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Interactive Video Breathes New Life into Online Advertising

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are as low as 50 percent, and even if a video is completed, there's no guarantee that the viewer paid attention. Interactive videos, on the other hand, reach completion more than 90 percent of the time, which means a user continued to engage with the content, propelling the video forward. Click-through rates are higher as well, often reaching nearly 12 percent, compared to the industry standard of less than 1 percent for traditional video advertising, Mullen says.

"Consumers do more than just interact with brands at the point of sale," Mullen says. "They also 'like' their favorite brands on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and frequent their e-commerce sites for exclusive content," he adds. Most marketing is becoming more conversation than campaign, and video can no longer be an exception to this trend. With a number of compelling solutions on the market, brands have several directions to explore.

Interactive solution vendor Rapt Media offers a branching capability that enables brands to build videos with a dichotomy structure, which takes consumers on personalized journeys based on the path they select. Each video asks viewers a series of questions with two possible answer choices, and depending on their answers, the video divides deeper into several paths, ultimately creating an experience driven by the consumers.

Last year, consumer electronics company Philips worked with advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather to create a campaign around its Click and Style electric razor, and enlisted Rapt Media to strengthen its creative efforts with interactive video. For Philips, the goal was to introduce men to new facial hair styles through a fun mobile interactive video experience without requiring them to download an app. The result was Philips' "Designed to Play—One guy, 5 styles, 625 possibilities" campaign, which invited viewers to select the beard style of the main character to unlock different storylines.

The video opens with a man addressing the audience with the razor in his hand, struggling to remember what occurred the night before. Viewers are invited to help him remember by choosing one of five beard options, and then watch the story unfold as they continue to choose styles to propel the narrative forward. As the video plays and viewers make selections, their responses are recorded to track how they're navigating and what styles are of interest to them.

"This helps Philips determine how to target individual consumers and give them additional information or offers on products that would be most appealing and relevant to them. Products for beard maintenance, for example, won't be interesting to a man who prefers a clean shave, and the analytics that we provide can help brands better understand their audience," Erika Trautman, CEO and founder of Rapt Media, explains.

Rapt Media's Site Pairing feature sets up a direct communication pathway between the interactive video and the Web site, triggering the site to simultaneously load relevant product information and styling tips outside of the player. That way, when a viewer completes the video and starts browsing the site, all of the information on the site is targeted and customized based on how that viewer interacted with the video.

"When you've got an e-commerce site that consumers can buy from directly, this is particularly powerful because you know which items that consumer is interested in based on the video, and can put them right at the forefront, where they're easy to find and buy," Trautman says.

In Philips' case, injecting an interactive element into its mobile-first campaign paid off—average mobile interactive video viewing time exceeded four minutes, and the average viewer interacted three to four times. The campaign performed so well that Philips and Ogilvy and Mather are considering expanding the campaign further, potentially leveraging the Eloqua integration that Rapt Media introduced in August.

With the integration in place, in-video user interactions would be captured by Eloqua's marketing automation suite to allow marketers to score leads. "No one wants to fill out long forms anymore, but by building the marketing automation technology into the interactive videos, we're giving marketers a way to not only gather valuable intel on consumers, but also make their follow-up communications with consumers simpler and more targeted," Trautman says.

Rapt Media's approach to interactive video isn't the only one, however. While some brands may benefit from delivering a question-driven experience to their customers, others may prefer a more subtle interactivity. "Brand videos are always full of products, but without ways for consumers to engage with those products, they might as well not even be there," says Chris Roebuck, CEO and cofounder of

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