More and more, companies are looking to use digital video advertising to reach their target audiences, but with so much competition in the market, it’s tough to stand out. The goal is clearly to make the content more engaging — but how?
That’s where interactivity comes in. Interactive Video ads offer an entertaining and engaging way for marketers to connect with consumers. They’re more than just a video that plays on your screen. They provide an immersive experience that holds your attention and makes you feel like part of the experience itself.
How can you make these videos part of your marketing strategy and how does it all work? That’s what we’ll cover in this guide, so let’s get into it.
What Are Interactive Video Ads?
First off, a definition. Interactive Video ads are simply a type of video ad that has interactive elements. They often offer a better user experience by letting the user control what happens in the video or what they’ll see next. And they can cover a variety of ad formats, platforms and interactivity styles.
Most Interactive Video ads are fairly short with one main objective: to get you to respond by clicking or tapping something within the ad itself.
There are many ways to do this, but the most common is by calling for action at the end of your video — whether it’s asking for contact information or clicking to make a purchase.
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As a marketer, you’re probably well aware of the fact that today’s consumers are tech-savvy. They’re accustomed to having smartphones and social media at their fingertips — Gen Z and Gen Alpha have grown up with them — so they know advertisers’ tricks and how to avoid them.
That’s why marketers have to work hard to grab their attention with unique and exciting experiences. It takes more than just creating great content. You also have to figure out ways to engage with them directly and show them something that they can’t get anywhere else.
Interactive Video ads are one tactic you can use in your digital marketing toolkit to give users an experience they won’t soon forget.
Interactive Video Ads Create Engagement Opportunities
Interactive Video advertising can help brands to build stronger relationships with consumers by allowing them to engage on a more personal level. By letting the user interact with the video content and control it to some degree, you’re creating a personal interaction. These video ads are also much more engaging than traditional pre-roll ads, delivering better performance across key metrics such as brand lift, ad recall, consideration and purchase intent.
Coupled with their ability to connect brands to new audiences across multiple platforms, this makes Interactive Video ads a powerful tool for marketers looking to make an impact on their audience.
- Interactive Video ads deliver more engagement opportunities. You can add clickable options throughout the video, so there are more places to draw in the viewer, including gamified quizzes, shoppable elements, choose-your-own-adventure storytelling.
- Interactive Video ads convert better. You should always test with your audience since each audience is unique, but we’ve seen 4x more click-throughs on an in-video CTA compared to the same CTA on a landing page.
- Video interactivity is in demand. Nearly 8 out of 10 consumers say they want Interactive Video from brands, and that number rises to almost 9 out of 10 for high-income earners and younger generations like Gen Z and millennials.
Gain Insight On Prospective Customers
Another perk of Interactive Video ads? They allow you to better understand how people interact with your content so you know what works and what doesn’t.
It can also help you get in the mind of your prospective customers so you can create content better targeted to their needs in future. This can inform your market strategy on the whole even beyond video advertising. Understanding your target audience more helps you improve relevance so your marketing efforts are noticed rather than ignored.
And don’t forget video surveys. With your Interactive Video, you can easily ask at the end for a thumbs up or a thumbs down on what they thought about the video. It’s a low-pressure way to ask for feedback, and you can A/B test with multiple videos as you iterate and improve.
How To Build the Best Interactive Video Ad
In general, Interactive Videos require users to interact in some way to get the desired outcome. You can do a simple ad that just has a CTA button at the end, but a better experience may be to let the consumer change the ending. Watch how one telecommunications company did it with their video below.
This puts the user in the driver’s seat, showing an alternate ending or otherwise changing the storyline of the ad. But you should have a plan for what happens if the user doesn’t engage. You might make a choice for them or you might show them something completely different. For example, if someone clicks an ad for a car dealership, they might see one version of the commercial if they don’t interact with it and another version if they do.
We know the average attention span is continually dropping (if we’ve learned anything from TikTok), so you have a relatively small window to catch your viewers before they scroll aware. To ensure that your message doesn’t get lost before viewers have had a chance to interact with it, keep your videos brief and make sure they make it clear that they’re interactive.
Consumers will expect a non-interactive, linear video ad. You need to show them you have something different. That means no long-winded introductions or unnecessary buildup before getting into the main action. Introduce an interactive element quickly, or include it in the language upfront before they click on your video so they know to stick around.
Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure each aspect of your Interactive Video ad — from its length down through its individual elements like buttons and callouts — is relevant for both brand awareness and conversion goals such as downloads or sales conversions (more on those below). Remember, we’re all about results here.
