Interactive Video: The Evolution of Video Marketing

By Jen Casson     |     June 18, 2014
Interactive Video - Digital Marketing by Room214

Video is a must-have component of your digital marketing strategy and the stats prove it. If you still haven’t bought into that… well, this article isn’t for you. What I’m interested in sharing is the next evolution of video marketing – the Interactive Video (or “IV “ for the character averse).

Let’s briefly revisit web videos’ history. As more and more marketers began using video to promote their brands online, it was inevitable that they’d want to make their videos clickable.  Video for video’s sake?  Don’t be ridiculous!  They wanted viewers to do something – visit their websites, download a whitepaper or fill out a lovely form.  Like, follow, subscribe, pin, or stalk them.  Or better yet, to make a purchase (annoyingly referred to as V-Commerce).

YouTube got into clickable video (relatively) early on, allowing authors to add hotspots that linked to other YouTube videos, playlists or channels. Slowly but surely they released their death grip on this functionality and allowed linking to e-commerce sites and now any external website. But it was and WireWax that really demonstrated what a brand could do with a shoppable music video that allowed viewers to purchase the looks they saw in the video.

Today, you can find several examples of basic clickable videos and V-Commerce, some better than others. This in itself isn’t all that revolutionary. In fact, if your company hasn’t taken advantage of the simplest clickable video functionality, you should consider yourself behind the curve.

With IV the lines between entertainment, information, gaming and advertising are becoming blurred.  And in this grey area is where some of the most cutting-edge, not to mention creative, interactive videos are being developed.  Many of these allow you to interact with the story, either by driving the storyline or by becoming part of it. Will You Fit from Deloitte, used for recruiting and employee on-boarding, is an excellent example of a user-driven and gamified interactive video. Makes me wonder what they did for their sensitivity training video.

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In The Big Night, Subaru cleverly uses interactive video to entertain viewers while plugging some of the features of the their new Forester.


Bob Dylan’s recent IV for Like A Rolling Stone allows a user to flip through channels as TV personalities lip sync the lyrics.


And of course if you haven’t wasted at least 24 hours at work on 24 hours of Happy… you must not be working very hard.


Interaction in IVs isn’t limited to clicking – it may be voice or gesture driven, or integrated with another one of your devices.  Arcade Fire, an indie rock band, has been experimenting and pushing the limits of web video for a handful of years with their HTML5 video for The Wilderness Downtown and now with their music video for Just A Reflektor which allows you to use a device and become part of the story.


In addition to unleashing a new wave of creative storytelling, Interactive Video has also opened web video up to integrations that have marketers drooling.  Sure, you can capture analytics on standard videos.  But IV enables a higher level of sophistication with platforms that  integrate with various analytic tools: CRM, MAS, LMS and other three-letter acronyms that sales and marketing types use to automate their work. Now, brands can disguise their lead generation, messaging, and advertising in the form of an entertaining, educational, gamified video.

Take for example this Intro to Marketing Automation video by Eloqua, a leading MAS provider.  As you happily navigate through the video, you are educated about a complex topic while it captures valuable insights about you (including your contact info) and feeding it into Eloqua.  Creepy… and brilliant.

In an article by Liva Judic, Erika Trautman, CEO of Rapt Media, explains how interactive video is the key to making the all-important link between content, marketing and commerce.  She tells of the evolution of the industry from expensive customized one-off projects, to more accessible, affordable and repeatable solutions. Now that Interactive Video platforms have matured, forward-thinking brands are using them to create tailored video experiences all while capturing metrics and data from user interaction.

The results are real.  Interactive Videos are engaging viewers longer than standard videos, with completion rates around 90% compared to 50% – 85% for linear videos — and IVs often have repeat views.  Click-through rates for IV are also higher at 5-12% compared to 1-2% for typical video advertising.  A well-done Interactive Video will stand out and provide a memorable experience, one viewers will be motivated to share.

Hopefully you now have a better idea of what Interactive Video is and why brands are excited about it. In future posts, I’ll be reviewing a handful of Interactive Video platforms as well as exploring some best practices. So stay tuned. And if you’re wondering how your brand can get started with interactive video, contact Room 214.  We’ll work with you to figure out the best solution for your brand and your story.

About Jen Casson

Jen Casson’s experience marries art with strategy. Her breadth of experience embraces IT, data and creative craft. She loves collaboration, storytelling and supporting her clients with research-based data and creativity. She is an award-winning editor for the Discovery Channel, Sundance Channel, Science Channel, Ford, Dish, and others. When she’s not working, she’s avoiding folding laundry by skiing and mountain biking with her friends and family.

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