In this article you will learn everything you need to know about interactive videos.
Why are interactive videos worth your time?
Because, if you include an interactive video in your marketing strategy, it is proven to engage a larger audience for a longer time with your brand than regular marketing videos!
What is Interactive Video?
As opposed to the traditional linear videos we’re all used to, in which the only options available to the audience are to play, pause, rewind, etc., interactive video gives the viewer the ability to interact and even control the content as if playing a video game.
By employing the latest tools, videos can be manipulated with simple motions like clicking, dragging, scrolling and hovering. Its features are numerous, but here are just some of the most common:
- Dragging the screen within the frame of the video to turn the camera 360 degrees in any direction
- Clicking certain areas of the video to reveal hidden information and content
- Choosing between alternative narrative paths to personalise a story
- Live questionnaires and data inputs within the video to deliver tailored results and outcomes
It totally transforms how people experience videos by making it more fun, interesting, engaging and, most importantly, memorable. Opening up a whole new range of possibilities for video marketing with all the benefits of linear videos plus much more!
“It totally transforms how people experience videos by making it more fun, interesting, engaging and, most importantly, memorable.”
What Can I Use Interactive Videos For?
Interactive Product Demo/Explainer Videos
Besides physically handling the product, there is no more effective way of demonstrating or explaining how something works than with interactive product videos.
For example, if the product is complicated, you could choose to view it from multiple angles of your choice while someone demonstrates it, giving you the most comprehensive understanding possible.
Or, if it is both functional and decorative, like an air purifier for living spaces, for example, interactive video could allow you to place it in many different environments to get an idea of how it would fit.
Interactive Educational Videos
Interactive training videos are a great tool for teaching people in a way that not only works but also makes the experience enjoyable.
Let’s suppose you want to teach people how to deal with a certain scenario. You could build a lifelike video around that scenario and give the viewer the power to make choices and decisions on behalf of the protagonist. That way they can see in real terms the consequences of their errors.
Gathering Customer Feedback
If you want to gather customer feedback or do consumer research – vitally important now more so than ever if you want your business to succeed, interactive videos are the best way of doing it without irritating them as a standard survey could.
Think of clever ways of building computer game-like stories around your product that includes customer feedback in a natural way. For example, let them choose where they want to focus their attention in order to see where their interests lie so that you can focus on those areas in the future.
But the possibilities are endless!
Global media services provider Netflix have recently announced that they are launching interactive TV shows that ‘let viewers choose their own adventures and make decisions for their favourite characters’. Proving just how popular interactive video content is becoming how big it is set to grow.
Given the push towards interactive entertainment, now would be a great time to make a short animated interactive screenplay or even an interactive music video.
Interactive Recruitment Videos
As a recruitment tool, interactive videos can save a lot of time, hassle and even anxiety.
For instance, you could simulate a first-person ‘day in the life’ of someone working in the position advertised. This would give potential recruits a chance to see what some of the work would entail as well an understanding of the company environment.
That way, before even applying they can better understand if they would actually like the role and if they would fit in. So, when it comes to the actual interview, you can be surer that they are right for the company.
At the end of this article are some of the world’s best interactive video examples covering all of these uses. If you require a video to perform one of these functions but still are unsure if interactive content is the right approach for you, take a look at them and judge for yourself.
How Can I Produce an Interactive Video that Works?
Producing a successful interactive video is all about finding the perfect interactive video company for you.
If you follow these simple guidelines, it should not only help whittle them down until you’re left with one, but also help build a strong working relationship with them. Trust me, it will make all the difference to the quality of the end product.
- Before approaching an agency, set measurable goals for the video! Measurable as in ‘increase my reach on social media’ as opposed to ‘demonstrate how my product works.’ When you do approach an agency, it will give them some direction and will allow them (if they’re good) to perform research in order to understand why you’re not already achieving it.
With the findings from this research, the agency will set the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will make the biggest positive impact on your business. For example, ‘get 50% more shares on Facebook’. This will play a major role in driving the content of the video.
- Examine many agency’s portfolios and client reviews to see which have the best experience producing videos for (a) businesses similar to yours and (b) interactive videos like the one you have in mind. It will also tell you if other (well-known?) clients have had a good experience working with them.
As you do this, save some of your favourite examples. They can act as convenient reference points when formulating concepts for the video down the line.
- If it’s a must that you meet the agency face-to-face, only seek out ones in your area. For example, search ‘interactive video company London’ or ‘best interactive video agency in London’.
