You feel more connected with the story since you're no longer a viewer. It gives you the power to alter the storyline the way you decide to. And that makes you connect with the movie.
Imagine if you could do something similar to your marketing videos. Wouldn't that be great? Think about it. This could be your chance to make your videos more engaging.
The longer your audience engages with your video, the more they connect with it and that goes a long way in driving conversions. It would also improve the quality of leads you get. So at the end of the day, you get the best bang for your buck.
With interactive videos, you can get the engagement you deserve. Let's take a look at what we're going to cover.
As the name suggests, they are videos that the audience can interact with. And with this extra interactivity, they tend to retain the audience for a longer time.
Companies have been facing quite a challenge trying to grab attention. Even when they have the attention of their audience, retention is difficult.
The result? Low conversion rates and millions of marketing dollars going down in the drains.
The solution? Interactive videos.
This video by RBS is a great example of how you can grab the attention of viewers and hold it. Since you're calling the shots, you want to know the consequences. And that is how these videos ensure that you stick around longer.
After the amazing experience, when you're shown an option to check out RBS's savings scheme, you do it. And it's all because these few moments that you spent on the video made you trust RBS more.
Research suggests that 35% of marketers using interactive video extensively saw increased conversions, and 25% saw increased sales.
In this attention-scarce digital world, these videos provide real engagement. Engaged audiences convert better and are more likely to become loyal customers.
If you're using it for brand awareness instead, you're in luck. Since these videos are so interesting, people love sharing them.
Just in case you’re wondering, yes, these videos work on social media. Although your experience on social media would be a limited one since only 360-degree videos work on social media for now.
But that shouldn’t stop you from going for interactive videos on social media. Look at how Mahindra has used a 360-degree video to showcase its car. The experience is immersive and is very straightforward. So you get to know everything you need to know about the car in a matter of minutes.
It wouldn’t take you a long time to imagine how you could put these videos to use for your products and services.
Sounds good, but why should YOUR company use these videos? Let's discuss that!
The benefits of using interactive videos are many. Let's talk about a few of them:
1. Better Engagement Rates: I can't stress enough how important this aspect of interactive videos is. Once your video loads up, you have your audience's undivided attention. And that makes the viewing experience active. The gamification of the viewing process revs up the engagement further.
2. Higher Conversion Rates: You don't want your audience to watch the video and walk away. You want them to perform a specific action like visiting your website or filling up a form. And that happens when the viewer finds value in your video. With these videos, the value comes in the form of the experience it delivers. And that brings the conversion rates up by a long shot.
3. Deeper Connections: Interactive videos enable you to make long-term relationships with your audience. It does that by making the audience a key player in deciding the direction the video goes in. This establishes a connection between you and the viewers that lasts long.
4. Better Recall: Since your audience is an active part of the video, they are more likely to remember it. So when they have a problem that needs to be solved, they're more likely to come to you for it. Moreover, with a better recall, your brand could spread from word of mouth. And that is every marketer's dream.
5. Better Understanding of Audience: Since you have the ability to track every click, you get to know your audience better. You can then use this knowledge to tweak your video as per your audience's preference. This helps you put out the best possible content for your audience to consume. That, in turn, improves the engagement and conversion rates.
Now that you know why you should use interactive videos, let’s take a look at some of its types!
While there are many ways to add interactivity to your video, we're not going to discuss every single one of them. We're only going to focus on three types of interactive videos since they're distinct. Each adds a different way the audience engages with the video.
We have skipped YouTube annotations as well. Now, I know that many of you have seen great results with them. We've seen it at its best, too. But that kind of engagement that it provides is not even close to what we're discussing here.
YouTube annotations take viewers to different videos or websites. But interactive videos don't do that. They keep the viewers on the same video and still add more view time. And they do so by making changes in the video itself.
With that out of the way, let's talk about the types of interactive videos:
The first type of interactive videos that we're going to discuss is the 360-degree videos. 360-degree photos are quite a thing on Facebook already so you might have an idea of how these videos are.
