was compiled before Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking skydive, in association with Red Bull, an event which Mads Holman, goviral's planning director argued "may, by its own virtue, influence the way the industry looks at storytelling in the future".

Data sourced from DigiDay/Warc; additional content by Warc staff