What Is Interactive Video?

If you were handed the option for more control over a situation, wouldn’t you take it? Sure you would. That’s the power at the heart of interactive videos.

But what is it exactly? Interactive video transforms the linear storytelling arc by letting viewers take the story where they want it to go. The forms interactive video can take are limitless. You can give your viewers quizzes, control over viewing perspective, gamified content, clickable menus and interactive storylines that let them choose their own adventure.

No matter which form it takes, all interactive video shares the power to create with the audience. That’s different from traditional linear video, where the audience’s participation is limited to watching. Learn more by watching our interactive video about interactive video (yes, that just got really meta).

Why Is Everyone Talking About Interactive Video?

Interactive video offers a new world of opportunities. Not just creative possibilities. You can tailor content for different audiences, generate leads and better educate prospects. It’s also a way to capture valuable data about what people are most interested in based on audience behavior.

Interactive content routinely outperforms linear video on many metrics, including higher engagement, longer dwell time and better return on investment. In one study, interactive video had double-digit click-through rates of more than 11 percent. It also tends to be more memorable than linear video, because your interactions make you more connected to the content. In our survey, a whopping 78 percent of marketers reported success with interactive video. Whether you’re looking for more creative content or new ways to satisfy your data-driven team, interactive video succeeds at both.

Get Interactive With These Videos

We’ve put together nine of the best interactive videos we’ve ever seen to show you what’s possible… but don’t just watch them, interact with them to get the full effect. Play around with the controls, and have a little adventure.

Mended Little Hearts

mended little hearts

(Click here to interact with the video)

In this interactive animated video, we meet Max, a kid who was born with a heart condition. Max is okay now, thanks to Mended Little Hearts. But his world would not have been as bright without help. The video gives you control over the kind of world Max lives in. Depending on how much you pledge, the world Max lives in changes dramatically.

You start at the zero-donation level. This most basic environment is all white. Poor Max is stuck in this sterile environment unless he gets a donation. When you pledge a donation of $2 at the first level, you give Max a friend to play with, some animals and fun things to do together. Still the all-white environment is sorta bleak — until you donate at the next level of $5. Then Max gets some grass to play in, plus some family members and a picnic. At the $10 level, this grass becomes a vivid green color, as you color Max’s world brighter with donations. At the $20 level, Max gets his own “Game of Thrones”-style direwolf. His world becomes even brighter and sunnier. The final frame lands back on the real-life Max and his family. He’s who you’ll be saving with your donation.

The interesting thing about this video is how clearly they tied the visual metaphor of being able to change a child’s world to donation levels. Once you’ve interacted with this video, you feel the power you have to change one child’s life.

Deloitte

deloitte interactive video

(Click here to interact with the video)

When thinking about whether you want a work at a company or not, culture is often a high priority. But culture isn’t an easy thing to describe. It’s about as exciting as describing a mission statement. Culture is better felt than picked apart in bullet points. This video “Will You Fit Into Deloitte” takes you through a series of etiquette snafus and moral conundrums. By the end, you’ll better understand whether you’ve got what it takes to join the Deloitte team.

In one scenario, you’ve got to pick the right gift for a colleague you just met. What do you do? In another you’re brought into a client meeting, and a gust of wind sweeps your presentation notes away. What do you do? Or how do you deal with a malfunction in the copy room? (Hint: The answer is not run away.) This video shows the value of asking for help and other values Deloitte holds high.

If you make the wrong move in one of these situations, you’re met with a mildly humiliating thumbs down — and the chance to redeem yourself. This video gamifies the recruitment process by scoring your reactions to scenarios, which would be pretty dull to explain. The results of this interactive video? On YouTube, it outperformed linear video for Deloitte. The video also garnered noteworthy social buzz and average viewing times of more than four minutes.

Honda

honda interactive video

(Click here to interact with the video)

The Honda Civic is the ultimate family car. It also happens to make a great getaway vehicle, as we learn in this interactive video from global ad agency Wieden + Kennedy. The video they created for Honda is entitled “The Other Side,” and it’s a simultaneous experience of dual realities for one Honda driver. In one reality, he’s a carpool dad picking his kids up from school. The kids are still wearing masks from a school event as they hop into the backseat of the car dad’s driving. In the alternate reality, the dad is a lead-footed getaway driver. His backseat passengers are fellow thieves in an art heist racing to escape.

