Video marketing is bigger than it’s ever been. Video trends are advancing at a pace faster than ever before and now, brands everywhere are working with interactive features, new technology, and special effects to create some of the most engaging content in the world.
Just think — what better way to make your brand stand out than by creating an interactive experience your viewers can actively participate in? Whether you want them to shop the items they see on screen or be immersed in a branded environment of your creation, interactive video is the latest and greatest way to engage your audience.
Here are a few ways you can use interactive video to attract users and help generate interest in your brand.
Embed links within your video driving to your homepage, your product pages, or anywhere else you’d like your viewers to navigate. This is one of the simplest ways to add an interactive spin to a video. Youtube once had a feature called annotations that functioned similarly, but have since been discontinued for a number of reasons. In addition, they looked clunky and unappealing; instead, embed your own links in a more natural and beautifully integrated way. Use simple text, icons, boxes or shapes, or any combination thereof to create an awesome video with clickable links.
Check out this video, which not only uses interactive product page links at the end, but cool branching features, as well (more on that below!)
Hotspots are similar to links, but do something much more amazing. Hotspots automatically recognize and identify a shape and track its motion throughout your video. Viewers can then click, tap, or interact with that shape at any point. If a car is driving down a road, for instance, the entire car can be a hotspot with a clickable link to a product or shopping page. This creates not only visual interest that maintains the viewer’s attention, but helps a viewer see a product in action. If a woman is walking down the street, her shirt can be a hotspot with a clickable link to buy.
Branching is the video version of choosing your own adventure. In a given video, you’re given the option to pick between related videos and guide the story’s narrative. It creates an experience the viewer has to participate in, making them more invested in your video and your brand. Doing this well takes a lot of work — it means having a lot more high-quality video content at your fingertips and weaving together numerous story lines into one cohesive visual narrative. But the result is a truly interactive and engaging experience that’s totally customizable.
In this video, all the questions’ answers are linked to other videos; answer the questions and see what happens for yourself!
Tons of software integrations exist that can also help add interactive features to your video. For instance, integrating your CRM platform, like Salesforce or Hubspot, allows you to more seamlessly embed calls to action, quizzes, polls, and more into your video. Even current webinar software like Join.Me and GoToMeeting allow you to record yourself, add slides, and ask your viewers questions as they watch. In the coming years, integrating other tools, like Google Maps, chat boxes, and more will become the norm.
Great for immersing the user in an environment, 360 videos record every single angle on film, providing a complete 360-degree view of a location or event. That means you can drag the screen with your mouse or tilt your phone screen to choose the direction you want to watch. The video responds in real time and changes depending on where you drag or tilt. These are usually high-quality videos that help viewers place themselves at a particular place, like concert venues, outdoors in nature, underwater, and more. Still in its early stages, 360 video equipment can be expensive. But as technology advances, the availability of these cameras and accompanying apps will only continue to grow. Integrations with virtual reality software are common, as well, so expect to start seeing 360 video more and more.
Multi-Stream, Live Streaming, and More
We’re also seeing some features here and there that, though they haven’t made it to mainstream popularity just yet, are setting our expectations pretty high. Multi-stream features allow you to essentially watch two videos at once, switching between the two views using a slider. Games like HQ Trivia have made multi-player games, quizzes, and real-time response features an exciting part of the video-watching experience. And live streaming became all the rage in just the last few years, allowing users to ask questions and get responses in real time.
A lot of these technologies are expensive to use (and use well,) but with the right strategy and team behind you, you can create an amazing interactive video your audience will enjoy again and again. Combine numerous features, too, for a truly fun and immersive experience.
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