Does interactive video use assist in brands’ product positioning? Yes. Does it help to further reach of said products? Again, yes. Video in brand marketing has been a common practice since the 1960s—what some refer to as the “golden age” of advertising, but now industry analysts are calling our current post-digital era the newgolden age for marketers. It’s not surprising, given our countless resources and the ability not only to produce a video, but also to incorporate interactive elements into the video itself. Forget Mad Men—even Don Draper would jump at the opportunity to use interactivity in brand advertising, because there’s literally no other avenue available that portrays the same appeal to product positioning as there is with an engaging video ad.

Today’s Drapers have since moved beyond magazines and newsprint. Now, they’re (literally) sticking their head in the “cloud,” tackling mobile- and desktop-based marketing and implementing new content strategies with online video and other methods of product promotion. TV commercials are now airing on multiple platforms besides just cable and satellite networks, along with interactive ads and other forms of content marketing. These mediums are designed to pop up on users’ screens whenever details of a product are even remotely mentioned. It’s almost as if brands are stalking their target audience on a digital level, but it’s far more complex than that. They’re not stalking you—they’re monitoring your demographic to find the best means of reaching your audience group, and online advertising giants like Google are developing the tools to do just that.

So let’s move beyond video ads and focus mainly on the interactivity part. Recently, interactivity has gone through a sort of “revival” in the tech space, with big players such as Facebook adding more interactive content to users’ newsfeeds. The social network recently made available its new 360-degree video format, allowing users to watch videos from any angle by clicking or tilting their mobile screen. Facebook made waves in the online video space when Disney & Lucasfilm used the new format to create an interactive preview for their upcoming movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But interactivity isn’t just incorporating virtual reality into a video. Augmented reality is an entire genre of its own, and while companies like YouTube continue to experiment with 360-degree video production, other mainstays are continuing the course with more traditional interactive elements.

Content Marketing is Key

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls the new video format a “new communication platform,” going on to discuss total immersion in the video sharing experience. But it’s not for everyone, and for those trying to boost their brand image using more standard methods, there’s good news. Video advertising for brands has been one of the most effective and scalable product awareness tools to-date, but it’s been known to be more costly with less-than desirable return-on-investment (ROI) at times. There’s a clear-cut answer to these issues—interactive video. Video of this magnitude has two key ingredients for success: memorability & measurability. Memorability affects how your customers engage with interactivity and your brand as a whole, while measurability affects your business and your team. You can read more on this subject matter here.

Get Creative with Video

Video doesn’t just create itself, and part of implementing a successful video marketing strategy is having a creative team to produce engaging content. For brands, this is especially important as a means of giving the product an additional edge. Social Timesbreaks interactive video down into three parts: click, swipe, & engage. It offers more than just product promotion by providing the opportunity for viewers to otherwise engage via call-to-action overlays, or through a series of overlay elements. Interactive video is only limited by what your imagination can conceive, and passive video is a thing of the past. More viewers today want to “do,” and be active versus just watching. The potential for brands to benefit is limitless, with interactivity driving video marketing performance and engaging new customers on all levels.

I can’t help but visualize old instructional films from the 90s, poorly edited with a narrator clearly reading from cue cards. The viewer or viewers would literally just sit there, open-mouthed with glazed over expressions fighting the urge to fall asleep. The content lacked any form of engagement whatsoever, and audience members were more so counting down to the end rather than paying the slightest bit of attention. Interactive video is setting a new standard for brands and placing them in a category above the rest. Brand content is still a dominant factor in video, and it always will be, but it’s not just about that anymore—it’s about deciding how consumers interact with it, setting product goals, and determining the best way to meet your target audience in the middle. The “here it is, now buy it” approach from the 60s just doesn’t have the same appeal anymore, and Draper has gone digital.

(Originally published via LinkedIn Pulse on September 30, 2015)


Max Greenwood is the manager & director of social media for Tivi: Truly Interactive Video, a radical new online video platform incorporating interactivity into live and on-demand video content.