- Work out what the key messages you want to get across in the video are and, along with your brand ethos, write down how you will convey it to the agency in a clear and concise manner.
- If, after talking to the agency for just minutes, they’re already willing to offer you a precise quote, be warned: they’re after a quick and easy sale rather than a collaboration focused on producing a successful video.
- Don’t just communicate with the salespeople, also talk to the creative director. That way you will build the best narrative flow map for your interactive video possible.
The interactive flow map is a bird’s eye view of the various branches of the story. When a viewer interacts with a video it can lead to different branches, which is important to grasp visually because each interaction should have a purpose and not just be there for the sake of it.
Use the flow map to see where the best places in your story are for interactions. They’re usually at pivotal moments or important decisions. Here is a simple example I put together:
- Use your KPIs to get a realistic budget for the project. If your KPI is to get 15% more conversions:
Calculate how many new customers that would be each year and the lifetime value of each. Then multiply the 2 answers to get your return on investment (ROI). Now you can see with greater accuracy what you can get for your money.
A good interactive video company will go through this process with you.
- After you have corresponded with an agency a few times, ask yourself if those interactions have been satisfactory.
Does the agency seem passionate about your project? Are they quick to get back to you? Do they seem to be grasping your message? Etc.
- My last guideline comes from the agency’s perspective.
As long as clients are open to professional opinion and are realistic with their budget and timeframe, there’s no reason why the collaboration shouldn’t be anything but perfect.
Want to read more about finding the perfect agency? Have a look at this recent blog post I wrote.
Can I Make an Interactive Video by Myself?
With the rise of the technique, new and better interactive video software tools are constantly coming onto the market. So, now more than ever it’s easier for non-professionals to make their own high-quality videos and publish them on popular interactive video platforms.
Here are three of my favourite interactive video software packages and platforms currently available:
Rapt Interactive Video Software
Rapt Media’s cloud-based software is a great all-round tool that allows you to build interactive experiences with their ‘composer’, publish videos to their ‘player’ platform and measure them with their ‘analytics dashboard’.
No need for computer coding, you can simply drag-and-drop clickable hotspots and story branches into the video.
Prices available upon contact to suit your requirements.
Wirewax Interactive Video Software
Wirewax is the most comprehensive and capable interactive video software available anywhere today. For that reason, it also comes with one of the biggest price tags.
All of the uses for interactive video already mentioned can be created to a professional standard with Wirewax, from quizzes to 360-degree camera view. Your videos can also be easily scaled to suit any platform.
A very basic version of Wirewax is available for $59 a month. The most complete versions are $5000+.
Verse Interactive Video Tool
It may not produce the same professional-quality results as Wirewax, but Verse is another good all-encompassing interactive video tool that allows you to create many interactive features.
It also has built-in analytics that allows you to track your view and interaction numbers, etc. And you can play your videos in HD in the latest HTML5 adaptive streaming formats.
A basic version of Verse is available for free but to avail of their premium service, you must contact them for a quote.
Even some of the world’s biggest video sharing platforms are now catering to interactive video.
“Even some of the world’s biggest video sharing platforms are now catering to interactive video.”
Here is a demonstration of how YouTube’s built-in tools can be used to make videos with alternative story branches:
And here is an example of a creative 360-degree interactive video hosted by Vimeo:
As well as the biggest video platforms, some of the world’s biggest social media companies are also getting in on the action.
For instance, in June 2018, Facebook announced ‘a set of new tools — polling for Live and on-demand video and gamification for Live — that will give creators the power to create fun, unique and interactive content for their fans.’
So, there’s no doubt that interactive video is destined to be a hugely popular and important tool for marketers in the coming years.
If you would like a simple guide to shooting video by yourself, take a look at my infographic on the topic here.
Here are 15 of the world’s best examples of interactive videos anywhere online:
Mended Little Hearts – Interactive Video
Children’s congenital heart disease charity Mended Little Hearts created this moving interactive video titled Give a Fuller Life. The video follows a day in the life of a boy called Max with a heart condition.
The purpose of the interaction in this video is all about getting people to donate. The more you pledge to give, the fuller the world around Max becomes, transforming from empty and white to full of colour and life.
It is a great metaphor for the charity’s work and is used to powerful effect with beautiful 3D animation.
By sincerely depicting how your work can make a difference in people’s lives is a far more effective way of encouraging viewers to donate than with a passionate plea.
