The Dos and Don’ts of Interactive Video Marketing

Looking to add interactive video to your repertoire? If so, you’re on trend; we recently conducted a survey at Rapt Media and found that a whopping 64 percent of consumers are more likely to spend time watching a video if they’re given more opportunities to interact with it. And since interactive video allows you to mine for deeper analytics and demonstrate ROI (think engagement, click-through rates, and conversions), it isn’t all that surprising that the idea has so much momentum right now.

InteractBut with interactive video still representing new territory for many brands, marketers are right to wonder if it’s really any better than traditional linear content. All signs point to yes—with the power of choice leading the charge here.

The digital landscape is rapidly changing, with consumers being put in the driver’s seat. They opt for ad-free streaming video, tailor their news feeds to weed out junk, and turn off notifications from apps they can’t be bothered with. When it comes to video, consumers want the same type of control.

According to our survey, 61 percent of consumers want to be able to skip sections of video that either don’t interest them or aren’t relevant to them. What’s more, over a third of participants say they’d prefer the option to click through to parts that are relevant.

By inviting the viewer to get in on the action, marketers can create an immersive experience that leads to longer view times and more social sharing. Don’t believe it? Our data shows that interactive video drives deeper engagement than traditional video (up to three times deeper, in fact).

Ready to give interactive video a whirl? Before jumping in head first, do yourself a favor and check these preliminaries off your list:

  • Clarify Your Goals and Objectives: Your video should be tailored to a business objective, so take a hard look at your end game. A video aimed at raising brand awareness will take a different shape than one trying to drive conversions or deepen engagement. The same goes for education or entertainment. Bottom line: Pinpoint your goals right off the bat; then let them be your compass.
  • Get Clear on your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Mapping out your KPIs ahead of time is crucial because it keeps your goals top of mind. Which factor will define a successful interactive campaign for your firm—impressions, views, leads, or revenue?
  • Know your Audience: It’s hard to overestimate the importance of understanding your target audience and their viewing habits. If you come up short on this one, your message is likely to fall on deaf ears. For example, as Forbes pointed out in a 2015 report, 16- to 34-year-olds are spending more and more time on mobile. If you’re targeting millennials, then, mobile must be the centerpiece of your strategy.

Now that you’ve got the basics down, read on for Rapt Media’s best practice recommendations for creating a successful interactive video.

  1. Select the Structure That Makes the Most Sense

Think about the best branching structure to spotlight your video’s content. If you’re sticking to a product video, for instance, what’s called a “shallow menu” is a natural fit because it allows the viewer to stay within the video experience while still interacting with the content. On the flip side, benchmarking your content with chapters allows your viewers to jump to what’s most relevant to them.

To really dial up engagement, consider a “pass/fail” structure that keeps viewers on their toes with entertaining questions. Remember, the strongest way to bridge the distance between video and viewer is by tailoring the message.

  1. Optimize your Choice Points

Our research indicates that getting your viewer to interact just once with your video significantly increases the chances that they’ll continue to watch it. Regardless of the structure, be sure to include within your content appealing and relevant “choice points” (interactive moments that maximize viewer participation). Insert the first choice point within the initial 15 seconds of video.

Of course, these points of engagement shouldn’t be there just for the heck of it. Instead, curate your points with the desired viewer insight in mind. Ask yourself, is this something you’d click through?

  1. Go Mobile

Consider this: 92 percent of those watching video on mobile devices share content with others. And nearly half the millennials who participated in a recent Animoto survey indicated they watched video only on their mobile device. Needless to say, your campaign needs to be responsive.

As you develop your video, factor in mobile variables like problematic Wi-Fi and poor cellular data. Having a video that’s light on plug-ins, additional JavaScript, and other heavy add-ons will help with seamless viewing.

Additionally, it’s critical your interactive experience not depend on a downloadable app. It’s a lot to ask viewers to make the jump to the App Store, key in their password and then wait for the download before launching your video. Odds are, you’ll lose them somewhere along the way. Opt for user-friendly solutions that play natively in the browser instead.

  1. Make it Shareable

Videos are gaining more and more attention on social media. In fact, The Verge reported that 8 out of the top 10 most-shared Facebook posts from 2014 featured a video. Including social sharing buttons is critical to the success of your interactive video campaign. Take it even further by embedding social sharing directly into the content. Creating these opportunities (especially at transition points) is an easy way to pack a big punch.

  1. Include a Call to Action

Calls to action (CTAs) invite the viewer to stick around and continue engaging. Entice them by throwing some sort of added value into the mix (i.e, “Download a PDF of this information”). Let your goals guide your CTAs. If, for instance, you’re out for more subscribers, consider peppering your video with subtle prompts to subscribe.

  1. Make Time for Testing

Nothing’s worse than producing a piece of content with unexpected dead-ends or links that don’t work. As obvious as it sounds, be sure to actually test out your interactive video before unleashing it on the masses. This includes giving it a run-through in different browsers and on both tablets and mobile devices.

  1. Measure Performance

One advantage to using interactive video is that the medium can be optimized and improved on a rolling basis. Of course, the only way to pinpoint potential areas of improvement is to monitor its performance. Are you achieving the kind of results you want? If not, consider making some tweaks. If, say, you aren’t hitting the level of engagement you originally had in mind, think about punching up your choice points to see if that makes a difference.

Now that you’ve got the tools to build an effective interactive video, it’s time to leverage your content and charge ahead. Remember: The idea here is to turn your viewers into participants who can drive the kind of business results you’re looking for.

This article was contributed by Erika Trautman, CEO and co-founder of Rapt Media. We accept vendor-written articles based upon their usefulness to our readers.

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