Create more meaning, not just more information – marketers are turning to interactive video

(last update 2 years ago)

“Information is cheap but meaning is expensive,” said George Dyson, science historian and futurist, a few years ago. In recent years, video has been the answer for creating more meaning in marketing. According to Forrester Research, video has been the fastest growing online ad format.

In digital marketing, the benefits of video content over text are clear and undisputable. In fact, what could be a more compelling, effective, and entertaining way to make your company brand, or product known to your customers than a video? A video on your landing page keeps the visitors longer at your website and allows your brand message more time to sink in. Video is more memorable that written content. Websites with videos have reportedly double the conversion rates of websites with no videos. And to top it all, you can share your video content online not only on your own webpage, but in LinkedIn, Facebook, Vimeo, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter or any other channel you choose. You can take you online content and show it offline at tradeshows, customer meetings, big screens or small screen. The options are limitless and the costs are limited, if any, for sharing your content once it is created.

But are you really creating more value to your customers or just creating more information with little meaning? And how can you measure the value you create? As the amount of video content explodes the harder it is to capture and engage your audience. In fact, some studies report that less than half of the viewers watch online videos all the way through and one third of the drop-offs stop watching your video already during the first 30 seconds. How can you tell how much of you message went though?

Interactive video

Interactive video breaks the linear structure of traditional video by allowing the viewer to make choices to create a personalised experience. By allowing your viewers to interact with your video through touching or clicking, you allow them to take control over their experience, and by doing so, you create more value and more meaning to your audience. The viewers can watch content that is interesting and relevant to them; detailed data or technical information of your product for prospective buyers or a basic overview of the functionalities to the casual viewer. Or you can combine storytelling with e-commerce: Incorporate “shop now” buttons in your interactive video and drive revenue by converting viewers into shoppers.

An example is an an interactive video on optimizing contact center performance, where the viewer’s choices affect what is told in the video. An other example, an interactive video with incorporated “shop now” buttons directed to consumers can be found, comes from the UK liftestyle brand Ted Baker.

Interactivity turns engagement into results

Choice creates interaction, interaction creates data, data creates insight and insight creates ROI. By providing choice within your video you can create a two-way communication that is more valuable to the viewer and to you. The choice you give your viewers leads to increased engagement. The more your viewers engage with your content the more data you collect as every click can be tracked. This way interactive video is going to give you much deeper insight into how you message is received, what your viewers are interested in and what not, or what their understanding of your product is. The data can also tell you weather or not you actually are effectively communicating with your audience.

A recent study on interactive videos by Demand Metric Research Corporation in 500+ US companies shows that 66% of respondents reported more engagement, 44% longer viewing times, and 39% understanding audience behavior as the top benefits of interactive videos. The same study also shows that the greater the usage of interactive videos in a company was, the bigger the benefits experienced were; this in particular with benefits directly related to increased revenues and ROI.

Metrics from the interactive video platform Wirewax show that 67% of the audience will interact, 3 times each. Engagement times are 3.5 times longer than for non-interactive videos, while shoppable videos show a 16%–48% click-through rate. Indeed it looks like interactive videos not only generate more engagement, but manage to turn that engagement into results.

Interactivity, visualisation and storytelling – an unbeatable trio

With interactivity you can deliver large amounts of information in a format that allows the viewers to make choices based on their preferences and interests. Add visualisation and good storytelling, and you can deliver your message in a compelling and immersive way that leaves a trace in the viewer’s mind. Interactive video doesn’t have to be all video; add 3D animations, slideshows, reports, data visualisations, or other interactive supplements to deliver your message and create meaning to you story.

Take a look at GE World in Motion, for example. General Electric, a traditional industrial company transformed into a leading digital industrial company, is using visual content to deliver their message on digital platforms. The amount of information in “GE world in motion” is massive: 12 regions, eight themes and five different formats. If all of that information were to be delivered in a single – very long – video, would you watch all of that information in one go (let alone read all of it if it was all in one text document)? But with interactivity, the content is yours to play around with. It’s interesting and it is fun, and you find yourself clicking more and more of the hotspots on that GE globe just to see what’s in there. Or, if you are looking for some specific information, you just go straight to where you want. No time wasted on irrelevant information that is meaningless to your needs.

One-way communication – the good old “sit back and watch” video – will for sure always exist, even online. However, interactivity is coming strong and it does have clear and measurable benefits over traditional video content. With interactivity, visualisation and good storytelling you can reach new heights in your digital communication. So why not give it a try?

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