5 Social Platforms Brands are Using to Create Interactive Videos

 In Interactive Content, Social Media
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Online video has had explosive growth in the past few years, jumping from 20 minutes watched a day in 2011 to over an hour in 2015, which has led to brand marketers experimenting with interactive videos to stand out in the marketplace.

Interactive videos allows brands big and small to flex their creative muscles to create video content that isn’t just consumed, but can be interacted with. It is a fundamental change in the control over how a story is presented and how consumers engage with video content.

It is the greater consumer engagement that brands are looking for with interactive video and several of the social media platforms have recently given brands the tools to share interactive video with a large audience.

Take a look at brands that are leveraging interactive videos:

360 Facebook Video: USA Today – Blue Angels

USA Today partnered with the Blue Angels to give their fans an immersive, 360 degree look at what it’s like to pilot an F/A-18 Hornet. Published on Facebook as a 360 degree video, mobile phone viewers could turn their phone to change the orientation of the camera and desktop viewers could drag their cursor to see the mere inches separating the Blue Angels.

The video was a viral hit, accruing over 14 million views and 418,000+ shares (including Mark Zuckerberg). The incredible engagement and reaction from fans prompted USA Today to do more 360 videos with rollercoasters, tiny homes, and the Indy 500.

Takeaway: As a marketer, it is important to create video content that is both awe-inspiring and educational. This video engaged viewers through the use not only of incredible 360 degree footage, but also the lead pilot’s voice-over, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at just what it takes to pilot one of these machines. 360-video is a relatively new tool, and gives marketers the chance to jump on a content form that isn’t oversaturated as yet.  For USA Today’s consumer, it also gave viewers a break from the news, and expanded the publication’s range beyond simply breaking events. As long as the content is on-brand, you, too, can choose to share something outside of your normal content, and expand your fans’ view of your brand. Simply pick an experience that either informs or entertains your consumer. Something with awe-inspiring visuals can’t hurt either.


Persicope: Alexi Lalas – #AskAlexi

Former USMNT defender and current soccer analyst Alexi Lalas is on the forefront of the modern media landscape with his use of Periscope. Nearly every other day Lalas does an #AskAlexi Periscope session where he takes questions from soccer fans on the day’s news and interacts with fans. Many times the topics and interactions he has on Periscope make it into his talking points on television with Fox Sports.

Takeaway: Can your company leverage the principle behind this? Of course! Periscope, is a great platform for this kind of Q&A session, allowing for lower-quality smartphone video and less scripting than traditional video platforms. Instead of writing another blog post or white paper, answer questions or disseminate information in a live or semi-live format. Create buzz around the event beforehand by tweeting and posting the live event, and consider adding a link on your website as well. Using hashtags specific to the vibrant Periscope communities will allow your scope to be seen. Remember, though, there is a 24-hour viewable window, so be sure to cross-promote!


YouTube: British Airways – Choose Your Own Adventure


British Airways turned to Youtube to give their fans an interactive way to discover new destinations they could travel to and what to do there. Using several Youtube videos and annotations to link them together, viewers could interact with the video and choose their own adventure to different cities that British Airways served.

Takeaway: People love choices, so give them what they want with click-through videos that lead them on a personalized adventure through your content. It could be something as simple as choosing what kind of customer they are (B2B or B2C, for example) and clicking through to the appropriate content type. YouTube makes this kind of format easy with their clickable annotations feature. YouTube also allowed British Airways the chance to curate these videos into playlists, controlling the dissemination of their content in a way that focused on continuity of the story. Since marketers see an average increase of 19% in sales when personalizing content, this strategy could really boost your brand and improve sales numbers across the board.


Vine: Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets are one of several pro sports teams that have hopped on the Vine bandwagon and have ‘hacked’ the UX to make their Vines interactive. Clicking or tapping on a Vine video pauses it on that screen, so the Brooklyn Nets created a rolling Vine video into a carnival-like game where users click to stop the Vine on the player that matches up with the shoes. It’s a clever hack to make Vine interactive when the platform is normally a passive, consuming experience.

Takeaway: Games are a great way to change a viewing audience into an engaged, participating audience. Using Vine to gamify normally static content is a clever tactic that can increase engagement and create fans. Bonus points for repurposing old content by creating an interactive game out of it!


Facebook’s Carousel Ads: Target

Target began leveraging Facebook’s new carousel ads this year, using multiple short videos as content. What made this ad so creative was how the videos were linked together, with the model moving from video to video to tell the brand story. The carousel format is a unique departure from consumer’s default method of swiping down on mobile devices, making it an active choice for the consumer to see the rest of the ad.

Takeaway: Carousel ads can benefit you too. Create videos or image stories that can be broken up horizontally, and leverage the side-scrolling capabilities of Facebook to allow users to linger on your content instead of scrolling down. The longer the dwell time, the better the ad performs, after all. This type of content can be particularly beneficial when you can utilize a short-form video for each section of the carousel ad. Be sure to optimize for mobile, as well.

Interactive video appears to be a winner and brands big and small are starting to leverage it more and more. Pairing the incredible storytelling power of video with interactivity makes it a unique tool in a brand marketer’s closet.

Have you seen other brands use interactive video or other forms of interactive content? What were your favorites? Let me know in the comments.

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