Remember choose your own adventure stories? Did you read them like I did, delighting in making your own decisions about how the story would progress? Did you cheat and look forward to see what the results of your next choice would be? In the words of internationally recognized interaction designer and educational pioneer Janet Murray, didn’t you love being an interacter instead of a viewer? According to Murray, we can be seduced into engaging with situations we might otherwise look away from by a great story with choices we can make inside it. The same can be said for interactivity in marketing campaigns. Where a viewer would normally turn away from or not even notice a linear video, they are much more likely to lean right into an interactive brand story.
I’m the first to admit that I’m a red button pusher. I love that our company makes interactive video because it lets the audience lean in and push buttons. I also love that we make interactive video because it “makes people watch video three times or more longer than a non-interactive version, and produces much higher engagement”. (Variety)
What Do We Mean By Interactive Video?
Interactive video gives our audience choice in how much and in which order they consume the content we’ve created. In the same way that an audience builds and consumes the version of our transmedia sandwich that suits them best, they decide which parts of our interactive video story to see first, and how deep to dive into the subject at hand.
Why Use Interactive Video?
It’s easy. It doesn’t cost a lot, and it concretely drives audience engagement. In the past, the biggest objection to interactive video was cost. It took a long time to make all the video elements fit together as they should, and the result still didn’t let the audience navigate easily in a video that looked great. These days, the tech does more of the work, and a video can get done for quite a reasonable price.
In a recent study by Brightcove Inc. and Demand Media called “Interactive Video: Defining & Measuring Performance”, nearly two-thirds of respondents reported that use of interactive video drives better engagement, engagement that comes from gameification, personalization, and a general feeling of the audience leaning into their experience.
As marketers, we can pull stats from quizzes and other interaction tools to learn about where the audience spends their time. We can use this information to tweak our video assets or build new ones, and to replace the interactive video sections that aren’t working with something that works better. Which means a virtuous circle of better audience engagement in a short period of time.
In fact, interactive video is not only about engaging the audience; it’s also about customer support. In an article called “Could interactive video shape the future of customer engagement?”, Zentrick founder and CEO, Pieter Mees, said “…from a customer support side, you’re talking about being able to automate personalised messages to people and in-turn, deliver more enriched, relevant content.” Win-win situation, right?
Down the road, we envision much bigger things for interactive video. Imagine being able to determine who lives or dies in Game of Thrones? Or, maybe one day we’ll be able to vote on which plot twist an action movie should take. (Interactive Video: A Gamechanger for the Medium or Just Another Gimmick?) The technology already exists, so it’s probably only a matter of time.
In the meantime, here are a couple of ways you can try out interactive video for yourself.
Emily Smith is *no campfire required’s Head of Business Development. She’s the connector of brand clients with our company, so we can connect them with their audiences in the long term.