industry insights

How interactive video stole Christmas

Industry practices for your next Christmas campaign

8 min. read

Christmas is a time of choices and consumers are not the only decision makers. With interaction rates that outperform other types of content, interactive video may just be what digital marketers need for their seasonal campaigns.

Let’s lay the cards on the table: interactive video is nothing new under the sun. In the video game and motion-picture worlds, it has been around since the 1980s. However, with the rise in popularity of video content due to its overall better performance and engagement rates, digital marketers have turned their interest to interactive video, in the hope of reviving their next brand campaign. Here are a few reasons why interactive video may be worth considering:

It’s dynamic
Compared to traditional video content, interactive video is participatory, thus providing your audience with the opportunity to interact with your brand within a certain set of parameters. That’s right, while viewers are given the impression of absolute freedom, you are the one creating the universe borders of your video in line with the strategy of your campaign.

It’s shareable
Audiences are more likely to watch video if they can be involved in it and filter through content at their own pace, therefore making interactive video easily shareable on social media and other digital channels.

It’s personal
Interactive video can help you deliver a more personalized digital experience that increases your brand presence. And this could not come at a better time than Christmas.

It provides valuable audience insights
An interactive video can basically be embedded on any web or mobile channel, which, in turn, means that its performance can be tracked in order to map out your audience’s digital experience and customer journey. Parameters such as drive clicks, conversion rate, video engagement points (for eg: user drop off-s or video restarts), can help you gain more insights about your audience and measure ROI performance in detail.

If these reasons got your attention, here’s a few successful practices from the content world to get your inspired.

The retail driven: Nowness — Mine all mine

With the release of their interactive video “Mine all mine”, Nowness stepped up their game by making shoppable videos part of their conversion and acquisition-driven campaigns. With data showing that shoppers who view video are 1.81 times more likely to make a purchase, this comes as no surprise. By showing a group of ballet dancers wearing shoppable brand items, Nowness has gone beyond emulating a classic in-store experience, instead providing viewer with the opportunity to dynamically interact with the displayed clothing pieces while watching a ballet dance. What makes their interactive video succeed is precisely the fact that is very much on brand: while a group of artistic dancers would not work in other contexts, they are in line with the brand identity of Nowness.

The daring: Agent Provocateur — Naughty or Nice

In recent years, lifestyle brands have recognised Christmas as an opportunity to leverage interactive video for their content marketing strategy. The lingerie brand Agent Provocateur aligns to this trend with their 2016 Christmas campaign. With the release of Naughty or Nice – an interactive video where users can see the two sides of a woman preparing for Christmas, Agent Provocateur has gone for video content that is fun, participatory and shareable. Even if it’s not the first time lifestyle brands exploit the bipolar nature that can be found in women (see Kenzo’s viral perfume ad), Agent Provocateur succeeds in knowing their audience and giving them a fun video experience that turns into a selling opportunity: their video campaign is backed up by their Christmas product collection divided into “naughty” or “nice”.

The subtle: Google — Rear Window

Last year’s Hitchcock-inspired Christmas campaign that Google released raised the bar of the interactive video world. By collaborating with the animation studio behind Wallace and Gromit, Google has made “Rear Window” the latest project of their Spotlight-series. More than a fun video, their Christmas campaign is an obvious showcase of what their smartphone-based video platform can do: provide viewers with a participatory gaze at their own pace, all without the need of VR glasses. No surprise there – the versions they released for web and iOS users are non-interactive, hence more boring. By giving us a taste of their advanced video technology, it’s going to be interesting to see what Google is coming up with next.

Three tips for interactive video:

It doesn’t have to be complicated
In the content world, big ideas do not always need to translate to complicated schemes. Sure, a highly animated campaign that big players like Google release, raises the bar of video content. However, volume is not always needed for impact. As we have seen in many of the interactive Christmas campaigns that have been published throughout the years, a minimal, yet catchy storyline can bring impressive results in terms of user response.

In practice, an interactive video may contain as little as two videos that can run simultaneously with the proper coding. If done right, the videos are able to support a Christmas campaign by showing two facets of the same story concept, similar to the Agent Provocateur campaign exemplified above. What makes them stand out from an ordinary video is the active role of the audience in the development of the story, as users alternate planes when and how they want.

Take the time to know your audience
While it’s nice to challenge your audience with innovative content, completely taking them out of their comfort zone can lead to unwanted results. When preparing for seasonal campaigns, it is always a good idea to tap into your audience’s behaviour ahead of time. Looking at customer experience through customers touchpoints and interaction channels such as SoMe can provide you with useful insights that can be used for angling your interactive video strategically. Parameters such as rate of engagement or interaction time can help you decide, for instance, whether the publishing platform for your video should be mobile, your own website or an external website such as YouTube.

Consistency is key
How many times have we witnessed brands blindly following digital trends in the hope of enriching their content universe? Far too many. Take for instance the app trend that have made both brands and our mobile devices go on overload. It is just one of the many examples, which prove that following a content trend for the sake of it is a waste of both your and your audience’s time.

Luckily for us, interactive video is a fluid environment that can easily be adapted to almost any brand universe. However, finding the right angle and strategy for your video campaign can require a bit of thought. Keeping in line with your digital content strategy, as well as your overall communication strategy leads to an interactive video that adds value and relevance to your business.