We flash to the alternate reality every time we hold down the letter “R” (a reference to the Honda Model featured, the Civic Type R). Frequent prompts pop up on the screen to “press and hold the R to see the other side.” These prompts are smartly run at regular intervals throughout the video. These flashes of alternate realities force you to ponder if you’re more of a carpool-parent or the getaway-driver type. In this Honda video, you can be both.

The results from this interactive video were dramatic for Honda. People spent an average time of more than three minutes with the video, which is particularly high for the automotive industry. Website traffic for the Honda Civic doubled during the campaign.

Nicky Case

nicky case video

(Click here to interact with the video)

“So, I always used to get anxiety,” explains narrator Nicky Case at the beginning of this animated explainer video. From there, the video shows us that neurons are what give you a happy brain or an anxious brain. It’s all based on connections your brain makes. The same connections that you make while interacting with neurons in the video.

The narrator continues describing his own experience with anxiety. He says he used to be afraid of a lot of things, from being seen as a failure to holes in the ground. He also goes on to explain advanced concepts like Hebbian learning. Yet he keeps them all grounded with interactive examples of neurons that you have to take part in — otherwise the video won’t progress.

You learn how your brain works with these gamified interactions. If you don’t connect enough neurons or make the connections quickly enough, you’re forced to do them over. Sure, it’s a game, but there’s a deeper reason behind it. If you didn’t understand there are ways to make new paths for neurons in your brain — ways to make yourself less neurotic — now you do. Fascinating!

Bob Dylan

bob dylan interactive

(Click here to interact with the video)

Bob Dylan is one of those iconic artists some people can never get enough of. This interactive video lets you flip through channels of people lip syncing Bob Dylan’s classic song “Like a Rolling Stone.” Like your Dylan with a little anime? There’s a channel for that. You can get your Dylan on with tennis players in the middle of a game. Check out newscasters lip syncing in between breaking news. You can watch home shopping channel hosts gush over a dustbuster while lip syncing. All in all, the video has more than 125 of these wacky channels. There’s even a faux Bachelor channel with tight-skirted bachelorettes ready to scratch each other’s eyes out and a hot tub.

It’s a Dylan lover’s dream. Since the video was produced in conjunction with the release of a new Dylan box set, it’s viral content that practically shares itself. Anyone who loves Dylan is going to want to talk about it and pass it on. The channels are so surprising and offbeat, you can’t help but poke through the channels to see more (even if you’re not a die-hard Dylan fan). The video smartly opens with instructions. Once you hit play, the video opens on a quick flip through some channels before the song begins. It’s important to remember that people need guidance on how to use interactive videos. This video gets it, in every way. The results? This interactive gem racked up almost 1 million views in just its first day of going live!

Lifesaver

lifesaver interactive video

(Click here to interact with the video)

Many people fail to become trained or maintain their CPR training, even if it means a life could be saved. In this interactive explainer video for Lifesaver, we’re shown the lifesaving power of CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. The video opens by asking, “Would you know what to do?” You then become part of the rescue when you click on any of the four scenarios for Jake, Rebecca, Harry and Peter. When you click on the story for each of these people, you’re quickly put into a life-and-death situation where you’re prompted to take action.

After you complete a CPR rescue, you’ll find out exactly how good your CPR timing is. The video times your simulated chest compressions (that you make by hitting a key on your keyboard). Additionally, there’s a scoreboard with your correct answers. The speed of your responses in the rescue is also rated.

The story closes by describing the patient’s hospital treatment and recovery. You can become surprisingly involved in these stories within a few minutes. Interacting with these people is what makes the connection more powerful. If you had been sitting on the sidelines and not helping “treat” these patients, it’s doubtful whether you’d be as invested.

This video is firing on all cylinders. It’s highly interactive, emotional and gamified. And it couldn’t be for a better cause. For its many accomplishments, the video has won a Webby Award and an E-Learning Award, and was even nominated for a BAFTA.

