Interactive Video 101

Considering adding interactive video into your brand’s content plan? Smart move my friend. Interactive video, while fairly new in the industry, is gaining a lot of ground in the marketplace.

When it comes to marketing mediums, you probably already know that video is one of the best options available. In fact, according to Forrester Research, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. That’s pretty powerful.

Add an interactive component to your video, and now you’re likely to get somewhere around a 90% completion rate, multiple views by the same viewer, and up to 3 times more shares than a standard video. Simply put, your brand could gain a lot more exposure with interactive video.

But, how do you decide whether interactive video is right for you? What if you’ve heard the term thrown around a bunch of times, but you aren’t clear on what interactive video actually is (in other words, you couldn’t explain it to a friend). Never fear, we’ve got you covered!

Let’s dive into the basics of interactive video so you can decide whether this new and exciting technology might be just the ticket to get your brand in front of more of your marketplace.


What is interactive video?


Let’s start with first things first - just what is interactive video? Interactive video is, quite simply, video content that allows the viewer to take some sort of action.

This action can be something simple, such as responding to a call to action at the end of the content, for example, clicking a website link. Or, it can be much more complex and can involve such things as allowing the viewer to take control of the video by switching camera angles, or providing some sort of gamification aspect to engage viewers and hold their attention.

While interactive video has been on the horizon for awhile, in the last year more heavy hitting brands have started adding it to their content campaigns. Large companies such as Coca-Cola are using the technology. One example includes a Mother’s Day ad that allowed the viewer to switch between a mother and daughter’s viewpoint.

Another great example of interactive video for marketing comes from Madewell, who used interactive video to create an experience where viewers can select clothing styles, accessories, and even choose details such as whether the actress should drink coffee or tea in their recent interactive video campaign. By getting the viewer involved there is more buy in and more attention for the brand.


Why interactive video now?


Or, put another way, why is interactive video working so well? We’ve found a few reasons why this medium is taking video marketing by storm. First of all, there is a lot of content being created day in and day out. From phone recorded indie videos to full scale productions, there is so much content available that in order to compete for a viewer’s attention, content needs to be super compelling, or it can get ruled out as noise.

Not only is there more content available now than ever before (we’re talking 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube per MINUTE alone), but while we keep getting inundated with content, our attention spans are shortening to the tune of 8.5 seconds. Yes, congratulations ladies and gentlemen, we now rival goldfish for our attention spans.

What all this means is that in order to get, and keep, your viewer’s attention, your content needs to be something unique and special. One great way to get in front of your audience and hold their attention is to provide them with an experience they will remember. Interactive video is that unique experience that can get your viewers collaborating with you as they interact with the content.


Who is Interactive Video for?


Interactive video is being used extensively in the advertising and marketing world. Companies like eko have made this relatively new technology easily accessible with their eko video player.


Interactive video can have a variety of applications, depending on the brand that is utilizing the content, but some common applications include:

Retail: Interactive retail videos can include simple elements such as clickable links for shopping, or more complex gamification elements such as the Madewell example of choosing accessories and styles.

Education: An educational interactive video might include a quiz that students take before moving on to another section of the video.

Entertainment: Artists like Bob Dylan have even started to use interactive video in music videos and other promotional materials as a form of engaging viewers and encouraging multiple views.  


Why do people love interactive video?


In a world where people love to DIY - and where virtual and augmented realities are becoming more and more popular, it makes sense that the two mediums would come together in the form of interactive video.

Whether that means a viewer gets to actually control a story through controlling a character in a video game scenario, or maybe he or she can control camera angles, allowing them to see different points of view, or perhaps they get to interact with the content by testing their knowledge about a topic or sharing some info with content creators - the verdict is in - interactive video is here to stay and will continue to grow as a strong medium for sharing messages in your content.

By including interactive video in your content campaigns you have an opportunity to reach across the screen and interact with your customer by creating highly personalized experiences they will remember. Which, is pretty much priceless.


How to get started with interactive video


For brands looking to get started with the interactive video trend, one of the options we recommend is using what eko calls a Spark. A Spark is a creative ad unit that is highly personalized to your viewer. In essence, it is a pre-roll video that acts as an interactive ad.

Some great examples of current Spark content can be found by Coke Red, Sprite, and also Vitaminwater. By using this new interactive medium instead of traditional advertising, it is possible to interrupt the viewer without upsetting him or her.

As you may have guessed, traditional marketing is working less and less on savvy consumers. People are well aware when they are being advertised to, and they are none too happy when it happens. Even popular subscription services like Hulu are giving subscribers the option to buy their way out of being advertised to in an effort to appeal to the desire for an interruption free experience.

While the “in your face” marketing styles of the 60s and 70s might have worked in the past, they certainly don’t work today. Getting people to not only see your advertisement, but have a positive reaction to it requires thinking out of the box. Utilizing the Spark technology is a great way to get a viewer’s attention and keep it, while still providing advertising content for your brand. 

The reality is that interactive video could be just the ticket to start maximizing views and getting more eyes on an offer. If you need numbers to convince you, we’ve seen that interactive video typically has completion rates of 90% and users are 3 times more likely to share content in an interactive video than a traditional video.

Want more numbers? Based on some research conducted by Innovid, it has been reported that interactive video gives your content a 591% lift in activity over standard pre-roll content, and buys you approximately 44 more seconds of your viewer’s attention span.

In other words? It works.



An out of the box interactive video example


Singer/songwriter Bob Dylan utilized interactive video with his music video “Like a Rolling Stone.” Viewers could switch “channels” by utilizing the up and down arrows on their keyboard and could then watch various lip syncing versions of the song play out. What the viewer watched was completely up to them, and could change each time they played the video.

The viewer could switch channels between a TV shopping network, the History channel, a tennis match and several other scenarios, creating a completely unique version each time it was watched. Did it work? On average Dylan’s music video was watched in its entirety 3 times per viewer - which is an insanely high rate of views and engagement per person. Even though the video was published 2015, it is still being talked about today.


When should you add in interactive video?


For startups that are interested in adding interactive video to their current content, now is as good a time as any to take the leap into this new medium. Here at Fabulist, we love helping startups create interactive video that gets your brand remembered and liked.

We can help your brand stand out in a crowded content market with interactive video that connects and converts. Ready to find out how we can help you? Get in touch with us and let’s make it happen!

Matthew Helbig