Why Interactive Video Is the Next Frontier in Social Media Advertising

Why Interactive Video Is the Next Frontier in Social Media Advertising

What’s the biggest difficulty brands and advertisers face today? The answer can vary among industries and people, but the biggest difficulty for brands is differentiating themselves in a sea of content. If there are many products out there just like yours, how do you get noticed and create a loyal customer?

This problem is on full display in today’s world dominated by social media video. Viewers can almost instantaneously scroll past your advertisement without so much as a blip on the mental radar. One flick of the finger, and the hard work put into your ad is passed up for something more engaging.

Social media video marketing has become the hot new trend in the marketing world but, as with any trend, the market is becoming saturated. This is one of many hard truths brands face when constructing a social media marketing strategy for 2018 and beyond

Video content has taken over every aspect of social media. Instagram recently rolled out a long-form content app called IGTV. Facebook released its TV competitor called Watch and already has MLB games streaming live on the platform. More than half of Twitter’s business is video—it made $287 million from video ads in Q1 of 2018.

Digital ad spending finally surpassed TV ad spending in 2017, and the growth of social media video was the primary reason why. For example, Instagram experienced a 622 percent increase in ad impressions from video content from 2015 to 2018. Clearly, if you want to differentiate your brand, you might want to consider jumping on that video bandwagon.

But why stop there? One marketing avenue is already emerging as the second generation of social media video: interactive video advertising. Let’s take a look at why interactive video is the next frontier in social media advertising:

Interactive Video Ads Engages Users More Than Traditional Ads

Magna, a media strategy group, recently released a study that revealed interactive video ads drive a 47 percent gain in time spent with a marketing message, compared to a non-interactive ad. They found that interactive ads also drove nine times more impact on purchase intent by the consumer. Those are impressive numbers and companies are already starting to cash in on the interactive video trend!

Newsfeed Smartapps creates interactive social media video based on e-commerce, automotive, food, and travel advertising. To understand their approach, imagine scrolling through Instagram, and an advertisement for dresses and shoes starts playing. Normal ad videos passively show you what your life could be like if you purchased these clothes. Instead, Newsfeed Smartapps’ interactive ad allows you to click on the specific articles of clothing in the video and automatically adds them to your shopping cart.

This technology not only creates a value proposition for the customer but also seals the deal all within one video. Smart apps can do the same for food recipes by adding all the ingredients to your Amazon Fresh cart.

It’s not hard to see this type of interactivity pushed to ads beyond social media, either. In the future, you might be watching a new TV show or an awards show and have an app that corresponds with every purchasable item in the broadcast.

While this technology is far from being widespread, it is intriguing to see the creative ways interactive video is reaching audiences. According to Magna’s study, the key to succeeding with interactive ads is to use human-focused interactions instead of focusing on the product itself. Authenticity is key!

Passive versus Interactive Content

Much of video advertising is what’s called passive video. When you watch a video, you take in the information in a passive manner. There is no interaction with the media; you simply consume it as is. What’s unique about interactive video advertising is that the viewer is immersed in the experience of the ad.

Many companies are starting to produce interactive content for TV, and their first step is creating a “choose your own adventure” style of content. Twitch, a live streaming video platform mainly devoted to gaming, is creating user-influenced TV dramas. Users choose how they want the lives actors to respond at pre-determined forks in the plot.

Traditional (and even Netflix-style) TV dramas once relied upon creating drama before commercial breaks to keep the viewer hooked. With an interactive TV show, the viewer’s direct participation is what keeps them hooked.

Apps like HQ Trivia take interactivity to a whole new level. HQ is a free quiz show app that is live streamed daily and offers cash for players who can answer all 12 questions correctly. Their genius approach to advertising involves having movies, TV shows, brands, and actors host the live game. Facebook recently launched its own HQ competitor called Confetti which allows its content creators to hold similar interactive trivia shows and gamify their content.

The takeaway is that interactivity creates a memorable experience, and that type of experience is what can differentiate your brand from others.

Companies Are Investing in Virtual Reality and 360-Degree Content

Some of the most interactive content on the market today is produced in virtual reality and in 360 degrees. The NBA, for example, produced eight games and the All-Star game in 360-degree formats this past year. Viewers get to experience the game as if they were actually there, and that immersion provides the viewer a more robust technical experience.

Take this case-in-point: Kit Kat released a video earlier this year called “360-degree Zen Break” which featured a Japanese rock garden and a man who offered the viewer a Kit Kat. This relatively simple concept garnered six million views and had a 48 percent completion rate, as opposed to YouTube’s normal 24 percent rate for ads.

Interactivity Is All About Connection

Often what makes an interactive ad so effective is its ability to integrate the most important part of the equation: you! Think back to choose-your-own-adventure books or a popular series like Twilight or The Hunger Games. These types of stories resonated with audiences because they identified with the protagonists. They were, in essence, included in the story as well.

This is a critically important lesson for brands when creating interactive video. Stories create an emotional connection between the customer and the brand. By immersing themselves in the story, customers get a personal look into how the product could be a part of their lives.

Shift your customers’ focus from what you do to why you do it. Whether it’s entertainment or advertising, interactive video is the next frontier that will help you differentiate your brand from the competition.

Cover image taken from Oregon State University blog
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