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How to Make Your Online Video as Interactive as the Web Itself

Personalized, interactive video experiences, make video more like the web, and in some ways better.

Until the last few years, there was linear video, and there was the web, and the two were separate and distinct. Video was considered highly effective in many ways, with studies showing video content recall at 95% vs. 10% recall of that same content as text. Meanwhile the web was a clickable, take-me-wherever-I-want-to-go adventure, where eyeballs could readily divert a thousand different directions--away from the content where it could enable a desired behavior change or conversion action, or be directly monetized.

Enter personalized, interactive video experiences, making video more like the web, and in some ways better.

We all know that moving pictures and sound drive an emotional response that, except for live interactions, cannot be replicated in its effectiveness. Interactivity adds value beyond that by providing a rewarding and relevant user experience, and a rich set of audience insights. More importantly, with traditional online video, capturing actionable insights is a gaping hole that web teams are only starting to realize, then address through interactivity.

As SaaS-based platforms emerged to enable non-video editing professionals to use interactive features–including corporate web teams, and agency and internal creatives–interactive video platforms have become this year’s Swiss army knife.

The Stats Tell the Story

Interactive video is proven to engage prospects and deepen their commitment to a brand with measurable impact on results.

Reports from KISSMetrics show that in-video calls to action, CTAs (Figure 1, below) can perform up to 4X better than traditional CTAs.

Figure 1. Example of a call-to-action (CTA) at AARP Academy

Companies benchmarking interactive video campaigns are reporting an average 50% increase in video viewing time compared to non-interactive videos. “Activated users”—those who have previously interacted with the content—consume more video and are more likely to click on CTAs in subsequent sessions.

The application of interactive video in business spans marketing, sales, customer service, training and even employee communications. In this article, we’ll look at five examples of how brands are putting them to work.

B2C Retail Behavioral Data, at Scale

Since interactive video lets video creators present new elements to a user at different times in the video, sophisticated content producers can examine timing and placement data in addition to audience segment data to better understand conversion and outcomes. For example, one of the world’s largest home improvement retailers struggled to understand consumer response to a library of 15,000+ product videos. They found that by using a template from their interactive video platform ( to add a simple like/dislike button to each video, the digital experience team could quickly obtain data on the sentiments of more than 12 million viewers.

Adding this like/dislike button enabled the retailer to compare the effectiveness of in-house content to content provided to them by manufacturers, ranking top-performing and least-performing content. Adding such simple interactive elements positioned them to guide both internal and manufacturer-partner marketing teams on improvements to better serve site visitors and optimize their path to purchase.

How-To Videos and Explainers

How-to videos are increasingly popular in enabling self-service customer support. A Fortune 500 clinical diagnostics firm used interactivity in how-to videos to walk the consumer through key steps in using its patient portal for accessing lab results ordered by a physician, forwarding results to other physicians, and viewing lab data online or from a mobile device. Portal adoption has been rapid, but consumers often got stuck in seemingly simple steps that may lead to them missing out on accessing their results or led to them to require phone support.

By adding PDF downloads in videos explaining how to get help logging in, and how to get lab results, the firm’s small internal agency team was able to provide consumers with the ability to access directions without leaving the video itself (Figure 2, below).

Figure 2. How-to video enabling better customer support

The addition of a clickable CTA within the video for the firm’s advanced patient portal option led to greater awareness and traffic for that newer offering. Every user interaction provided the firm with rich behavioral insights to improve consumer engagement and ultimately sales. Prior to adding interactivity, the firm had zero metrics on where consumers were getting stuck–leaving improvements to guesswork.

User Community Marketing

HubSpot Academy offers online courses and free tools to help people all over the world learn how to market, sell, and grow an inbound business, with video figuring prominently. The firm creates a HubSpot Academy Monthly Update video with 60-second video interviews featuring a half-dozen HubSpot team members, screen captures, and “click here” captions in a single presentation. The monthly updates garner thousands of views each month and are central to HubSpot’s focus on driving user engagement and community.

HubSpot uses interactive features to streamline the viewer’s journey through the multi-faceted content (Figure 3, below) with navigational chapter menus, speeding users’ attention to exactly what they need or want to know. Chaptering provides links to specific segments of the video so that users can instantly skip to that portion of the video without searching or watching the entire video.

Figure 3. HubSpot Academy Monthly Update added navigational chapter menus.