If you have never played with an interactive video take a few minutes to click on the link below to find out for yourself just why they are becoming so popular.
Fun, right? The viewer gets to control what s/he sees and so has a sense of playing god and creating the story itself.
Of course, this is all an illusion because the endings are chosen by the filmmaker and are ultimately all different ways of presenting the same finite message.
But usually the viewer wants to discover all the different variations possible and so ends up watching the video several times until they have seen every possible version… No doubt you can already see that this is a fantastic way for advertisers to reinforce their message multiple times to the same potential customer.
As marketers we are soon going to have to rise to the challenge of adapting our advertising messages to allow viewers to participate in what they are seeing and hearing. Our online audiences will soon no longer be willing to be passive observers but will want the illusion of being involved in the creation of what they are experiencing. It is important not to sit on the back burner because interactive video is undoubtedly the medium of the future, particularly for products aimed at the younger generations.
Already the advertising and media industries have set up the equivalents of Emmys and Oscars to honour the creative talents behind the most popular interactive videos released online.
These include MTV’s O awards, Webbys and the Tribeca Film Festival’s Interactive & Interlude Music Film Challenge which this year is inviting video makers to create an interactive presentation using Interlude’s Treehouse suite featuring one of three pre-selected songs. (To find out more and view the finalist entries go here).
So it seems clear that interactive videos are here to stay and some analysts suggest that the sector will grow by more than a third in the rest of this year and may shortly even become the dominant feature of YouTube and other video viewing applications.
If this is so, and if history is anything to go by, young people may soon not want to deal with anything less than dynamic interactive material.
There are very good reasons for marketers to get in on the interactive video act while it is still becoming a trend setter. There is nothing like being one of the first to present in a new form of media to make your product or service appear “edgy” and “state of the art”, and this is a great way to catch the attention in particular of the youth sector which is always thirsty to soak up the latest technology.
So go out and start fine-tuning your video making skills so that interactive versions of your ad and other content messages are readily accessible from all types of devices and across all types of media.
And we need to understand the full capabilities, limitations and appeal of each distinct type of device and learn to develop interactive ads that can be adjusted to maximize their appeal depending on the hardware and software being used.
The greatest challenge will be to create appealing campaigns that attract the ever-shortening attention span of the millennial generation whose online habits and expectations are rapidly evolving. There’s a lot of internet “noise” out there and we marketers are going to need to work every harder to make our campaigns stand out from the crowd.
As we have seen with social media, when the marketers get it right, the audience itself will take on the role of propagating the message by sharing, liking, retweeting, etc, across their own network of friends, family and colleagues.
But our audiences are increasingly fickle, increasingly demanding and increasingly self-centred. If we don’t learn to somehow personalize the messages we are trying to convey it is doubtful if we will be able to attract their attention for those first crucial short seconds that we need to engage their interest.
So yes, undoubtedly, interactive videos are the new hot medium. They are widely shared and viewed more than once so that the user can experience all the options on offer. Marketers who can leverage this type of appeal for their campaign will be entertaining their audience and simultaneously reinforcing their marketing message over and over again – so interactive video is a particularly good way to build brands and connect slogans and logos with the company name.
However, making interactive videos can be expensive even if you hire your video making equipment for just the hours that you need to film.
So if your budget doesn’t quite stretch that far, don’t forget that one of the least expensive ways to engage your audience and simultaneously tap into the interactive short video boom is to invite your audience to create video ads for you and then let viewers vote on which one appeals most.
This is not exactly interactive per se but it does involve audience participation so it works in much the same way. We have seen this in the last seven years with the Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” campaign whose five final videos this year attracted more than 100 million views
And what wouldn’t you give to have that kind of reach?