LaCantina Doors

lacantina

(Click here to interact with the video)

LaCantina Doors manufactures folding door systems that allow for large openings to the outdoors. Instead of a standard sliding door, it’s possible to install panels of sliding doors that reach 40-foot, even 60-foot openings. It’s a high-end home product that requires many design considerations. The complexity and high price point of the product makes it ideal for interactive video.

LaCantina approached their interactive content by dividing it into sections: Operation, Configuration, Threshold, Glass, Hardware & Finishes, Screening and Unique Applications. They explain how the interactive video works at the beginning. It’s an important reminder of how much we can take for granted when introducing people to new experiences. This is especially true for older audiences (and the less digitally native among us).

In some ways, this is more of an interactive menu with the option to view more about parts of the product you’re interested in. But throughout the explainer videos, there’s a “Switch View” option. This gives you more control over what you’re seeing than watching a linear video. When you click the “Switch View” icon, it changes the angle of the camera or the scene content. The scenes are all attractively shot, and there’s a high-end feel to the production value. In terms of engagement, it would have been interesting to move the sliding doors through interactive controls. Clickable design options would’ve also made it more user-controlled… but that’s just us being super picky. Still, this business explainer video is likely to make waves for LaCantina as the “first interactive video” series in their industry.

Allianz Global Investors

allianz interactive

(Click here to interact with the video)

Faced with challenges in recruiting, Allianz Global Investors opted to create an interactive video targeting millennials. They chose the theme of a portfolio manager’s first day on the job. At the beginning of the video, we’re greeted by our designated “onboarding buddy” in the lobby of Allianz headquarters. This cheerful woman walks us around the building and through a couple of typical job duties, such as buying and selling stocks.

As our orientation continues, the tour is interrupted by emergencies a real-life portfolio manager might encounter. We’re given interactive options such “buy a stock” or “sell stock” — there’s even the option to run away! Depending on what you choose, you’ll lose or gain points. (Spoiler alert: Running away isn’t going to score you any points.) After a few developments throughout the day and options to consult your colleagues, you have to choose the best stock to buy for the portfolio. Depending on what you choose, you’ll get a high or low score.

If you score higher, you may be more incentivized to work for Allianz. Conversely, Allianz may be able to weed out underperformers before they even get to the gate. More importantly, this explainer video gives Allianz the power to interest more recruits in a way that appeals to the millennial generation. They didn’t bore them with a linear business video. Allianz hooked these digital natives with navigable content and game-based scoring they crave.

Virtual Art Sessions

virtual-art-sessions

(Click here to interact with the video)

To introduce their 3D drawing app, Tilt Brush, Google commissioned six acclaimed artists to paint in real time using their software. At the beginning of this interactive video, you’re given the option to interact normally or to use VR, if you have a device. Then you’re taken to a menu of six artists, ranging in disciplines from sculpture and street art to fashion and illustration. Once you choose an artist, you’re taken into a session. In each of these sessions, we find the artist is in a blank, black space. Soon, the work begins to take shape as the artist starts moving around and making their first brush strokes.

You’re given a choice of speed of watching the artist work, but the real kicker is the ability to alter the perspective of the artist in action. Even if you don’t have a VR set, you get to experience the art in three dimensions with the 360-degree views from every angle. There are also links to traditional video interviews with each artist, which you can navigate to from inside each artist session. But you’ll hardly want to once you get caught up in zooming around the artistic works from every angle. This immersive exploration into the artistic process can be addictive.

Driving Success With Interactive Video

Interactive video offers a new world of options that turns typical marketing on its head, and puts the user in control, resulting in more captured data; higher engagement levels; and better ROI. As we’ve seen in the examples here, it’s particularly effective in a number of areas, including:

  • Outreach: Donations and campaigns often succeed on the emotional quality of the appeal, interactive video increases engagement and connection.
  • Teaching: Give important subjects, like CPR, a big boost with interactive questions and user controls.
  • Recruiting: Competing for top talent, especially for millennials, is driving recruitment strategies to new heights with interactive video.
  • Customer education: Educating consumers is notoriously expensive. Get better results and ROI with content that’s informative and entertaining.

That’s all for this round up of interactive videos, but we’ve got more where those came from. Check out these interactive videos for even more fresh ideas.

Considering your first interactive video? To get the best interactive video tip and tricks, be sure to pick up our essential free guide: Getting Started with Interactive Video.