5 Ways Interactivity In Video is Transforming Audience Engagement

By Jennifer Darrouzet, Director, Product Marketing & Sales Enablement, uStudio

Remember when we used to just sit idly and stare at videos like lapdogs? Well, for the most part, we’re still doing that. But change is in the air! The growth in HTML5 is transforming the potential of video and revolutionizing how viewers interact and engage with video content. From polls and surveys to e-commerce and social sharing, video is evolving from a simple monologue that talks at you into a rich, interactive dialogue that engages with you. Hey video — welcome to the 21st century!

Companies and brands are using the latest video tools to draw viewers in more deeply through interactivity and deliver valuable data back to the business. Below are five increasingly immersive ways you too can use video to create more interactive experiences and extend your marketing campaigns beyond traditional web pages.

  1. “Notice This” — Website visitors are used to navigating wherever they want to go on a given site, but most of us just watch passively when it comes to videos. Marketers can now call out key points in videos by using speech bubbles, pop-up boxes (yes, like VH-1), chapter markers and labels. This lets viewers choose what they want to see and when — from key topics in a company meeting to a “wow” moment in a sales demo to notable results in a customer testimonial, as in this CTA example.
  2. “Click This” — For better or worse, we live in a world of instant gratification where we’re always looking to find more, buy more, share more, etc. On a web page, users commonly click hyperlinks to additional resources and details before returning to the original content. Embedding relevant links within videos can be equally effective in encouraging viewers to explore subjects further. These can include options to “join now,” “share now” and “learn more” — like this University of Arkansas player which invites viewers to visit the Athletics website and Twitter stream as part of the experience.
  3. “Take This” — It may be old school, but people still like to download certain content from the Internet for future reference. Until recently, videos didn’t offer that option. But now companies can integrate supplemental material in their videos that viewers can download for more detailed information. Examples include case studies within customer testimonial videos, sales decks within sales training videos, financial results within annual report videos, as well as video files for offline viewing scenarios. In this CES video, viewers can easily download a file for more information on conference attendees.
  4. “Master This” — Websites have become go-to repositories of information for learning more about a specific topic. Interactive video provides a similar opportunity with video playlists. Digital marketers can curate and promote mini video series that allow viewers to navigate from one video to the next without ever leaving the player interface. Imagine how this could enhance a group of employee on-boarding videos, a series of conference session highlights or a virtual map of city tourist attractions. This interactive “postcard” of Austin is a great example; as you hover over each letter in AUSTIN or the state capitol image, it lights up and links to a separate promo video.
  5. “Buy This” — Can you imagine a consumer website experience that didn’t offer a “buy now” button? Epic fail from a marketing perspective. Embedding e-commerce capabilities within videos allows companies to create immediate calls to action and drive more direct sales. Real world examples might include a conference promo with links to registration and hotel booking, a product demo with a link to order the latest consumer gadget, or a sign up for fan email lists, along with the ability to buy concert tickets and connect with other fans on social media, as in this Selena Gomez video.

With billions of views per day, it’s no surprise that digital video has taken over as the dominant form of online communication and entertainment. But until companies take the next step to integrate more interactive experiences, viewers might as well be watching TV in the 1980s. These one-way experiences may draw viewers in, but they’re not enabling the kind of engagement it takes to create loyal customers and drive more sales.

Interactive video — with its markups, links, resources, curation, commerce and more — has all the depth and breadth of traditional websites, not to mention deeper analytics and insights into viewer behavior. This new data is a goldmine for audience segmentation and targeting, and a potential windfall for sales and revenue.

Audiences today want to play a more active role in the content they consume. As companies build more interactive experiences into video, the traditional website as we know it will become increasingly obsolete.

The future of video is interactive. Is your business ready?


Jennifer Darrouzet is Director of Product Marketing Director & Sales Enablement at business video platform provider uStudio. She has 15 years’ experience developing, launching & marketing SaaS software products in Austin, TX. She specializes in connecting the dots between new technologies and business outcomes.

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