Jeff Buckley – Interactive Video
This interactive animated music video is for late singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley’s heartfelt cover of Bob Dylan’s Just Like a Woman. With 73 different clickable cells, it gives the audience (literally) countless ways to change the narrative of the love story.
The viewer’s selections can also influence the music itself. While it begins with just Buckley’s voice and guitar, it has the potential to end with an entire choir and orchestra arrangement – 16,000 musical combinations in total.
The 4-and-a-half-minute clip shows the enormous possibilities of interactive video. If your art reflects something as complicated as the highs and lows of human relationships, perhaps it’s the perfect format to present it through.
Deloitte – Interactive Video
Multinational professional services network Deloitte created this gamified interactive recruitment video for their office in New Zealand. Titled ‘Will You Fit into Deloitte?’, it’s a first-person experience introducing the viewer to the company culture as well as educating them about what is expected of employees.
This interactive video is so great because it removes the stress of entering a new environment by portraying just how welcoming and supportive it is.
Through a number of real-life office dilemmas, like a printer breakdown, the audience can choose what course of action to take and see the consequences of those actions play out. The video has been widely shared on social media and the average viewing time is over 5 minutes.
When it comes to recruitment, interactive video would certainly make the decision to apply for a role at your company a lot easier.
Ted Baker – Interactive Video
British luxury clothing brand Ted Baker created this interactive video for their website landing page.
It depicts a fashionable man and woman strolling through the woods with ‘click to shop’ tags pointing at their various items of clothing and accessories. When the viewer clicks on one, a pop-up appears with a description of the item, its price and a link to purchase it.
This is a great example of modern interactive marketing video. It makes it infinitely less effort for customers to find the items they see advertised on screen, guaranteeing more sales.
Interactive video advertising is an easy way to take people straight to the products they want without even having to pause the ad.
The Jungle Book – Interactive Video
For the launch of the 2016 remake of the classic Jungle Book movie, Disney released this stunning interactive video to show how it was made.
The clip has a movable split screen that plays shots from the actual movie alongside the pre-CGI behind the scenes filming of the same shots. As well as that, there are multiple clickable hotspots revealing hidden information about the story and interviews with the cast.
This is an amazing example of an exciting big budget interactive video made to build anticipation and excitement around a major animated feature film.
It may not be feasible for the average interactive video customer, but it really does demonstrate that even major companies in the entertainment industry are seeing the entertainment value of it.
Maybelline – Interactive Video
Major American makeup brand Maybelline New York made this interactive tutorial video to educate their customers about achieving signature looks tailored to their individual mascara preferences and needs.
Narrated by stylist Kelly Framel, the video goes through some of the biggest mascara fashion trends by asking the viewer to select between things like day and night, modern mod and avant garde, club tropicana and rebel chic.
Maybelline knew their customer base was increasingly purchasing online on mobile devices and needed a new way of launching their products specifically for them. Interactive video was the perfect solution and made their click-through rate 14 times higher than the industry average.
Before making your interactive video, know exactly how your audience wants to consume your content.
The Resuscitation Council (UK) – Interactive Video
The Resuscitation Council, the body responsible for setting central standards for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and related disciplines, released this ground-breaking scenario-based interactive video.
It throws the viewer into 4 intense situations in which crucial decisions must be made in order to save a person’s life. The aim is to teach people essential life-saving skills in the most engaging manner possible.
The high production value, dramatic sound design and convincing dialogue and acting really make it feel like you’re in a movie. And with the clock ticking, the pressure is on to react to the situation at hand.
This is a perfect example of an interactive educational video, scenario-based interactive video that makes people take notice. If you have important information for public consumption, gamified interactive videos are the best way to get it across.
Samsung – Interactive Video
For the launch of their Gear VR, Samsung created this interactive 3D surfing video that immerses the viewer in the heart of the action. Narrated by professional surfer Ian Walsh, it gives us a realistic, slow-motion perspective of what it feels like to be inside the barrel of a wave and live a day in the life a pro surfer.
Given the extraordinary setting of this video, the 360-degree perspective makes people want to watch it multiple times in order to see every detail and angle. And, by telling the story of someone who’s job places them in such unique positions, it does what all great advertisements should: make us forget we’re watching an advertisement.
Tell a fascinating first-person story using 360-degree virtual reality to engage an audience with your interactive video.
The world’s first lifestyle sock brand Alfredo Gonzalez created this interactive video as a demo and not as part of a campaign. However, it is still a great example of how interactive video can be used to gather customer data and teach viewers about your brand.
