Interactive Video Breathes New Life into Online Advertising

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are calls to action within videos, they are often rudimentary and typically break the user experience by sending [viewers] off to another Web site to find out more about a pair of shoes or sign up for a B2B white paper," Forrester analyst Anthony Mullen wrote in a recent report.

Most of the time, consumers are watching these ads while they wait for other content to stream or load, so asking them to abandon that content and explore a product is "asking a lot," Mullen says. Furthermore, when it comes to the B2B space, the technology or solution is often too complex to explain in a 30-second video. "The technology might be interesting and appropriate, but B2B marketers can't hope to convey all of the capabilities and benefits in a few seconds. And no one is going to watch a three-minute ad," he says.

With linear videos, marketers are simply missing the mark, analysts agree. Online video is ripe ground, but brands are failing to harness the potential of the key thing that, for the time being, sets the Web apart from television: It can facilitate a real-time feedback loop with viewers.

Interactive Videos Are More Conversation than Campaign

Interactive video isn't a new concept, but it is largely underutilized as a marketing tool despite the fact that it has been shown to drive engagement and conversion. Interactive marketing experiences run the gamut from self-guided explorations of certain brand products to clickable hotspots that allow consumers to click on different items and purchase them without ever navigating away from the video module. "Most televisions can't quite do this yet, but computers and mobile devices can, and marketers aren't taking advantage of this capability," Mullen says.

Different types of interactive experiences carve out the path for different types of engagement, and most aren't meant to replace traditional linear advertising. Rather, interactive video enables marketers to get on the on-demand video bandwagon by delivering rich content that consumers will eagerly seek out, rather than bombarding them with content they desperately want to skip or avoid.

Typically found on brands' Web sites or social media pages, interactive videos perform better than linear advertisements, even though they aren't served to an audience that has no choice but to view them before reaching other content. For linear videos, completion rates 

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