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What is an interactive video?

This is the first question people ask me, when I mention the words “Interactive Video.”

It’s simple, really. It’s a video that allows the viewer to interact with its content. For example; the video can ask the viewer a question and also display choices for the answer. The viewer clicks his or her mouse on the answer that matches their response and the video responds back to that choice the viewer made.

The Obama Administration released such a video when they made their new medical system available. The video asked questions like, “What is your age range?” and “Do you work full time or part time?” The viewers clicked on the buttons that represented their answers and in response the Obama video informed them of how this new system would benefit them, based on the answers given back to the video.

It’s quite ingenious. With clever thinking and structuring, one can design interactive videos that collect valuable information. They can provide a viewer specific information and avoid info they don’t need to hear. It can be a catalogue of products where the viewer gets to choose what they want to see. In fact, I have a client who uses interactive videos just for that very cause. He’s clothing manufacturer and he often travels to various trade shows to display new lines of clothing he has available for his clients that year. The challenge is that not all of his clients can attend this show. So, he and I built a perfectly structures interactive video that acts like a catalogue – where he gets to ensure that pertinent information doesn’t get missed. Check it out: Harlequin Nature Graphics

While interactive videos are a new technology for online videos, it has proven to be very effective; most marketers are saying the  interactive video they’ve used have been engaging audiences “well” or “very well.”

And it isn’t just marketers who are using this technology. Netflix is using interactive videos for some of their series. It’s also proving to be a powerful learning tool for preschool children. I would add that it could be a powerful learning tool for anyone and any program.

It’s trackable. No more do we need to rely on simple statistics that linear videos can only give. Now we get to easily capture data from the buttons/options we choose to include inside the video. This allows you to analyze the different paths your viewers choose in your video. Giving you a quick idea of which product or service might be most popular, as one example.

Lastly, it’s playful. It’s fun for the viewer. It’s memorable. With all of this, it converts. In fact, it converts much higher than banner ads, Google ads and Facebook ads all combined.


Tips to making your interactive video successful:

Design: Make sure to design the flow and interactivity of the video first. Map it out. This ensures proper content gets captured at the time of recording. Don’t just throw something whimsical together just for the sake of making it interactive. Ensure that the interactivity of your video supports the information you want to get across… or collect.

Be Playful: My first interactive video that I created for my company asks a fun question at its start, “Do you like cats or dogs?” Yeah, it has nothing to do with selling videos… but it has a playful way of educating the viewer on what interactive videos are and do… which is exactly what I wanted that video to do. So, start thinking outside the box; loosen that tie of your and play a little.

Let them play in the plot: This is a bit like being playful. Only it’s all about the viewer determine the direction and ending of a story-line; of course it’s all still controlled by your well thought out design of your interactive video.  Thus, the viewer feels the illusion of having total control of what he or she wants to see. When the viewer feels like they are in control of the video, they are much more likely to stay the course and watch all of it… maybe even twice.

To summarize, interactive videos may be a new technology. However, they aren’t disappearing in the near future. The technology is only going to get better and better. Whether you are a business owner, a marketer, or an entertainer, interactive videos have a great deal to offer. But it takes cunning thinking for the design and patients with the structuring and if you have that, you will enjoy immense success with your interactive campaign.