Interactive Video – 2016’s answer to a digital advertising stalemate
Technology has no doubt allowed all reaches of business to expand, from online sales to having a social media presence. Yet, marketing methods remain comparatively unchanged. The traditional flat image alongside some text – little emotion can be conveyed, resulting in advertisers throwing pricing info (e.g. discounts) at the customer hoping to lure them in that way. But when everyone’s prices are competing with each other, it soon reaches a stalemate and there’s no longer anything attractive about the ad. Big businesses had their marketing teams barking in their ears to find the next big thing in engagement marketing and distribute more towards it.
Video was the answer. Everyone was quickly seeing the benefits a video could bring to your brand. It would introduce the innovation customers craved, and hadn’t really previously experienced from static adverts. With small businesses and everyone inbetween soon following suit, it seemed everyone had a social media presence through video. Marketers saw a 72% increase in traffic and subscriptions as a result of social media.
Though at the start of 2014, video saw a dramatic decrease in views. Opening up any one of the main social media platforms, you’ll feel swamped by one sided dialogue dictating a message that doesn’t really appeal to you personally. Whether that be a distant friend churning out status after status about their latest life problem, or a marketing campaign being tediously shoved in your face with little subtlety or relevancy. Running the risk of being lost amongst the flat content that is saturating Facebook in particular, brands became eager to stand out from the crowd with their digital broadcasts. There’s more competition for mental bandwidth than ever, so brands need to up their game to first capture and then hold a viewer’s attention. In a field full of stagnating digital production, social media users feel undervalued, demanding more and more from the content presented to them. Otherwise, they’ll simply turn away.
Consumers are making companies work harder than ever to keep their business. Simply throwing a blatant sell in the face of your savvier audience just won’t cut it. The solution for how to grab these millennials’ attention? Give them something they can play with. Interactive videos, a concept that has been around for a few years yet technological complexities have prevented it from reaching the mainstream. In-house teams are dedicating their time to creating video content with interactive elements for social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and now even Snapchat). Now, with the growth of interactive video and our understanding of it has led to hundreds of video production agencies simplifying the interactive video software and offering their services. Yet still, for many businesses, it remains an unexplored advertising method. Interactive video is seizable and quickly developing, fast tracking its creators to success – don’t let it slip from your hands due to outdated misconceptions of its cost and effectiveness.
An interactive video results in 3 times the amount of views a regular video would bring in, two times the conversion, and 14 times the click through rates. These are the sort of scores that have led to content creator’s plans for the year having 72% of a priority in engaging content. But where actually are all these figures coming from? It’s just a little video that you can play with? Well, that’s correct, it is just a video, and you can play with it. But really it’s been integrated tidily onto one of, if not all the popular social media platforms mentioned earlier. Finally, combine this with the best market automation software (MAS) you can get, and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent triple threat rivalling Beyonce.
Don’t think that this is all one sided however, the viewers reap the rewards too. They no longer have to juggle with the video’s message that they may not fully understand. Instead, they get to choose the message that makes the most sense to them. There is also a sense of urgency in interactive videos, that it’s a moment that needs to be seized there and then – you can’t just start the video and come back later. Urgency is beneficial for both parties. There’s no beating around the bush that would otherwise distract the viewer – they’re presented with an enjoyable concept, which leads to a product being marketed. No longer is the customer a passive onlooker, they’re an active participant. For the video creators, the immediacy of the viewer’s actions means they’re attention is totally directed at the content, which leads to a longer playtime and greater playthrough rate.
A fierce but interesting battle for interactive video has been raging between two of the social industry’s favourites; In the red corner, Google’s YouTube – the old timer who solidified their usability successfully so early on yet their video platform has been somewhat like your parents when urged to adapt to new technology… Endearingly resistant to change. In the blue corner, Facebook and their newly acquired Instagram – the constantly evolving networks that first seemed to be punching above their weight in regards to videos, now are the ones winning round after round (daily views, cost per impression, shareability). In this case, interactive video is being fully embraced by the pair, altering algorithms in a way that favour video. We have recently seen 360° videos making their debut on Facebook (admittedly a few months after YouTube did so), along with the ability to zoom in/out of videos and click roll-over advertisements. Yet YouTube still have their trusty video annotations, that haven’t really changed much since their deployment in 2008 (In 2015, they released Cards) and though they do have a proven track record, there’s potential for YouTube to be left behind due to the arsenal of interactivity Facebook is implementing.
Video is changing, at a speed just 10 years ago we couldn’t have been predicted. Storytelling is being taken to the next level. Techniques on how to immerse the viewer into that story range from utilising the ability to: change perspectives, simulate a sampling of products, trivia, and of course choosing your own path in the adventure – innovative marketing at its finest. With the biggest of brands offering interactive videos such as Nike, Disney and Mercedes just to name a few, it can be daunting to want to get involved. Just beware, one of the biggest mistakes marketers make when creating an interactive video is having these huge companies’ success in mind. They chase the idea of having a viral creation, and lose focus on their original goal of engaging with the customers they have and growing it from there. Don’t get left behind, make the move to create an audiovisual blend of interactivity that could see your business flourish.
It’s hard to pin down some of my favourites due to the high calibre of what’s available these days – but here’s my top 5 interactive videos.
Kontra K’s An Deiner Seite, an interactive music video.
Mercedes-Benz’s ‘Loki’, a 360° experience.
Honda’s ‘The Other Side’, an interactive experience.
(No longer available properly but…)
Usher – Chainz’s ‘Don’t Look Away’, an interactive music video.
SpastikChuwawa’s (interesting name) fun interactive misadventure.