These videos give viewers an immersive experience. What that means is that you could attend an Alter Bridge concert while sitting on your couch.
But it doesn't stop there. 360-degree videos can be an excellent platform for telling stories. Check out this video of Carré Bleu, for example.
Look at how he talks about his music production methods. You'll notice the perfect soundstage setup. You would also notice that the focus of the sound shifts as you turn around. This makes you feel like you're actually standing out there.
And that is what makes 360-degree videos great. It allows you to set up a stage that puts your viewer in the right state of mind.
To give a different perspective, look at how the popular travel agency, TUI, used a 360-degree video of Iceland to promote their travel packages for the country. And as you can see, it worked out well. It gives the audience a glimpse of the experience they would have if they go to Iceland. After watching the video, it is up to you (the audience) to decide if you need that experience for yourself.
If you do decide to go for it, the link is always present in the description. This way the viewer doesn't have to put in much effort to use TUI's services.
Think about it. If you want to sell your car to the customer, wouldn't it be great if the customer could feel like they're in the showroom? Wouldn't it be great if the customer could see all the other cars as well? And then maybe see the car from all angles—both on the interior and exterior.
Such an experience would definitely help the viewer make an informed purchase decision without having to step out of the house.
A car dealership is just one of the many places 360-degree videos can find themselves useful in. Educating your customer about your production process? Use a 360-degree video. Promoting your chemical procedure? Use a 360-degree video. Giving your customers a demo of your product? Again, use a 360-degree video.
There can be many situations in which these videos can bring a huge change. They can help you connect better, build trust, and even influence your customer's purchase decision.
If you've seen Black Mirror: Bandersnatch on Netflix, you're already familiar with this type of interactive video. These videos don't give you a 360-degree view of the scene. What they give you is something more engaging. They give you the ability to guide the story.
In these videos, you're given a choice amongst two or three options. Based on this choice the latter part of the video is decided. This gives you the power to decide the direction that you want the story to take.
For businesses, these videos work great for educating viewers. It could also be used for. But one of the most innovative ways of using it was by Allianz Global Investors. They used it for onboarding. Look at how that worked out.
What makes it amazing is right off the bat you don't realize your onboarding is not going to be a regular one. So when Jill (the buddy) asks you if you're up for induction or if you're ready to go, it comes as a surprise.
This element of surprise hooks you and beyond that, the entire onboarding is gamified. I loved how there were a few funny elements here and there. Humor makes the experience even better. And it would really help alleviate some of the stress a new recruit would be under.
But that's how Allianz Global Investors used it. You could plug this type of interactive videos wherever you think it would fit best.
For example, you could go with KPMG’s way of making the video interactive. Look at how they did it:
The interaction in the video is simple. It gives you three options to choose from. These options are different sectors in which the company aids digital transformation. So based on what you need, you can click the option of your choice and see how KPMG can help you go digital in that sector.
And it does that in a seamless way. But since all the videos are stacked next to each other in a linear fashion, it is rather easy to implement. This is perhaps the easiest way to add interactivity to your video.
Mostly, however, branching videos don’t have individual videos stacked in a linear fashion. In fact, that is one of the USPs of these videos. The non-linear path these videos follow give creators a lot of room for creativity.
A non-linear way of representing similar information can be seen in this video by HP:
Notice how the menu doesn’t really hint at what could come first? It is all up to you, the viewer to decide what you want to know about first. You can always come back to this screen if you want to know about some other feature of the product series.
While you could argue that the flow of the video is in one direction so it should be a linear video, remember that you can jump to the menu anytime you want. And once you’re at the menu, you can jump to any other feature. This comes off as non-linear and non-cyclical.
The simplest kind of interactive videos are the hotspot videos. In these videos, we have certain parts of the screen that lead somewhere when clicked. This is very similar to YouTube annotations except for the fact that you can program your page to load within the video.
This way, you only have to make one video and then add the layers of interactivity that you want to add on it.
This works great when you're in the business of manufacturing things. Imagine being a manufacturer of different parts of a machine. In the video, you could have the machine rotate on the screen. As different parts of the machine come into the picture, you can add hotspots to them that lead to the purchase pages for those parts.