It uses a series of questions and images interposed between video clips to allow the audience to input various information about their personal style preferences and contact details.
Knowing as much about your customers as possible is vital for any business strategy, but forcing surveys and questionnaires on them can be a nuisance. That’s why interactive video is such a great new tool for gathering data in a way that, when done right, can actually be fun.
Nicky Case – Interactive Video
Game developer Nicky Case makes animated interactive games and videos to educate people about complex issues in an easy to understand way.
This video is a basic 2D visualisation of how neural connections can lead to anxiety (Hebbian Learning) and how we can go about unlearning those connections (Anti-Hebbian Learning). By allowing the viewer to interact with individual neurons, they can get an idea of how the pathways are formed and unformed.
Interactive video is a great tool for educating people of all ages on complex subjects, because, instead of turning them off with difficult-to-follow text, it gives them a simple visual representation they can play as if it were a game, actually making the experience enjoyable.
“Interactive video is a great tool for educating people of all ages on complex subjects, because, instead of turning them off with difficult-to-follow text, it gives them a simple visual representation they can play as if it were a game, actually making the experience enjoyable.”
LaCantina – Interactive Video
Folding glass door manufacturer LaCantina created these interactive product demonstrations to show off their various doors for indoor/outdoor living in many different environments and from many different angles.
It allows viewers to choose a video based on individual features, such as configuration, glass, operation, etc., and each helps them to find the option best suited to their specific environment. As well as that, the audience can flick between different views of the same scene in order to get a thorough picture.
This is a perfect example of how to demonstrate a customisable product with an interactive video. It breaks the many features into small, easily-digestible parts that go a long way towards driving sales.
IAB – Interactive Video
Advertising organisation The Interactive Advertising Bureau made this interactive video to help explain the digital advertising ecosystem.
This is a great example of an interactive marketing video using basic 2D animation. It creates a simplified view of the marketplace with 6 rings, from ‘brand’ in the centre to ‘business intelligence’ on the outside, that the viewer can explore in their own time.
If describing a complex system, it’s far more effective to break it up into its main components and explain each of them separately than trying to cram it all into 1 linear video. Interactive video is definitely the best way of achieving this.
Asos – Interactive Video
British online fashion and cosmetic retailer Asos created this interactive YouTube video example back in 2014.
Featuring a track by the band Juce titled The Heat, it portrays Asos as a fun and fashionable brand and shows off their ranges by allowing the viewer to toggle between 5 different colour themes. If yellow is selected, for example, the entire scene, from clothes to instruments to props, changes to that colour.
This is an excellent example of a creative interactive marketing video made to build a certain image around a company. It’s fun and it’s not forcing their product and service on the audience.
How could you build your brand’s image in an effortlessly fun way?
Special Broadcasting Service – Interactive Video
Australian multicultural and multilingual broadcaster SBS made this brilliant, multi-award-winning voice-activated animated interactive video titled ‘My Grandmother’s Lingo’.
It follows an Aboriginal woman, Angelina, fighting to save Marra, a dying language in remote Northern Australia. After the deaths of her grandparents, there are only 3 people left who can speak it and, with time running out, Angelica is determined to learn.
With an estimated 1 language lost every 2 weeks and with 90% of Australian languages critically endangered, the message couldn’t be more poignant. Interacting through the computer microphone is just another creative example of how you can engage your audience.
Portugal. The Man. – Interactive Video
Alaskan rock band Portugal. The Man created this politically charged interactive video for their Grammy Award-winning song Feel It Still.
It encourages viewers to click on pop-up hotspots inside the video that add ‘resistant tools’ to your toolkit. They include things like elect women, combat climate change, fund planned parenthood and understand your protest rights, all with links for further information.
This is another good example, not only of how interactive video can be used for entertainment, but also how it can transform regular videos into something completely different.
In the digital world, there might be no more effective way of communicating your agenda than with interactive videos.
- I hope this article has been a useful introduction to interactive video and maybe even got you thinking about creating your own.
- While watching these 15 examples, are there any that speak to your video needs? Be sure to save them for future reference.
- Remember that, as well as being unbelievable versatile, interactive video is proven to be more effective and engaging than almost any other online format, making it well worth the investment.
- Please leave any questions or comments below. I’d be happy to reply to them!
If you would like to learn about explainer videos, another amazingly engaging video style, you can take a look at my definitive guide here.
If you would like to discuss an interactive video for your business, you can get in touch with our video production company, Spiel, on 0208 891 2077