Has virtual reality stolen the spotlight from traditional online video? The answer is a sobering “yes,” but one holdout still remains in the battle for digital viewing supremacy—interactive video. While VR claims to have it all together, the alleged crowned prince of online media consumption isn’t without a handful of flaws. Now, we know that video is far from perfect, but there are still some perks to embracing traditional means over the next latest and greatest tech magazine endorsement. Online video has come a long way since its inception, but three categories stand out that separate the king from its underlings: it’s still the easiest, most affordable form of video marketing available, not to mention the interactive capabilities of today’s digital video is miles above what it used to be.

It’s Easy

When it comes to video—namely, online video marketing & advertising—traditional means stand apart from the rest for obvious reasons. Marketers and producers alike are already familiar with the current means of generating higher engagement among viewers. So by adding interactivity into the mix with platforms like Tivi, adapting to the newer technology is easier than it seems. Traditional video capturing equipment can be used with a Wi-Fi hookup and ta-da! You have your content. Then splice in some interactive elements into the mix using an in-platform production dashboard, either by editing the footage ahead of time or generating interactivity live during a webcast or presentation, and you’ve created a hassle-free interactive experience for your audience.

Leading online video platforms nowadays are allowing for more options within the software itself, eliminating the need for high-end production equipment or timely downloads and hard drive-sucking video files. The cloud makes video that much easier, and interactive video is no exception to this rule. Unlike virtual reality, which seeks to emulate a more game-like environment, the best thing about videos is the information presented in an engaging manner. With more social platforms like Instagram and Facebook utilizing video as a method of digital marketing, it’s never been easier to launch—and share—a video campaign with your followers.

It’s Affordable

Video marketing has historically been reserved for big brands with even bigger budgets, but in recent years video creation has become much more attainable for small businesses. According to Forbes, this shift is primarily “due to easy-to-use editing tools and apps.” Brad Jefferson, CEO of Animoto, stated that, “25% of consumers actually lose interest in companies that aren’t using video.” So platforms and content creators got smarter with their goods & services, dropped their prices and opened up a free-for-all. It’s no secret that the two biggest challenges facing businesses that wish to delve into the video space are time and money, but those stats are slightly skewed, and here’s why. Professional video doesn’t always have to be created by a marketing firm that charges thousands to produce a single piece of content. Rather, it can be created in-house in a matter of hours, or even minutes, at a fraction of the cost. Traditional content tops the fold, beating out VR with its costly headsets and 360-degree video, which requires specialized cameras to capture content versus a handheld mini cam or smartphone.

With apps like Periscope, video creation is literally a few clicks away. Social apps and platforms are driving down the cost of video production, while other standalone platforms are taking a different approach. Using embedding features and subdomains, online video is being taken to another level. Instead of relying on big-name providers like YouTube, in which brand customization is limited, videos can be inserted directly onto a webpage to drive up engagement or provided via Twitter with a tweeted link to an in-browser subdomain. The possibilities are expanding beyond the staples that marketers once knew and used religiously, and the cost of video trounces the rising costs of competitors in the VR space.

It’s Interactive

Although interactive video still represents new territory for many brands, is it really better than traditional content? All signs point to yes—with the ability to choose leading the charge for a better experience. According to an article from OnlineVideo.net, “the digital landscape is changing, with consumers being put in the driver’s seat.” Interactive video allows you to mine for deeper analytics and demonstrate ROI, all without having to make any major adjustments to your marketing strategy. If you’re already using video, implementing interactivity on top of it is a piece of cake (depending on the platform you’re using). Interactive video is streamlined—it’s linear and cohesive, driving user calls-to-action and higher CTRs. To read more about the Dos & Don’ts of Interactive Video Marketing, click here.

It’s safe to say that version 2.0 of online video is interactive video. Traditional means are still hanging on, but unless brands switch gears and adopt a more interactive strategy into their marketing scheme, it won’t last. VR is simply an overhyped trend, with 360-degree video lacking in content diversity. There’s no need to force consumers to go out and buy expensive headsets or specialty cameras when you can simply create a video on your phone and plug-in interactivity later.

(Originally published via LinkedIn Pulse on May 26, 2016)

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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.

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