When you do it this way, the process becomes intuitive and rewarding for you and your viewers. Look at how the fashion brand Mango did it.
Different clothes and accessories worn by the models in the video are used as hotspots. This gives them a lot of products to showcase to the viewers.
For the viewers, they get to see how the products would look and what they could wear to match the product. I'll be honest here, I don't have a sense of fashion. So I heavily rely on what the models wear to understand what I should wear. If someone like me sees a video like this, everything on the screen is going straight into the cart.
And that is just one way of using these videos. You can customize the video as per your need. You could use it for showing for different skin procedures your hospital does. Or you could show the different features of your app. In fact, these videos work for almost every product under the sun.
Another great example of how these videos can be used comes from yet another fashion brand, Ted Baker.
The video works in a similar way, with the clothes and accessories being hotspots for the users to click and buy. What makes this video different from the previous one is the increased number of hotspots.
What I liked the most about this video was how the models kept putting on more clothes and accessories throughout the video. This gives you an idea of how things would look should you decide to drop an accessory or two.
Thanks to the interactivity, you can now get an idea of how much the look would cost you.
With so many uses and unmatched simplicity, these videos could be perfect for you.
Still confused about how you should use interactive videos? Read on!
Interactive videos can be used for almost all business communication needs of yours.
You could use these videos to advertise your products/services to your customers. You could use these videos for educating your audience about related concepts. And as we previously saw, you could use these videos for onboarding new recruits.
The choice is yours. But for now, we're only going to talk about the uses of these videos we're particularly fond of.
So let's dive straight into it!
Consider this scenario.
You've had an idea in your head for a long time. You work hard to make it into a product that you believe the audience needs. And you know for sure that the audience would love it. But when you release the product, the audience has a hard time understanding the product. And that gets in the way of your product's success.
Does this hit close to home?
You need an interactive product video. One that would blow your audience's minds.
Picture this in your head. Your potential customer lands on an important landing page of yours. Once there, she is met with an interactive video about your product. This video lets her interact with a visual representation of your product.
What do you think would be the result of this?
The result would invariably be a better rate of conversion. Once your audience gets a taste of what the experience of using your product would be like, they're likely to buy it.
Now, different products have different target audiences. With branching interactive videos, you can let the audience choose the story that they can relate to best. When the audience moves forward with the story now, it speaks to them directly which makes the video effective.
Look at how Honda used an interactive video to promote Civic and Civic Type-R. The car manufacturer has gone ahead with two storylines targeting two different audiences. Those into speed, can go ahead with the video of Civic Type-R. Those looking forward to getting a family car can watch the video of Civic instead.
While Civic is more of a family car, Civic Type-R is more of a sports car. But since both the cars belong to the same lineup, what could be a better way to show the differences than with an interactive video?
The best part of this video is the recall value it brings by asking the viewers to press 'R' to make the switch. And guess what the average people spent on it was. Three minutes! What else can you possibly ask out of your video?
You’ve seen just how amazing hotspot videos work for the fashion industry. For the ecommerce industry, these interactive videos work great too. Even if you’re just educating the audience like LaCantina did in this video!
What makes this video so impressive is that it bridges the gap between what you would consider an educational video and what you would consider a product video. It educates you about the things you need to keep in mind while choosing your door. But in doing so, it educates you about its products as well.
This makes you trust the brand more. And if you’re actually looking forward to buying a door, you might as well make the purchase decision right away. That is just how powerful trust is.
Moreover, it gives you the power to decide what it is that you want to know about. So now that you’re watching what you’re really interested in, you’d be engaged for a longer time. It feels like the video directly talks to you when that happens. And that leads to conversions.
Between practical classes and theoretical classes, which classes do you remember better? I, for one, remember the practical classes better. The reason behind that was the fact that I could interact with objects during the practical classes. That put multiple senses to work resulting in better recall.
