Every advertiser and businessperson knows that the key to winning and retaining customers is to engage with them in a meaningful way. While traditional video can do a great job at connecting with viewers, it’s a passive experience for them. Enter the interactive video. The media has gained traction over the past few years as video platforms like Innovid, Facebook and Vimeo have made it easier for content creators to use it. From rollover icons with additional information to “choose-your-own-adventure” style viewing, interactive video has the potential to engage with viewers on a deeper level and maintain that engagement for a longer period of time. In their 2017 Global Video Benchmarks report, video marketing platform Innovid found that interactive video campaigns increase user activity by 561% when compared to standard pre-roll advertisements and a 3% increase of activity rate such as visits to an external website. With this video format being tested on Instagram and Facebook, interactive video campaigns are bound to become more common among social media marketers. Here are three ways interactive video has been successfully executed.

1. The Rollover Icon

Rollover icons are an easy layer to add to your video to make it more useful to your viewer. This format is great for providing viewers with additional information that isn’t explored in the video itself. This can be as simple as a link to the company’s website or as complex as a quiz or form that viewers can fill out. Last year, British tea and coffee brand Taylors of Harrogate ran a campaign that used a clickable button in the corner of their video. When users scroll over it, they are prompted to take a quiz to find their perfect coffee or tea flavour. They are also given the option to buy products and sign up for email deals. Despite being simple, this technique gives users a more comprehensive understanding of the product or service they are interested in but let’s them decide what information is important. What’s more, the brand saw a 35% increase in engagement as a result of launching the interactive video.

2. The 360 Video

With the rise of virtual reality came an increased use of 360 degree cameras. In 2015, Facebook launched its virtual reality-lite format and began testing 360-degree video ads with brands like Samsung and Nestle. Despite relative success this format is taking a while to catch on, but it is bound to gain traction. Its lack of popularity in the past can be attributed to criticisms that it can be a dizzying experience that is difficult to watch. However, 360 cameras have improved and as the medium becomes more prominent advertisers are getting smarter about how and why they use it.  After all, when done right, it’s great way to make viewers feel immersed in the content. A great example of tasteful 360 video is this Nescafé #GoodMorningWorld 360 ad.

3. Personalized Content

Another, albeit more complex, way to make your video content interactive is to have the viewer input personal information that in turn customizes the content. A hugely successful instance of this is the interactive short film “The Wilderness Downtown” created for Canadian band Arcade Fire’s song We Used to Wait. On the landing page of the website, the viewer is asked to put in an address. When the viewer clicks play, a pop up window launches with a video entirely based off of Google maps images of the area surrounding the address.This technique has also been used to input a viewer’s Instagram photos into a video in this short film Weird Box. This format has been little used in the advertising world, but it has serious potential to engage with consumers on a deeper level.

4. Choose your own adventure Consumers like options and they like control. By using a choose-your-own-adventure format in video, advertisers can give them both. This type of content doesn’t feel like a typical ad experience because it\’s fun to use. While it seems like a high tech method, it\’s actually quite simple to execute. In most cases, the experience is not one video but a series of many, each ending in clickable links that take the viewer seamlessly to the next video based off of the option they chose. The segments are short, so it\’s easy to get caught up clicking through from one video segment to the next. Toyota created this Choose Your Wild campaign that puts users behind the wheel as they set off on an off-road adventure of their choosing. The brand is also able to include graphics and text highlighting key features of the car throughout the experience.

While interactive video may not ever eclipse traditional video advertisements, there is a time and place for this engaging format. The real barrier is the technology these formats use, but with Facebook invested in 360 video and other platforms following along, there is no doubt that more and more brands will turn to interactive video to create meaningful engagement from their consumers.

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Madelaine Sawyers

Author Madelaine Sawyers

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