Updated: Aug 24, 2021
Interactive videos engage audiences while crafting meaningful and memorable experiences.
Customers, as well as prospective customers, are becoming increasingly discerning when it comes to a brand’s content and whether or not it has value. With so much content and general marketing noise, it is difficult for a brand to stand out. Interactive content is on the rise everywhere and could be what sets your brand apart.
What is interactive content?
Interactive content is any content that demands or encourages engagement and participation from an audience. Participants will do more than read your blog or watch your video, they will personally interact with your content. Think of it as active vs. passive.
For example, you are probably familiar with those quizzes that guess your personality type or tell you which Star Wars or Game of Thrones character you are. Participants need to actively engage with the content by choosing quiz options in order to receive a result.
There are many other types of interactive content including:
Interactive data Interactive maps
This post will focus primarily on the business and user experience benefits of interactive video.
What is an interactive video?
An interactive video engages its audience through hotspots and clickable tags as well as questions or adjustable viewpoints. A person’s interactions will determine their viewing experience.
A standard video is traditionally linear. You may pause, press play, move backward and forward, but there is little else that is asked of the viewer. And since studies show that the average viewer only has an attention span of eight seconds, the chances of losing your audience are high.
Interactive videos provide audiences the opportunity to control their own content which produces a more meaningful and memorable experience.
Interactive video features
A hotspot is a small clickable tag that pops up in a video, offering viewers the option to explore a website in another browser window, replay a section of the video or jump to a particular section of the video. It lets an audience easily pick and choose the aspects they are most interested in.
Branching refers to the multiple different paths, or ‘branches’, that are created when the viewer is offered a choice. Think “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood”. The path to the right would be one branch that leads to another set of choices. The choice the viewer makes would split into two more branches and so on.
Netflix’s recent film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a full-length interactive video, albeit one that’s for entertainment purposes only. The choices you make throughout the film determine the protagonist’s fate. It’s a choose your own adventure experience but on the screen. The movie Bandersnatch has five separate endings, with several different branches of choices leading to each one.
A 360 video experience allows people to use their mouse reticule to move the screen left to right or up and down as the video plays.
Interactive 360 video is commonly used in real estate, tourism, and sports. This type of video is particularly effective for real estate agents because prospective homebuyers can tour every inch of their potential home without ever leaving the comfort of their own. Rather than observing a static image of a living room, a 360 view can offer a more authentic look of any given space.
When used effectively, interactive 360 videos can be a standout marketing tool for all sorts of industries. Look no further than the 360 Deadpool Everywhere video described in our examples below.
Business Benefits of Interactive Videos
Interactive videos open a whole world of possibilities when it comes to marketing. They give businesses the opportunity to engage more intimately with audiences and provide viewers with content they’ll enjoy actively participating in rather than passively observing.
Memorable User Experience
Not only does interactive video provide a more enjoyable experience for the viewer, but it also imparts a lasting, memorable experience that’s associated with your brand.
Studies show that interactive videos are 32% more memorable than non-interactive content, even without viewers specifically interacting with it. The option to interact with a video is memorable to an audience because it stands apart from the onslaught of static or linear content they typically encounter and have no control over.
Effective interactive content will leave participants wanting to engage over and over again. When each experience is different, there’s motivation to repeat the engagement to discover a different outcome. Did you get the character you expected on your Which Disney Princess Are You Quiz? Did you try again? Did you ask your friends to complete the quiz too so you could compare results?
There’s an immense amount of data to be collected from interactive videos. While the stats from a standard linear video can tell you how many people clicked ‘play’, how long they watched, and when they stopped, an interactive video has many options for collecting audience information.
Every interaction or choice a viewer makes, no matter how small, is a piece of data. The questions you choose to include and the interaction points you set give you information about your audience. They will feel included and in control of the content, and you will learn what interests them and what makes them ‘click’.
Examples of Interactive Video
Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a full-length interactive movie. Throughout the film you can make choices that lead to many different storylines and outcomes. You can even die in a number of ways which results in a ‘game over” screen as well as a fast track through the film back to your point of death to start again.
The Deadpool Everywhere video promoting the release of the first Deadpool movie used 360 video to showcase the fact that Deadpool would be playing everywhere. In the video, the viewer can use their reticule to explore a full bar filled with Deadpool in various locations performing increasingly bizarre actions.
This interactive music video is for Bob Dylan’s classic song “Like a Rolling Stone”. Viewers can cycle through several different channels of actors and celebrities lip-syncing the lyrics of the song on faux daytime television, including Drew Carey on The Price is Right and the guys from Pawn Stars. Each different ‘channel’ or iteration plays out for the duration of the song, so the viewer has the option of watching the whole video play out on one specific segment or cycle through each of the 16 different channels. Watching each channel would amount to one hour and fifteen minutes of viewing. The video was so successful it earned 1 million views in the first day it premiered.