Behind every educational content is a lot of hours that you spend researching. Or even collecting your knowledge and compiling it. So when you put your educational content out there, you want it to perform well. After all the effort you put into it, you need people to understand and remember it.
And that is where interactive educational videos come in. These videos are exceptionally great at educating the audience about concepts.
You might be thinking on the lines of brand awareness videos. But that's not it. Interactive educational videos stretch far and beyond that.
Interactive educational videos are effective in explaining your product to the audience. So when you think of demand generation, you could use these videos. Needless to say, you would see amazing results with it.
Look at this video by the indie game developer Nicky Case explaining how neurons work.
See how interactivity makes you remember the video better? It sure helped me remember how neurons work and how they can be reprogrammed. And the best part of it was that I didn't have to take much effort.
I wasn't just a viewer, I was an active part of the video and was interacting with it every now and then. This made the whole experience a fun and memorable one.
Interactive educational videos give you this edge. And for your viewers, it gives an unparalleled entertaining educational experience.
But education doesn’t end there, does it? It extends far and beyond that. If you’re a non-profit, you would know the importance of educating the audience about your cause. Why not do it like Portugal. The Man did it in this video?
The song was way up high on the billboard charts so I’m sure many of you would’ve heard it. What makes the video interesting is the way it was used as a platform to educate people about various causes (30, in total). Since you need to find the causes in the video, you watch intently. You get a certain degree of adrenaline rush as well because of the gamification. Before you know it, you’re hooked to the video.
Coming to actually educating the viewers about the causes, it gives a link to all the causes you could find. This way, the video stays short and you educate yourself about the causes you want to support. Moreover, it gives you an option to unlock all the causes so that you can see if there’s something you would want to support amongst those you missed out.
And this was a music video. Imagine what you could do with a custom interactive video made specifically for your non-profit!
Let's face it, corporate communication is not all that exciting. Think about the kind of messaging used in recruitment and onboarding. Is it engaging? Probably not.
Or think about the emails sent to employees about the latest events in the company. Are they engaging? Probably not.
But fret not. With interactive videos, corporate communication can be as engaging as social media content. Don't trust me? Look at this video by Deloitte.
The video talks about whether you would be a good fit for the company or not. And it does so by giving you options every step of the way. Based on your choice, events occur in the video. And if you've made the right choice, you get to see the company value associated with that choice.
This gamification helps potential candidates remember the company's values and see if they're a good fit. Moreover, it makes them want to work at Deloitte since they have a sneak peek into the office culture.
So that's two birds hit with one stone. And the best part of this is, these videos stay. It's not like you're going to make an interactive video about the office culture and only use it once. You're going to use it for months—even years.
More importantly, it creates a recall value that is hard to create otherwise.
There's a lot of competition in the music industry. So the artists are always on the lookout to come up with something that sets them apart. Apart from the music itself, music videos can give them something that sets them apart.
For many songs, the music videos have been as memorable as the songs themselves. We've written about how music videos have changed over the generations. You could check that out if you wish.
Music videos are influential already, but what if you make them more engaging? What if your audience could interact with the music video? Wouldn't that give the audience the best possible experience?
To give listeners an immersive experience, FOALS made a 360-degree interactive music video for their song "Mountain At My Gates".
The song itself is amazing and quite a treat to listen to. But when you couple it with that music video, you get something even more amazing. The music video allows listeners to feel like they're a part of the music video.
With the band performing all around the viewers, fans get an opportunity to be virtually up and close with the band. And that creates an experience that is hard to forget.
Interactive videos provide you with a world of creative opportunities. You can have almost anything you want in the video. But would putting just about anything support your marketing goals?
It wouldn't. And that's why we've compiled a list of the elements that actually make your interactive video great. Let's take a look at them!
Making an interactive video is not a simple affair. There are a lot of things that you need to worry about to ensure a good experience for your viewers. One of these things is the user goal.
When you define user goals, you have a clear path for the viewer in mind. This helps you out in two ways.
Firstly, it adds meaningful actions to your video. Interactivity is great but if you don't guide the viewer through a journey, it's of no use. Random interactions with the video that lead nowhere aren't engaging enough. And even if you get the engagement you want, you wouldn't get a good recall value.
