As any kid can tell you, the best games are the ones that let you choose your next move. Whether you want to fight a dragon or slip off on a side quest, there is simply nothing cooler than a story that puts you in the director’s chair, where you have the power and autonomy to make your next move.
Interactive video takes an already-immersive art form—video—and dials up the drama to create stunning visuals that your viewer can actively participate in. You’ll choose what frames to see next and even drill down into product pages directly from where you’re watching.
In a world where we’re passively scrolling through hundreds of videos per day, interactive is a new format to infuse novelty, delight, and action into the watching experience.
Next, we’ll show you the differentiating features of an interactive video and tips to drive more engagement with standout marketing campaigns powered by interactive video.
In this guide
- Learn more about Vimeo’s interactive video platform
- What is interactive video?
- What makes a video interactive?
- Types of interactive video
- Why you should include interactive videos in your marketing strategy
- How do you make an interactive video?
- Game-changing examples of interactive video
- Tips to make your interactive videos pop
Without further ado, let’s define what interactive video actually is.
What is interactive video?
An interactive video is a form of media that allows users to interact with content within the video itself. Traditional linear video only allows the viewer to stop, pause, and play the content.
But interactive video encourages engagement during the viewing experience. You can create different paths for the viewer to take through the video or include clickable links to other web pages — i.e., there are more ways than pressing play/pause to engage with the video. For a long time, interactive video was only an option for those willing to invest serious time and lots of development dollars to make it happen. But Vimeo makes it easy to turn any video into an interactive experience. (Psst…Our team takes care of the tech — and offers 24/7 support — so you can easily take your videos to the next level.)
What makes a video interactive?
In short, an interactive video lets a viewer manipulate the direction or method of engaging with the video the way they want to. There are a few techniques you can use to help them do that.
- Hotspots direct the viewer toward another piece of related content (as an example). A hotspot is a point in the video that is clickable/touchable, hyperlinked to where you want the viewer to go, such as a product page — creating a shoppable video.
- Overlays add contextual media after the viewer clicks on a hotspot or reaches a time trigger. Overlays can include text, images, calls to action (CTA), maps, audio/visual prompts, and more.
- Time triggers are ideal if you’d rather not leave potential interactions to chance. You can trigger events to happen in the video at a specific time without the viewer needing to click or hover over the content. The most common use for this is opening overlays.
- Branching is arguably the coolest method of interactive video because it allows viewers to jump around the video in a “build your own adventure” style. You can take viewers down different paths of watching the video, depending on what choices they make with your interaction options.
The use of these techniques, either standalone or using more than one in the same video, is what makes videos interactive. They give the viewer the choice to take the video in a new direction compared to just watching the video from start to finish.
Types of interactive video
Now let’s dive into the different types of interactive video that you can use to create a unique experience for viewers that not only engages them but also boosts brand awareness.
If you want to entertain (and potentially reward) your audience, creating a fun quiz can be the way to go.
By using quizzes that are relevant to your brand, you can educate your audience while keeping them entertained and engaged. For example, spice things up with an interactive video quiz that offers viewers a chance to win a prize or discount on your brand’s products or services. This can be a fun way to create a buzz and boost engagement with your audience.
“Build your adventure”
Remember the hype around Black Mirror’s “Bandersnatch” episode? If not, it was a feature-length Netflix show where viewers could make decisions for the main character at key moments that lead to a specific ending based on those choices.
As a marketer, you can recreate this level of engagement with branching storylines that create a “Build your adventure” video. By allowing viewers to choose their own path and create their own adventure, these videos create a sense of personal connection and excitement, making the audience feel like they’re part of the journey. For example, you can create product demos that allow viewers to choose from pre-set paths, depending on their goals, and explore the features of a product.
A little easier on the technical side, creating a shoppable video can be just what your marketing strategy needs to promote new (or resurrect old) products.
Shoppable videos use the Hotspot technique mentioned earlier to create a clickable element in the video that leads to a product page for people to check out.
Using the same techniques as the shoppable videos, you can also create educational interactive videos about your brand or wider industry.
This type of interactive content can be used for video tutorials or for employee training and onboarding programs. You can embed checkpoints to ensure viewers are engaging and retaining the information, plus include supplemental material for folks to watch on their own time.
