The Rise of Interactive Video

Interactive video is transforming the way in which businesses relate to their customers. Instead of simply entertaining or informing your customer, as with a traditional marketing video, interactive video allows you to make a real connection with your customer.


Interactive video offers a completely different user experience, encouraging the viewer to become an active participant, rather than a passive audience. The level of involvement varies according to the type of video. For example, a video about a particular product category such as shoes might show the product in the video while simultaneously offering consumers the option to tap or click a link to purchase the featured item. Other interactive videos allow the viewer to make choices to determine the outcome of each part of the video. Further options include embedding surveys and quizzes, which offers an engaging experience with the added benefit of acquiring data about customer preferences and behaviour.


Celebrities have started to use interactive concepts to energise music videos. Back in 2010 Arcade Fire released a video entitled The Wilderness Downtown to accompany their song We Used to Wait. The viewer can select their hometown to prompt the video to incorporate Google footage of their chosen location within the video. Other artists who have released interactive videos include Pharrell Williams, whose 24 Hours of Happy offers viewers options such as sharing individual sections of the video. Perhaps most innovative so far was the video for Bob Dylan’s 2013 re-release of Like a Rolling Stone, which gives the option to channel hop within the video to see different people appearing to sing the words, from news readers to children’s animation characters.


Interactive video is the perfect medium for instructional purposes. Most people find learning far more effective when they are doing, not just listening or watching. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn.” With interactive video you can guide the user through various stages of instruction, with options to skip to only relevant sections and focus in greater depth on specific areas of interest. Progress checks can be incorporated where the user responds to questions during the course of the video and results are shown at the end.


Engagement and control are key factors. They keep viewers watching for longer and can lead to repeat views. Videos which offer different outcomes, selected by the viewer, are more likely to get repeat views, as some people are curious to see the other possible outcomes. Research has shown that interactive pre-roll video ads have a higher completion rate than standard ads, with awareness being significantly higher among customers who viewed an interactive ad rather than a standard ad (31% versus 12.5%). Statistics published by Business Insider in 2015 revealed an average CTR of 14.3% on interactive videos, rather more than the 1.8% reported for standard videos.


Ultimately it’s about relevance. Even the highest quality interactive video will not engage your customers unless the content is relevant. Create the right material for your interactive video and you will deliver to your customer a compelling blend of exciting audiovisual content, connection and influence.