Our natural voyeuristic instinct to watch other people and places in private is contributing to the rise of the webcam as a powerful marketing tool, according to online network camera company, Network Webcams Ltd.
The rise in webcam use comes at the same time as a shift in marketing spending from TV to the Internet. The growth of Internet marketing is so significant that some leading forecasters are suggesting that Internet marketing could double in value this year. 1
According to Network Webcams Ltd, businesses that want to attract visitors to their websites, and be able to measure the results, are increasingly turning to webcams. Frank Crouwel, Managing Director of Network Webcams Ltd, underlined this saying, “Consumers are spending more time with many types of media now. We’re seeing a shift away from people watching TV as their main source of entertainment and information to greater use of the Internet. Most of us are naturally voyeuristic and that means that websites that have webcams are going be a big draw.”
A report from Jupitar Research called ‘Evolution of Media Use in Europe - Web Impacting Consumption’, found that 27% of European Internet users now spend less time watching TV in favour of the web in 2004 compared to 17% in 2001.
A recent report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau UK found that 26.8 million adults in the UK, 55% of the population, use the Internet. More than one in three of all UK households have Internet access and seven million households have a broadband connection, which is expected to double over the next five years. 2
This trend has not gone unnoticed by those in charge of marketing budgets as businesses look for new ways to attract customers. Spending on Internet advertising grew 60% in 2004 at a time when advertising as a whole managed growth of only 5.8%.
The webcam is one of the best ways to drive traffic to websites. Network Webcams recently set up two powerful webcams on the roof of the MacDonald Castle Hotel in Windsor to capture the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles to Camilla Parker Bowles. The website, www.royalwedding.com, received 185,000 visitors from around the world within 48 hours of the webcam going live. 3 During this period the MacDonald Castle Hotel wedding venue page got over 10,400 visitors compared to a normal monthly average of 400 visits before the wedding.
The Oban and Lorn Tourism Association also installed a webcam on their website after the foot and mouth crisis hit tourism in the area in 2001. In July 2001, the site attracted just over 413,000 visitors. By July 2004, the number of visitors to the site had soared to 1,351,966. The camera is currently set up in a local restaurant which beams out 10 pre-set views and attracts 80,000 visitors to the website every month through camvista.com.
Network Webcams Ltd believes that both these cases illustrate how the webcam will become increasingly integral to Internet marketing campaigns, especially in sectors such as tourism. Frank Crouwel said, “The extra interest a webcam can generate for a tourism site is significant. A moving image gives you a lot more feel for a place, especially for people who haven’t been there before. It’s also nice for people who have been there to re-visit online and perhaps encourage them to return”.