The Future of Video Marketing Is Now: The Case For Interactive Video

I read an article recently about the availability heuristic. It’s a psychological shortcut that causes us to prefer immediate (aka: available) information over alternative solutions that take a little bit longer to think of.

Those who can break through the availability heuristic are the innovators in their field. It’s this “anything is possible” mindset that led Henry Ford to manufacture cars rather than think of a way to make horses faster.

This logic can be applied to anything. Take video marketing, for example. Videos give brands incredible results – the kind they can’t get with other content. But the problem is, everybody knows that by now. To differentiate yourself, you need to take it one step further.

Enter: Interactive Video.

What is interactive video?

Put simply, interactive videos are videos that your audience can interact with. This means that instead of your video taking viewers on a linear journey – where the only options are play, skip, and pause – your video will have many different paths that users can navigate at their choosing.

This new “active” way to enjoy videos will make your brand more memorable and help you compete for attention in an ever-crowded marketplace.

According to a recent Wyzowl survey, only 24% of marketers interviewed have used interactive video, but of these, 92% said it was an effective tool! So it’s clear that the early adopters of interactive video are happy with the results.


Lots of reasons! For starters, interactive video is an incredibly diverse medium, making it perfect for any business.

Here are just a couple of ways you can use interactive video:

Create a story

Perfect for: giving an overview of your brand, product or service

Story videos give viewers the power to choose their own adventure, and they’re also a great way to demonstrate your product in an engaging manner.

Sell products

Perfect for: online stores

Users can click on the item in this video to be taken straight to a product page to make a purchase.

Demo software

Perfect for: software with a variety of tools

This video gives a complete overview of the features of the Dayre app, so that users can get the most out of their experience.

Tailor content

Perfect for: increasing user engagement

This video is perfect for companies that cater to lots of different types of customers who have different questions that need to be answered.

Gamify a quiz

Perfect for: collecting data

This gamified interactive video challenges viewers’ managerial skills with a fun multiple choice quiz.

There is only one limit when it comes to interactive video: your imagination!

And what about mobile, you ask?

Mobile is definitely important in the video marketing world. A recent report by Cisco found that video accounted for 55% of mobile traffic in 2015. With this in mind, it is estimated that by 2020, over 75% of global mobile data traffic will be video content.

But don’t worry:

Almost all interactive videos are created with HTML5 and use built-in responsive design to support playback in all HTML5-supporting browsers and devices, regardless of screen size.

How interactive video works

Like with any cutting edge technology, it takes a while to get your head around how interactive video works. The best way to familiarize yourself with it on a basic level is to head to YouTube and check out their “Annotations” tool.

Note: This tool does not work on mobile, so I wouldn’t recommend this for business use. It’s simply a good way to get a flavor of the technology behind interactive videos.

To get started, log in to YouTube and select the video you want to make interactive. From there, hit the “End Screen & Annotations” icon:

You will automatically be taken to the “End Screen” tab, so make sure you select “Annotations” and you’re all set to make your video interactive!

Select a frame and then click “Add Annotation”. You’ll see a drop-down menu with options to choose from. In the industry, all of these annotations are referred to as “hotspots”. These are the clickable elements in your video – the parts that make it interactive.

After adding your annotation, you need to link it up to another video. This is so that when users click on the hotspot, they are taken to the next video and can continue on their interactive journey:

YouTube Annotations is free, and it’s great to play around with. But, as I said before, it won’t work on mobile; and it also won’t give you the seamless feel of the video examples we’ve seen so far in this article.

To create a truly interactive video, you need to partner with a software solution. There are many great businesses out there that you can work with:

… to name a few. The drawbacks with these options are that they tend to work on a subscription-fee basis and this can put the interactive video out of reach for businesses with smaller budgets.

For a more accessible interactive video solution, you should talk to Wyzowl. We create all of our customers’ video content from scratch – the script, the storyboard, the animation, and, of course, all of the interactive elements! And we charge a simple one-off fee.

The benefits of interactive video

1. Turning Passive Viewers into Active Ones

One of the main reasons video marketing has snowballed in popularity in recent years is because of how engaging it is in comparison to other marketing mediums. The combination of moving images, sound, and, in many cases, a story, is much more interesting than a static ad. But, having said that, the act of watching a traditional video is passive.

Interactive video is active.

It demands the full attention of the viewer because they are being asked to take part. In other words, it changes the attitude of viewers, from sit back, to sit up.

The interactive video series, Lifesaver, demonstrates this shift perfectly:

By putting you in the shoes of an onlooker witnessing a health crisis, and allowing you to make decisions that mean the difference between life and death, you are pulled into the story. The fact that the interactive hotspots are timed adds to the pressure.

This kind of active urgency quickens the pulse in a way that traditional video can’t, making this interactive video experience a memorable one.

2. Gamification

With the rise of wearable tech and lifestyle management apps, people are gamifying everything they can. Gamification is the process of using typical elements of gameplay – point-scoring, competition, problem-solving etc. – to make menial tasks fun.

Using interactivity, you can marry gamification with video to create an engaging experience that viewers will want to “play” again and again. This promotional video for the movie Focus is a great example:

Who doesn’t want to be a great con artist? The want to win this game drives users to replay with different “marks” and tactics.

But interactive video isn’t just for entertainment purposes. Take a look at Deloitte’s gamified interactive recruitment experience:

This video promises what all good games do: progression. The viewer is encouraged to move forward and learn more, and this is great for engagement.

Non-interactive video is awesome, but it’s not perfect. Traditional video sees high drop-off rates, but interactive videos – like the one above – have completion rates over 90%.

3. Trackability

The problem with non-interactive video is not a lack of data, it’s a lack of useful data.

What video metrics are you currently tracking?

The number of views?

The average watch time?

These metrics are certainly nice to have, but it is practically impossible to link them to ROI.

With interactive video, you can track each decision that a viewer makes and use this insight to create actionable reports based on user interactions. Interactive video allows you to track:

• Click-through rates
• Submission rates (of in-video polls, questionnaires etc.)
• Engagement
• Dwell time
• Skipped sections
• Re-watched sections
• Navigation

All of this data allows you to track – in detail – the return on investment of each of your video campaigns. Not only that, the insights can also help you build a clearer picture of what your audience best responds to, informing future campaigns.

If you’re using interactive video to create a unique shopping experience, then you can also track the conversion rates of your video. This video from Maybelline is just one example of how brands can use interactive video to increase sales:

This video asks users to click to see different makeup looks, but also includes hotspots for each product that take users to a landing page where they can instantly make a purchase.

This interactive video alone earned over 6 million impressions and increased the company’s click-through rate to 14x higher than the overall industry average!

Are YOU ready for interactive video?

So, that was the case for interactive video! What do you think? Are you in?

You should be. 43% of businesses plan to use interactive video in 2017. If you want to keep up, make sure you’re one of them!