Interactive video isn’t entirely new, but it’s only recently that businesses have really started to leverage it in new and unique ways and harness it to its full potential. Read on to discover what an interactive video platform actually is and how you can best utilize it.

Whats an Interactive Video Platform and How Do They Work

You might be surprised to know that interactive video has been around practically since the dark ages. Well, almost; interactive video has been around since 1967! Yet while an interactive video platform isn’t exactly a new concept, the medium is becoming more and more accessible as technology continues to improve. For instance, advancements in bandwidth, streaming delivery and internet enabled devices, and the rise of HTML5 video enabled interactivity (without having to use Flash!) has opened up a world of possibilities. Interactivity takes modern Video on Demand (VoD) to the next level. 

We’re seeing businesses embrace this new technology in an effort to find increasingly new and innovative ways to educate and connect with consumers. 

The good news? You don’t need to have an elaborate video production team or even web development skills to be able to create and edit bespoke interactive videos.

The beauty of the latest self-serve interactive video platforms is their accessibility. Your own in-house team or your digital agency can build interactive videos easily to create content on demand. All you need is the right interactive video platform to create video magic. So, what exactly IS an interactive video platform and where did interactive video even come from?

What is Interactive Video?

No idea what interactive video is? Interactive video is exactly what it sounds like –  it’s a video that you can actively interact with. These interactions could be in the form of links, polls, quizzes or the ability to select different paths or storylines within the video which can change the narrative of the video’s storyline.

Interactive video works only with the user’s participation, turning them into active participants in the media they are consuming, rather than just passive viewers. 

How Did Interactive Media and Interactive Video Begin?

Think you’ve never experienced interactive video? Well, if you’ve ever played a video game or interacted with someone’s story on Instagram, then think again! 

Interactive media first began in the ’60s and quickly evolved over the decades. But its most rapid growth phase was during the technological innovation that occurred throughout the ’90s. To many of us, this feels like a distant memory, but as internet access started to become far more accessible, interactive video grew into a household occurrence. 

Now, whether you consciously realize it or not, interactive video is everywhere; in Instagram Stories, within mobile apps and games and even on Netflix. The hype surrounding Netflix’s interactive Black Mirror episode, Bandersnatch, was electric and brought interactive video firmly into the spotlight. And we’re betting that won’t be the last interactive video entertainment piece splashed all over internet news sites.

What is an Interactive Video Platform?

An interactive video platform is, in essence, a software tool that allows you to create features within your video for your audience to click, type, shop, or take some form of action. It brings a layer of gamification to your otherwise passive video, which traditionally only allows the audience to stop, pause and play the content. 

These days, technological innovation means that anyone has the means to access interactive video platforms and create highly engaging content. All you need is the right technology provider and a creative idea.

Interactive video platforms offer powerful features that allow you to fully customize your video according to how you’d like to interact with viewers. Some interactive features can include:“Hotspots”; a highlighted spot within the video featuring clickable links, buttons or overlays

• Forms allowing your audience to click on answers or type responses

• Quizzes

• In-video shopping

Branching storylines, created using choose-your-own-adventure video technology

• User participation can lead to exceptional personalized experiences for your audience. In turn, this can drive sales, amplify your brand messaging or increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. 

How Does an Interactive Video Platform Work?

Similar to video game programming, there is coding working in the back-end to ensure the interactive elements within an interactive video can work. 

The best part is, most interactive video platforms offer self-serve functionality, so there’s no need for users to do a crash course in coding to be able to create an interactive video. Most interactive video platforms like Vudoo have drag-and-drop functionality with the ability to easily design  a video. So, when creating an interactive video, users can customize fonts, buttons and icons to their liking with a click of a button, according to what is suitable for their brand. 

Most interactive video platforms are cloud-based platforms, so there’s no need to download and install programs. In fact, you can access the application online instantly, to create and edit your videos whenever you need.

The most impressive aspect of interactive video platforms is the analytics tools available. These tools allow you to track the metrics of your video. Every interaction a user has with an interactive video, whether it’s a click to a website, a form being filled out or an answer to a poll, can be measured. These data points can provide behavioral insights into how your audience is viewing your video.

Video analytics within interactive videos include:

Interaction rate: The percentage of viewers that click on any messages or calls to action in a video. We can not only tell that someone is actively engaged—taking time to click or tap on an interaction—but also paint a clearer picture to measure a video’s performance. Each interaction creates a data trail for instant performance tracking and, over time, you’ll be able to see which content works… and which doesn’t.

Viewer retention: Viewer retention can be measured by assessing how engaged audiences are with content. Interactive video can also record at which point viewers decide to click away from the content. 

Conversion rate: By placing an interaction within your video, you can attribute conversions to actions customers have taken using UTM links. Interactions can direct viewers to your site, capture information or sign-ups via a form, or facilitate a purchase. Whatever interaction you choose, data captured by interactive video can give you insight into any leads, sales and responses driven by your content.

Custom analytics: Interaction and conversion rates are not the only metrics available through interactive video. To gain qualitative data and a sense of what your audience is thinking, you have the option to build in feedback forms and polls for real-time, reportable insights. Traffic source statistics can show which channels are the most effective for delivering success for a video.

Integrating with a CRM and marketing automation platform also provides further insights into your marketing performance as a whole. For example, Vudoo’s integration with Salesforce Marketing Cloud allows users to add interactive elements to their existing video content, such as a call-to-action or a shoppable button, which provides critical behavioral insights that are then fed back into the Salesforce Journey Builder and presented as analytics, giving you deeper, real-time learnings on certain leads and accounts.

All this means that interactive video is a no-brainer for brands looking to create engaging content, both due to its unique format and ability to connect with audiences like nothing else, but also in its powerful ability to gather deep insights and valuable data on user behaviors. 

As more and more brands jump on interactive video platforms, we’ll start to see increasingly creative interactive video being produced. How will your business unlock the power of an interactive video platform?