Secondly, it makes the viewers feel like they're a part of a coherent story. This not only enhances their overall experience but also creates a recall value. When the viewers feel like they're a part of the video, they engage better and for a longer time. Moreover, they are more likely to share it with the people they know. It excites them and is quite a rewarding experience.
As you can see, you can benefit in a lot of ways if you have defined specific user goals.
When you have a tracking mechanism in place, you can see how the video is performing. Based on your analysis, you can then tweak the video for it to perform better.
Consider for a second that you don't have a tracking mechanism in place. How would you know what parts of the video your viewers are interacting with? Not knowing this comes with a lot of drawbacks. To start with, you won't be able to know how your viewers are reacting to your video. Without that knowledge, you won't be able to give them better videos. This is bound to affect the brand's reputation.
If you have a tracking mechanism in place, things would be much different.
The analytics could show you if the viewers are going in the right direction. Alternatively, you can also see if the viewers are going in a specific direction. When that happens, you could always add more content out there for them to have a better experience.
With the analytics, you can see what's not working for the video and you can remove those interactions. Or you could tweak the video to make those interactions more relevant (if you really need them).
There's a lot you can do when you know how the viewers are reacting to your interactive video.
While both of the elements mentioned above are very important, this element requires the most amount of brainstorming. Gamification of anything is not an easy task. But if you're able to do it, the engagement score of your video rises exponentially.
Let's go back to the interactive video by Allianz Global Investments for a moment. Notice how you get points for the actions you perform? These points are what we're talking about.
As someone undergoing the induction, you would want to get as many points as possible. So you take careful steps and that increases the engagement rate of the video.
But the most important reason why gamification of videos is needed is that it makes the content easily consumable. On your first day at the office, you're anxious. That might reduce the efficiency of the onboarding process. But when you're met with a gamified onboarding process, you're less anxious. And that brings up the efficiency of the process.
And that's just one scenario. When learning is gamified with interactive videos, you get something much more powerful. You get to learn in a much more fun way. And that makes you remember concepts better. Moreover, it makes you want to share the video with the relevant people.
The best part of interactive videos? You don’t need to be a developer to make your video interactive! Let’s take a look at some of the tools you can use to make an interactive video.
To achieve the desired result, you need a tool that excels in the type of interactive video you want to make. But with improvement in technology, these tools get better. And the choice gets tougher.
These tools can help even non-developers make their own high-quality interactive videos. All you need is the right tool and we've gone through many of those to bring you the best ones.
So here are some of the best platforms out there:
When it comes to giving the audience an interactive cinematic experience, there aren’t many tools better than eko. The company started out as Interlude but was later renamed to eko. Back when it began, it was an interactive music video platform. It was much later that it branched out to entertainment and cooking.
As of now, the platform hosts a number of videos from popular entertainment content creators such as Buzzfeed and Fine Brothers Entertainment. The platform even has a few of its own original series as well.
Now, I know that many of you aren’t from the entertainment industry. So how is this platform even relevant for you?
The main reason behind that is that eko is one of the best tools when it comes to making branching interactive videos. So the interactive experiences you create make a lasting impact on the audience. Moreover, the platform is quite easy to use and you can always refer to the documentation if you find yourself stuck somewhere.
Another reason is the fact that, at the end of the day, it is an interactive storytelling platform. And that motivates a lot of companies to use the platform to tell their story. Given the way I introduced you to the platform, I’m sure many of you would be thinking that the platform is only meant for entertainers. But I’d like you to know that companies like IKEA, Shell, Redbull, Coca Cola, and Nike have used the platform for their videos as well.
And by keeping the tool free for up to 10 people in the company, this tool makes it an easy choice for every company that wants to make great branching interactive videos.
Look at this video by IKEA:
It lets you decide how the story progresses. Throughout the video, you can see many different IKEA products. But the video focuses on storytelling a lot more than it does on the products themselves.
