Chatbots, AI and voice search technologies have been used effectively to woo consumers into conversion funnels, to qualify marketing leads and serve as a customer communication tool – until Covid.
From a marketer’s perspective, what has become apparent is that consumers, feeling isolated, are craving human connection. Even if the incarnations are artificially engineered, customers are yearning to know the face and voice behind their favorite brands.
Video by the numbers
In 2021, 86 percent of marketers are expected to integrate video in their marketing strategies, compared to six percent in 2016. Eighty-four percent of marketers agree that video helps improve lead conversions, while eight out of 10 marketers feel that video has a direct, positive impact on sales. According to Wyzowl’s 2021 State of Video Marketing Survey as reported by Hubspot, “Marketers feel more positive about the return on investment offered by video more than ever, as it continues to strongly influence traffic, leads, sales, and audience understanding… Consumers continue to use video as an integral part of their journey with brands, and are excited to see even more video content in the year ahead”.
From Forbes to BBC to The New York Times, are attesting to the rise in video consumption as a result of the pandemic, and brands everywhere are looking for creative ways to further harness the power of video.
New interactive video platforms are democratizing the playing field
Established for more than a decade, interactive video technology has wowed select audiences around the globe with “hotspots”, clickable call-to-action buttons within a video that allow viewers to jump to a specific point in a video. Combine this with “video branching” where the viewer is asked to participate actively in the narrative by choosing between different actions. Netflix has been producing this type of technology in interactive “specials” like Black Mirror and You vs. Wild, but all this technology came with a price tag. Due to complex customization requirements, interactive video was above reach for everyone but the biggest brands. That has changed with a new breed of platforms that are democratizing this technology, while adding a profoundly personalized experience. According to Dov Kaufmann of interactive video platform,Tolstoy:
“Interactive video is allowing brands to connect with their customers on a much deeper, more personal, and ultimately more authentic level than ever before. Each time a viewer clicks a button or answers a question on your video, the experience becomes more personalized for them. It’s truly a paradigm shift.”
According to Wyzowl, video viewers watch interactive videos 47 percent longer than linear videos, providing much more bang for your buck than traditional, static videos:
“The most popular interactive features include hotspots, cards, multi-screen viewing, 360-degree viewing and branching. These videos come with a lot of benefits; mainly, they give the viewer the ability to customise the video content they see for a highly personalised experience. This choose-your-own-adventure style approach uses gamification techniques to make video watching more fun and highly dynamic for viewers”.
Personalized marketing is a requisite
According to BrightCove, videos and interactive content are two of the most universally successful marketing tools in marketers’ arsenals. Brands are seeing a 36 percent increase in completion rates and a 25 percent increase in sales. “By creating made-to-measure content at every stop along the customer journey, users govern their decision-making,” according to Fran Jakubowicz, the CEO of SunHouse Marketing.
“Users play an active role in watching, choosing and clicking through an interactive video experience, and in one fell swoop, move from observer to a prospect with intent and purpose.”
Streamlining video production
One of the biggest winners in interactive video have been the video production companies themselves. Easy to shoot, even remotely, in one production day you can shoot multiple interactive videos.
How can small businesses leverage interactive video?
“For the first time ever, small businesses can leverage interactive video to scale their operations, without having to invest in 100-person sales teams. Interactive video levels the playing field by allowing any business to create personalized, authentic conversations with their leads and customers, at scale,” said Jakubowicz.
Some examples include:
- Welcome people to your site
- Explain your products
- Share your brand story
- Provide a personalized, custom shopping experience
- Highlight what sets you apart from the competition
- Introduce your services
- Automate your lead qualification and sales processes
- Interact face-to-face with potential customers and add a personal touch
- Recruit new talent
Besides increasing engagement and driving more conversions, interactive video allows small businesses build authentic brand experiences, and let their individual personalities shine through these interactions, often giving them an edge over larger, more traditional incumbents.
Some platforms like VideoAsk are differentiating their interactive video experiences with logic, allowing users to automatically make decisions based on a condition or action that occurred.
The plethora of interactive video platforms continue to proliferate the digital marketing space. The website user experience becomes far more interactive, and the data collected from these interactions, such as visits, clicks, responses and online forms, can be recorded, tracked, and measured to provide your business with invaluable insights into your customer base.