The future of video is interactivity, and any business that’s already using them in whatever shape or form should definitely look into taking that next step from just linear or static to interactive videos. Not too long from now every video will become interactive and as a business owner, you need to make sure you’re ahead of the competition and are already utilizing this technology today.

Not convinced? Here are 6 reasons that will change your mind:

1. Interactive videos can help you keep your audience interested in your story



Photo courtesy of audiolucistore via Flickr, Creative Commons

Video allows you to communicate with your consumers in a more creative way, much better than what you could ever hope to do with text. This is possible because videos engage not only the visual sense of the viewer but the auditory as well. This makes it one of the best mediums for digital storytelling and any modern branding strategy would be lacking without it.

The drawback from the viewers’ end however is the linear nature of traditional video. The audience has always been passive because once a video is played, there is nothing else to do but watch it. But we all know that on the internet, a person’s attention span is very short. So if you cannot engage them immediately, they’re likely to jump to another video or website.

You can remedy this problem by making your videos more interactive. You can, for example, create chapters for a video so that your viewers can jump to the ones that they’re interested in and skip the rest. Or you could link to another video that might be more interesting for the viewer from within the current video he’s watching. Basically, you’re allowing the viewer to determine the content he wants to consume, making the experience more personal and customized. You allow them to explore your products and your brand in the way that’s most interesting for them.

If properly done, you’re not only able to convey your message effectively but you’re also able to keep your viewers engaged and interested in the content that you created and hopefully wanting for more.

2. They allow for immediate response to a call to action


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You’ve probably already seen those clickable annotations on youtube videos. They can be a little annoying admittedly, but the better youtubers have been able to seamlessly integrate this feature into the call to actions in their videos.

This is a perfect example of how you can use interactive videos to solicit a desired response from your audience. These annotations can contain a link to your website, to a signup page, to a sales page, or to whatever else you want and they can be perfectly timed to pop up when you want them to, and in the area of the video where you feel they’ll be most effective. This makes it easier for your viewers to act on your solicitation because the link is already there, they don’t have to scroll down or do some other action in order to respond.

The challenge here is to create your video in such a way that the appearance of the annotations is natural, not salesy or annoying. The video should be able to generate enough interest in the viewer so that when the call to action is made and the annotation pops up, it’ll seem natural to click on it.

3. Increased sales and the potential to change the way e-commerce is done

If you’re in the e-commerce business or are planning to get into it, then you definitely have to consider the potential that interactive videos have in changing the way consumers buy online. Big brands like Gucci and Barneys New York are already using interactive videos to sell their products and it’s so engaging, that it’s difficult not to imagine everyone else going this direction in the future.

Have a look at how they’re doing it:

They’re basically giving their customers the ability to buy the product they’re selling by clicking on it within the video. Isn’t that amazing?

Imagine if you could do this for ANY video. What if in the future, while watching a random video online, you see some cool item that you want and all you need to do is click on it to buy it. You don’t have to Google the item anymore or look for it on Amazon; you can just buy it right there. The video might not even be about the item that you want, it was just there coincidentally.

If this becomes mainstream, every video would then have the potential to become it’s own e-commerce store. If the interactive feature of these videos isn’t lost when it’s shared, popularity of a video will now directly affect sales. Given how viral a video can become, this could be a game changer in that more sales could potentially be generated by the videos than the actual e-commerce site.

4. It can help you build trust by giving your audience the chance to develop a much more personal connection with you

A brilliant way to use videos in order to create a more personal relationship with your audience is by interacting with them live, online, in a one-to-many scenario (for efficiency’s sake). A great example of this is what American Idol, Scotty McCreery did after he won. McCreery hosted a live facebook video chat and more than a thousand of his fans showed up to chat with him and hang out with fellow fans online. His fans used to only see him on TV and they still became fans. By giving them the chance to actually chat with him through a live video feed, he made them even more loyal fans. If he continues to grow his base of loyal followers, he can do so many things with that.

The words of Kevin Kelly come to mind, “A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.” Naturally of course, it’s always better if you get more.

Another example of how this method has been used effectively is in live online seminars hosted by consultants, marketers, and other people who provide a service but do it online. Building trust is very important online especially when you’re in the business of giving advice. So allowing your customers the chance to actually see you talk and ask you questions, so that you can prove to them that you’re as competent as you claim to be in your blog or in your website will go a long way in convincing them to give you their business.

5. Interactive videos are great for ad campaigns when used creatively

A number of companies have been very successful in employing interactive videos in their ad campaigns on youtube. By using the annotations creatively, they are able to create viral videos that boost their sales and improve brand awareness.

Here’s an example of how to use interactive videos creatively to promote a product:

The video by itself is interesting, everyone loves zombie movies after all. But what gets the viewers hooked on this ad are the choices at the end of each one where you’re allowed to decide where the story will go. The brilliant thing about this is that most people will actually want to see all the “paths” that are possible so they end up watching everything.

This “choose your own story” type of video has been successfully employed by many other brands and it’s just one example of what interactive videos can do for business.

6.  And finally, interactive videos can be great data mines


Photo courtesy of Moritz Petersen via Flickr, Creative Commons

Data on consumer behavior is very important to any business. So naturally, data gained from the interaction happening on your videos should be tracked and used to tweak your overall business strategy. Conducting polls on videos can also make them more interesting and fun for your customers, making it easier for you to solicit actionable information from them.

So there you have it, 6 reasons why you should already be using interactive videos to grow your business. Don’t let technology leave you behind and most definitely, don’t let your competition get ahead of you. Start using interactive videos today!