Understanding branching videos and how to use them

What is a branching video?

Anyone who grew up reading Choose Your Own Adventure novels will already understand the concept: at certain points the reader is asked to make a decision that determines the course of the story. All the possible choices and endings are contained within the one book, but the instructions (eg. ‘turn to page 73’) steer the reader through their own unique narrative.

Branching videos work in much the same way. Viewers are presented with choices throughout the video and clicking a selection skips them to a pre-determined part of the video to continue the experience. Unlike books, however, branching videos can link to a different video altogether if you like.

One of the best-known examples of a branching video is Bandersnatch, the 2018 episode of Netflix’s popular sci-fi series Black Mirror. While that production was said to be around two years in the making, the good news for business is that these seemingly complex interactive video experiences can be created in-house in minutes, not years.

Tip 1: Get to know the platform

Whilst many interactive features like hotspots, polls and pop-ups can be easily added to existing video content, branching videos are usually more effective when they’re created specifically for the format.

Tip 2: Start planning

Branching necessitates a degree of additional planning and production to ensure all possible outcomes are filmed and everything flows as it should. Self-serve interactive video creation platforms like Vudoo make constructing the final video simple, allowing you to add pop-up interactive choices where you want them and then set each selection to jump to a particular point in the video to continue the journey.

Tip 3: Results are everything

The results of personalized user journeys are well worth the extra effort by delivering truly memorable, engaging experiences and for the deeper audience insights that come with it. As the saying goes, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but by using branching video to give viewers real choice in what they watch, you’ll get closer than ever before.

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