T Shobhana
Guest Article

Interactive Video: The Most Powerful Megatrend for Marketers

What can marketers do to win in today's content-heavy universe?

Things have never been as frenzied for marketers as they are today. With the average consumer being exposed to approximately 10,000 brand messages a day (American Marketing Association), the competition for grabbing eyeballs is fiercer than ever.

Interactive Video: The Most Powerful Megatrend for Marketers

T. Shobhana

As the need to captivate audiences hits an all-time high, video is fast becoming an integral part of marketing strategy for brands of all shapes and sizes. According to Forbes, consumers are over 27 times more likely to click on an online video ad than a standard banner ad and just using the word 'video' in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19 per cent and click-through rates by 65 per cent.

Interactive Video: The Most Powerful Megatrend for Marketers

It's little wonder that brands are trying to leverage this powerful medium to engage, educate and entertain consumers, employees and stakeholders. However, getting someone to click the play button is only half the battle. Retention rate is critical, as a large number of viewers tend to drop off before being exposed to the video's primary message.

So what can marketers do to win in today's content-heavy universe?

Building Brand Loyalty & Increasing ROI

The writing's on the wall - users are increasingly looking for engaging experiences and the more personal, the better. A 'one size fits all' approach to video is passé. This is where interactive video adds tremendous value. It puts viewers in the driver's seat and provides an engaging, navigable experience where viewers can actually make their own choices as they journey through the story - a sure shot way to get them engrossed and ensure high recall. No more passive viewing doldrums where viewers quit mid-way (or much before)!

Whether the use case is Sales, Lead Generation, Lead Qualification, Training, Recruitment or Entertainment, interactive videos generate far more interest and recall value than linear video.

By infusing videos with interactivity, brands can deliver response-provoking experiences that drive conversion, increase brand loyalty and improve ROI. They can make their videos far more effective with 'shoppable' content, quizzes, opinion polls, surveys, treasure hunts and more.

Making videos shoppable allows brands to boost revenue and engagement while positioning themselves as innovative. There's a big novelty factor at play as choosing products and adding them to a cart while viewing, is a new experience. But the buck doesn't stop there. Brands can take things further by personalising these videos. They can leverage their CRM data to create personalised video-based mailers/messages, direct users to their website and engage them like never before with innovative gamification. Product recommendations can be based on a user's browsing and purchase/transaction history, rather than shots in the dark.

From YouTube to Online Video Platforms

Like the idea of interactive and personalised videos, but not sure how to deliver them to your audience? The answer lies in looking beyond standard platforms like YouTube and Vimeo where hosting and playing special videos with interactivity, gamification or personalisation is not an option. Giants like Cisco are already pulling their ads off YouTube for 'brand safety' reasons, as they have no control over the kind of inappropriate videos or comments their ads can be displayed next to. For that matter, even a competitors' video can pop up after completion as an ad or recommendation. The lack of deep analytics remains another pain point on these platforms.

Online video platforms (OVPs) help address these issues while enabling brands to conveniently host videos across ALL their apps or web properties through a single interface. Equipped with sentiment analysis, Machine Learning and contextual targeting capabilities, such platforms allow brands to talk to their customers on a one-on-one basis and wow them with extreme personalisation and high interactivity.

Plus, a platform's custom video analytics engine throws up actionable insights so that you can make every view count and figure out exactly which parts of your videos consumers care most about. With an OVP, you can even leverage interactive videos to educate and engage employees and channel partners in an interesting and cost-effective manner.

The Long and Short of it

Today, nearly 60 per cent of advertisers' digital budgets are allocated to video (Business Wire) and brands across the globe are creating videos in the hope of driving conversion. As the lines between content and commerce are blurring, embracing new trends and actively inviting user engagement is becoming key for brands that are serious about cutting through the video clutter. No longer can marketers afford to follow a vanilla approach, sending out run-of-the-mill emails, text messages or videos.

They need to create out of the box videos and leverage innovative technology to deliver a dynamic viewing experience which nudges viewers to take specific, desired actions. For this, brands should work with a strategic partner who offers an intersection between creativity and technology - one who can create cutting-edge content, while providing an OVP that helps manage, distribute and monetise this content effectively.

(The author is Vice President and Head, Global Marketing & Communications, Prime Focus Technologies).

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