And instead of snoozefest PowerPoints, spice up your presentations with interactive videos. It makes for a more fun and engaging way to teach complex information.
Why you should include interactive videos in your marketing strategy
As a marketer looking for the best, most effective way to make an impact with your messaging, interactive video is game-changing. It may require a little more work and effort than traditional videos, but the payoff is oh-so-worth it.
You’ll reap the full benefits of data collection. You’ll also see higher conversion rates thanks to more engaging, memorable videos that your audience can’t wait to share on social media.
Better data collection
Interactive videos are more than just a visual treat; they’re a valuable source of data. Interactive video tools help you track viewer behavior in real-time, including which parts of the video are being watched, skipped, or rewatched and which interactive elements viewers are engaged with. This information gives you valuable insights into viewer behavior and preferences that you can use to optimize your marketing strategy and improve targeting.
Furthermore, interactive video lets you collect viewer data, such as contact information, survey responses, and preferences, that you can use to inform your future marketing efforts.
Higher conversion rates
Engage, click, convert! Interactive elements such as quizzes, product demos, and calls to action guide viewers toward a desired action — making a purchase, filling out a form, or signing up for a newsletter.
This improves conversion rates as viewers are more likely to take action after watching an interactive video. In fact, interactive video has a click-through rate of about 11%, compared to less than 1% of click-throughs on YouTube annotations and Google Ads.
Linear videos, by nature, encourage a passive viewing experience, while interactive videos offer a more engaging and immersive user experience. Interactive elements such as branching storylines and clickable hotspots grab viewers’ attention and keep them engaged in a way that traditional videos cannot.
Interactive video ads are 32% more memorable than traditional video. That’s because it engages viewers on multiple levels, including visual, auditory, and participatory.
Viewers are more likely to remember and retain information presented in an interactive video due to the active participation and engagement required. For marketers, that means interactive videos can help boost brand awareness and recall.
Increased social sharing
Interactive videos that are optimized for social media platforms make it easy for viewers to share the content across multiple channels. And if you’ve taken advantage of the features available to you with interactive video, your viewers can’t resist sharing your content.
The result is increased reach and exposure, which makes interactive videos more effective as a marketing tool.
So now you know what interactive video is and how using it can benefit your marketing strategy, how do you make one? The next section provides a step-by-step tutorial.
How do you make an interactive video?
There are a number of interactive video makers available on the market. However, if you want an all-in-one video-creating, sharing, and storing platform, Vimeo is hard to beat. This tutorial will show you how to make interactive videos using the Vimeo video editing suite.
At the moment, these tools are only available to Vimeo Enterprise users.
- Log into Vimeo or create a new account. Once logged in, head over to your video library where you can either upload a new video or open up an existing video in the editor.
- Once you have opened the editor, you’ll see the Interactivity button under the Advanced settings option on the right-hand side of the editor.
- Clicking on the Interactivity button takes you to the new Interactive studio where you can insert the interactive elements we explained earlier.
- You can add a Hotspot or Time Trigger element to the video by using either the pane on the right of the video preview or by using the timeline editor below the preview. You can upload your own images or choose from a selection in the Vimeo library.
- When adding a new element, you can have it “stick” to an object or open on a particular segment of the screen.
- You can also use Time Triggers to build on the “branching” technique we mentioned earlier by giving the viewers the option to skip to a relevant segment of the video with the click of a button.
- With each element you add, you can preview the animation before adding them to the video. Once you’re happy, you can click the blue check/tick mark in the side-panel editor.
That’s it! Once you’ve added all the interactive elements you want, you can preview the whole video before leaving the interactive studio. Once back in the main editor, you can choose to share the video to social media, copy the video link, or get the embed code to place on a webpage.
Game-changing examples of interactive video
So now you know just how easy it can be to create an interactive video with Vimeo, how about some inspiration? Here we’ll show you some awesome examples of interactive videos with a little explainer of why they’re so great.
Nespresso is a world-famous coffee brand. It produced the above interactive video to promote its Nespresso Vertuo range of coffee machines and associated products.