Add Gamification To Make It More Memorable
Gamification is a powerful tool for marketers. It can increase sales and loyalty. By adding an element of gamification, you make it more likely that you’ll keep the attention of your audience longer, and the longer they keep watching (or playing, as the case may be), the more likely they are to convert then or to remember your brand and convert later.
To add gamification to your Interactive Video ads, you first need to think about what would interest your prospective customers. An easy one is a short trivia challenge that asks viewers to answer a question, letting them choose from multiple options. The impulse to click and find out if you’re right is a strong pull.
You might also give them a discount that they have to “catch” by clicking the right place in the video. If you work with the right Interactive Video provider (shoutout to our Next Generation Video Platform, which handles all kinds of advanced interactivity), then interactive elements can be part of the video, not just an overlay on top. That means your interactivity is part of the scene. It doesn’t need to be only a CTA button. It can be an item, a person, someone or something moving through the scene — anything. It truly is immersive.
Interactivity To Consider for Your Video Ad
We already talked about a few kinds of interactivity, but here’s a quick rundown of the most popular interactive elements you can add to your video ad.
- Multiple choice questions: The user is presented with a set of options and must choose one. These can be used for product selection, polls and surveys for market research or just an interesting quiz to grab attention.
- Countdown timers: These give users only a limited amount of time to make an action before their window closes (e.g., a contest entry). They’re great for encouraging immediate action on an offer or promotion that may expire soon.
- Call-to-action buttons: These CTAs can lead directly to a landing page or. This kind of interaction usually requires some sort of pop up box overtop your video ad so it’s easy for people who aren’t paying attention yet know they need this information immediately before they leave!
- User input: Videos with advanced interactivity can let users add their own info to update the video in real time, such as inputting requirements and getting a real-time quote or adding their email address to the video so it’s sent to the brand rather than an additional form on a web page for a user to fill out.
- Branching: Similar to the choose-your-own-adventure approach we saw above, branching is where your video splits, and users can choose which direction they want to take. It might be a conscious decision, like choosing a path or door. Or it might be answering a question that then routes them to a different narrative within the video.
There’s more interactivity you can try too. For a full list (with examples from brands), check out our guide to Interactive Video for business.
Interactive Elements and Video Length
When it comes to video length, the more interactive elements you have, the longer your video needs to be. The more interactive elements you have, the more complex your video needs to be. The more interactive elements you have, the more time you need to spend on your video.
You can see how this might become an issue if we keep adding complexity and length while trying not to give our audiences too much information at once (that’s what will make them click away). So when producing a multi-step or multi-screen ad campaign with interactive features, think about how long each step should take before moving on to another one. It’s better for users if they are engaged enough by what they’re seeing in front of them that they don’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of things happening within one piece of content—or even worse: bored because nothing else happens after several seconds!
Where To Promote Your Interactive Video Ad
From display ads to banner ads, you can put your video ad anywhere. Generally, the user will click through to engage with the ad on another page.
Remember that Interactive Videos, since they’re not linear, can be longer than regular videos. Your viewer might want to go back and choose other options or keep updating their video to create new ones if your ad has a UGC video approach. Monitor conversions rates for different channels so you can optimize both placement and content.
When possible, cross-promote your video ad content. You might just be planning a social media campaign, for example, but if you’ve made a stellar video ad, why not share it on your blog and email it to your subscribers? Video is the most in-demand content out there. If you’ve spent the time making it, leverage it across all your channels.
Keep Things Simple
One last word before we wrap up — when it comes to interactivity, more isn’t always better. You want the video to be engaging but have a clear flow. Too many spinning whirligigs and clickable elements and your user will be overwhelmed.
That’s not the goal of your video ad. Here’s how to keep things simple for an improved user experience:
- Focus on the most important elements, such as product shots or key action, rather than trying to show everything at once.
- Don’t overwhelm your users with choice. Letting them choose between 2-3 options is fun. Making them pick from 7 is daunting.
- Make sure your video works well even if users don’t interact with it. This should be a fun video to watch with compelling creative and maybe even personalization (which can be effective for customer acquisition).
There’s a side benefit to keeping your video simple. It makes it easier for you to create and execute your ad campaign!
Video Ads Gone Interactive
Even though Interactive Video ads have been around for a while, they’re still being used to an extent that is much smaller than their potential. The technology is advancing rapidly every day, and consumers are keeping pace, expecting more from brands year to year. We’ve seen the demand for in-video customization — a subset of interactivity — nearly double in recent years.
Not quite sure how to use Interactive Video ads for your brand? We’d love to give you some ideas! Schedule a call and we’ll get one of our video pros on the line to show you some options.