The video could be more interactive with hotspots. Nevertheless, the video is fun to watch and it ensures that IKEA has a lasting imprint on your mind.
When it comes to hotspot interactive videos, I’m yet to find a tool better than Wirewax. It is amazing how simple it is to use it and how good the results are. With features like smart tags and automatic captions in over 63 languages, this tool has everything you need.
There’s a good reason why companies like Apple, Samsung, Burberry, and Nike, amongst many others, use the tool for making interactive videos. Brands have seen 9X better interaction rates and 47% better average view duration on their videos. This feat in itself is more than enough to make any brand go for it.
What makes Wirewax a great fit for companies of all sizes is the fact that prices start at just $1000 a month. So you don’t have to spend a fortune trying to make your hotspot interactive video. Adding to that is the fact that these videos are usually linear. What that means for you is that you need to make just one video and all the interactivity applies to it.
Adding to that is the fact that these videos are usually linear. What that means for you is that you need to make just one video and all the interactivity applies to it.
That said, you can make branching videos as well with this tool. So, in case you're thinking that you would be bound by this tool to make only hotspot videos, rest assured. The tool doesn't limit your creativity in any way.
Look at how La Mer adds interactivity to its video using this tool:
The video makes clever use of interactions to provide snippets to the viewers making them connect better. You too can add a level of personalization with the help of a host of interactive features provided by the tool.
Some of the best interactive videos have come from this tool. We've referenced an ample amount of examples earlier that companies made using this tool.
From creation to analysis, this tool gives you the power to do everything. Since it's drag-and-drop, you don't need to know how to code to use the tool. Moreover, the tool is completely online, so you don't need to worry about your device's specs.
Your job doesn't end at sharing the video, it extends to analysis. So why should your tool fall short here? Rapt has an analytics dashboard where you have everything you need to know about your video. You can even add custom tracking variables to analyze your video's performance better.
And if that wasn't enough, the tool supports custom integrations with third-party solutions. That breaks down pretty much every barrier that you could possibly have.
Look at how Warner Bros used an interactive video to promote its movie:
The video puts you in the shoes of a con-artist. It's upon you and your skills to con the person in front of you. If you fail, you can always try again. But the moment you start, you're hooked for as long as you either succeed or fail.
Regardless of your performance, you're more likely to watch the movie. All because of the gamification.
Many businesses use HapYak for making interactive videos. HP, Oracle, and Best Buy are some of the many users of this tool.
The tool enables companies to make their videos interactive by adding clickable overlays, quizzes, embedded forms, and even choose-your-own-adventure style interaction types.
So all you need is a video. Once you have that, the tool helps you add all the interactions you want to have in it. And it does that at a starting price of $15,000 for enterprises.
While it isn't the most affordable one in the lot, the features that it provides pretty much make up for the price.
Look at this video made by the fashion brand Under Armour using the tool:
What makes the video stand out is its simplicity. It's like a landing page. It is minimalist in the way it gives you information and has only one action for you to perform.
This way, it ensures maximum conversion while keeping the video highly focused.
Here’s a quick pricing chart for you to refer to:
|Name of Tool||Price||Features|
|eko||Free (for up to 10 team members)||Drag and drop interface, Distribution on major platforms, Customizable code|
|Wirewax||$1000 per month||Smart tags, Automatic subtitles, Global CDN, Multi-team support|
|Rapt Media||N/A||Drag and drop interface, Global CDN, Automatic subtitles, Google Analytics integration|
|Hap Yak||$15,000 per annum||Clickable overlays, Embedded forms, Quizzes, Chaptering, and Choose-your-own-adventure style interaction|
Interactive videos are not a new concept, but if there’s one thing I can say with certainty, it is that they’re here to last.
As we move toward the post-pandemic era, we’re seeing digitization everywhere. And in this digital-only world, interactive videos can play a major role in guiding how we communicate with our audience.
With an increase in the industry-wide adoption of these videos, now would be a good time to hop on the bandwagon and get your viewers interacting with your videos.
Have something interesting to share about interactive videos? Let me know in the comments below!
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