The video has both Hotspots and Time Triggers that help create this “build your adventure” style of navigation. What makes this particular example great is how easy Nespresso makes it to choose a path by making the interactive elements very large.
The next example is from the tech support company Asurion. In this interactive video, the host takes you through another “build your adventure” type video in the style of a quiz, that takes you through to a shoppable end page.
There are a ton of interactive elements in this video, and what makes it special is how engaging it is without being overwhelming (you don’t have to click on everything to keep going).
Both of these examples show you how you can use interactive video in creative, yet on-brand ways to help liven up your marketing efforts.
Tips to make your interactive videos pop
When creating an interactive video, keep these tips in mind to ensure an engaging and user-friendly experience.
Storyboard, storyboard, storyboard
If you’re planning a more complex interactive video (like a branching storyline), then dedicate some time in the pre-production stage to storyboard your idea. This will help you understand exactly how many storylines you’ll be pursuing.
When planning, remember that too many options can be too much of a good thing. “The simplest, cleanest experiences are the ones that gain the most interaction,” says Jack Brodie, managing director at Colada Creative. “Opt for two decisions at the end of each branch.” Keeping it simple will help your viewers navigate through your content and make your production day much easier.
Hold your takes for longer than usual
For any videos with overlays or hotspots, it’s good to hold your shots a bit longer than you might normally. This will allow viewers to read any text on the screen or take the action you’d like them to take.
Consider your framing
Depending on the profile of your overlays or hotspots, you might want to consider where the subject of your video sits in your frame.
If a large overlay will unfurl on the left side of the screen, frame your subject further off to the right to make your post-production a breeze. “This will help you make sure that they don’t clash with the person or objects in the frame,” adds Jack.
“The beauty of interactive is the spectrum of what you can do, from shoppable video to overlays, to the analytics.”Jack Brodie, Managing Director at Colada Creative
Make it shareable and promote it
Interactive videos need to be accessible and shareable — aka hosted on a website or Vimeo page — to work at their full capacity. That means you’ll want to leverage marketing channels like social and email to drive people to the full interactive experience.
We recommend creating GIFs or short, looping video assets to show off the interactive abilities of your video. “Show people your video is interactive from the very start,” notes Jack. “Not many people even know you can click on a video. So that’s something we like to show people even in promotional images.”
Review your performance
You’ve dreamed up a video, added your chosen interactive elements, and unleashed it upon the world. But are people actually engaging with it?
Vimeo’s reporting and analytics go beyond standard video metrics to reveal super granular insights. You can see where and when your viewers clicked on different hotspots or overlays, check your shopping metrics, and more. Better insights = better learnings, which means better videos for you and your viewers.
What’s the definition of interactive video?
Interactive video is a type of video that allows the user to actively engage with the content they see. They contain clickable elements that either take the user to another part of the video or to another webpage altogether.
What are examples of interactive videos?
Some examples of interactive videos include quizzes, “build your own adventure”, shoppable videos, and educational videos. These types of videos use interactive elements like Hotspots and Time Triggers to create an interactive experience.
What is a shoppable video?
A shoppable video is a type of interactive video that allows the viewer to click on a highlighted product in the video, which takes them straight to the product page.
Is Interactive video worth it?
Interactive video creates 66% more engagement. This can help increase brand awareness and conversion rates. Additionally, it enables better data collection, allowing for insights into viewer behavior and helping to optimize future videos and marketing campaigns.
Is Vimeo interactive?
Vimeo Enterprise customers are able to create interactive videos with the all-new interactive studio. With Vimeo’s interactive tools, you can create engaging and interactive videos that provide viewers with a more immersive experience. Vimeo also offers analytics tools to track viewer engagement and measure the performance of interactive videos.
Want more engagement? Go interactive
Adding interactive elements is ultimately an easy method of getting viewers to engage more with your content. However, in the right hands, they can also be a powerful lead generation tool—think targeted product recommendations based on information the viewer has chosen to click through.
Interactive videos might have seemed like science fiction a few decades ago. But now creating interactive videos is easier than ever thanks to tools like Vimeo. What’s more, your marketing team can put one together in mere minutes.
Ready to give it a try?
Originally published June 8, 2022. Updated on May 10, 2023.