The rise of interactive videos

It is no secret that video use in content marketing is on the rise. Videos give brands incredible results — the kind they can’t get with other content. It can help explain more complicated stories in a short and compelling format viewers can enjoy — and marketers can measure.

The problem is, everybody knows that by now. To differentiate yourself, you need to take it one step further: Interactive videos. According to a recent Wyzowl survey, only 24% of marketers interviewed have used interactive video, but of these, 92% said it was an effective tool! It is clear that the early adopters of interactive video are happy with the results.

What is interactive video?

Interactive video (“IV”) is a type of digital video that enables user interaction. These videos play like regular video files, but include interactions that perform an action based on the actions of the viewer.

What are the interaction possibilities?

Quizzes: Pause and assess. Questions for the user, ensuring he is on the same page before moving on in the video. In the example, Sear

Q&A: Engage with user and capture insightful data to inform future content choices.

Branching: The user controls the flow of information. Similar to seeking out the information when browsing websites, branching allows the user to navigate options in the video. In the example ‘Earth 2045’ by M&C Saatchi Stockholm, the viewer can swipe to the left or the right to compare the two alternative realities for the future of our environment. By controlling the content the user is making a small choice — and sees immediate consequences.

Hot Spots: Mouse-over elements in a video to receive additional information. In some cases the user can shop products directly in a video or receive more information about a certain topic.

Polls: Sharing his opinion enables self-benchmarking for the user by viewing the response of peers.

Text Annotations: Emphasize a point or let the user select his or her next steps with visually interesting in video links to related content.

Calculators: Illustrate or guide the user by providing interactive budgeting and calculation tools in the video.

Chaptalization: The video is divided into chapters, allowing the user to jump between content interests. The IV Set Wars lets the viewer choose between certain chapters of the film while they watch the video (Verse, 2015).

Different types of IV

Customizable IV enable the user to adjust some variables, e.g. their name, and then play a video customized to his preferences. 
E.g. an interactive music video that uses a picture of the user and features it in several sequences throughout the video (Santigold, 2016).

Conversational IV enable the user to interact with a video in a turn-based manner, almost as though the user was having a simple conversation with the characters in the video.

E.g., an IV by Stagework features Ian McKellen who answers the viewers question about a speech (Percy, 2014).

Exploratory videos allow the user to move through a space or look at an object such as an artwork from multiple angles, almost as though the user was looking at the object in real life. The object or space is depicted using video loops, not still, creating a more “live” feel.

Innovative uses of IV

Usher — ‘Chains’ music video

Musician Usher recorded ’Chains’, an anthem to advocate for unarmed victims of violence. To ensure the public paid attention to this important issue, the song was launched exclusively on Here, visitors are compelled to look into victims of brutality and confront the shocking facts of each person’s story. Facial recognition software, activated through a webcam stops the music if the viewer looks away.

Will You Fit Into Deloitte?

Deloitte New Zealand, working with Little Sister Films digital video agency, created “Will You Fit Into Deloitte,” a point of view, interactive recruiting video that takes viewers inside the Deloitte culture while also educating viewers on Deloitte’s various service lines. By clicking on choice points within the video, viewers get to walk in the shoes of a new Deloitte employee and decide his courses of action (be they right or wrong). Educate potential candidates of Deloitte’s Graduate Recruitment campaign about the company’s culture and various service lines in a light hearted, innovative, and interactive way, transforming what are usually dry and boring recruitment videos.

Why you should use it?

IV provides the user with the liberty to take control of online video and allows discoveries beyond the frame, which makes a story/message richer. The viewer has an easier understanding of the content and feels more involved. Furthermore, the interactions and analytics of IV can help providers to identify interests, personalize content, and build momentum through relevance. Through longer viewing times, you foster better engagement, heighten audience understanding, and strengthen message retention. Marketing automation, personalization, and interactivity add to video’s naturally dynamic, engaging medium, putting your audience in control.

Ultimately, don’t think of IV as a one-hit wonder. You should approach it as a long-term tool with a long-term goal. It takes commitment, and you want to sustain momentum by improving on and learning from each video you make. With the right video strategy in place, your company will benefit from its powerful potential to tell engaging stories and inspire audiences to take action.

Are you ready for interactive video?

You better be. 43% of businesses plan to use interactive video in 2017.

If you want to keep up, make sure you’re one of them.