Tips for planning and executing interactive videos, as well as how to work with influencers and what trends and tools to look out for.
In the "Engaging Customers with Interactive Video" panel on day three of ClickZ Live New York, panelists Leslie Hall, president of digital agency Iced Media, and Erika Trautman, chief executive (CEO) of interactive video firm Rapt Media, provided tips for planning and executing interactive videos, along with examples of successful campaigns with these components.
According to Hall, it's important to provide a consistent interactive video experience across all platforms.
In order to do so, she said brands should optimize site speed on video landing pages and make sure there aren't too many heavy assets or images that take time to load.
Hall also recommended introducing social share buttons and trackable links within videos.
"Once [the video] is shared into a news feed environment, you want to make sure every piece of information you need the consumer to know is incorporated into that asset so they're getting the full story when experiencing it outside the native environment," Hall says.
Brands should also integrate page share and play button features within video and develop page-level content for small screens first before optimizing for each channel and use.
To better support SEO, Hall says brands should integrate high-value keywords, phrases, and long-tail keywords into their video files. They should also tag video assets with desired keywords into top languages to optimize content for local and global search.
In addition, brands need to choose their thumbnails wisely, as they will auto catalog into Google Image Search based on video titles, she says. They also need be sure to name blog level video posts consistently with video titles, which will allow for multiple rankings in the same search for videos, blogs, and images.
And, finally, Hall says brands should invest in individual Google+ pages at the country level with Web integration to optimize for local search and paid search.
When working with notable Internet personas, brands should make sure to identify influencers with global reach and appeal that also have an authentic tie to the core brand ethos, Hall says. In other words, they should pick an individual who speaks about or shares content that really resonates with what the brand stands for.
Hall also recommends brands actually co-create content with these partners rather than simply asking influencers to distribute branded content.
"A blogger-brand partnership where the influencer is sharing the brand's content on behalf of the brand comes across as less authentic," Hall says. "We encourage our clients to co-create so both parties have a hand in the final asset."
In addition, Hall says brands should develop hashtag-powered content archives around key calls to action because influencers have the ability to drive said action.
"Identify what it is you want the consumer to do once they engage," Hall says. "By creating a number of calls to action, you can create a robust, searchable brand archive of that material."
Brands who rely on influencer partners for distribution and amplification should make sure assets are optimized for additional platforms. That means turning video assets into GIFs for Google+ or Tumblr or into stop-motion videos for Instagram or Vine, Hall says.
For her part, Trautman addressed interactive video trends and what she called key use buckets.
Trautman's first bucket is shoppable videos that have the goal of driving sales. Shoppable videos get consumers excited about brands or products and then convert that excitement into purchases either by asking consumers to click out to a store or by including the ability to buy embedded directly into the video.
The second bucket is marketing, which is about getting consumers to engage with the brand story, spend time with the content, play, and get excited. According to Trautman, the metric that matters most is the total amount of time spent with the content.
She gave the example of a recruiting video from Deloitte for internships in New Zealand that used POV shooting to give potential applicants the ability to decide what they'd do in various scenarios. She also used the example of Philips, which wanted to get young men excited about electric razors in a video with one man and five beard choices. Trautman says the fascinating thing about the latter video was it had very strong viewing time on mobile - more than five minutes of viewing time on smartphones and more than four minutes on tablets.
And Trautman's third bucket is training and education, which allow brands to create decision trees or interactive demonstrations with the goal of getting information to the viewer more efficiently and getting their attention.
No matter what bucket/trend a brand is going after, there are a number of tools they can use.
The first is video branching, which creates a choose-your-own-adventure-type scenario like the Maybelline #TheGlamourEye experience Iced and Rapt worked on together.
The second is clickable overlays, which are common in shoppable videos like the Coach Shoppable Look Book.
The third is social media based custom builds, which allow for more custom experiences when a user logs in via Facebook or the like and it pulls in details to create a unique experience for each user.
"You're immediately drawn into what's going to happen because they've personalized it and made you part of the story," Trautman says.
She also included the example of Pharrell Williams' 24 Hours of Happy music video that alters content depending what time of day viewers log into the video.
The video has good calls to action, including the ability to comment as well as share easily on Twitter and Facebook and download the song on iTunes, she says.
According to Trautman, the Maybelline #TheGlamourEye campaign incorporated a little bit of all of these features.
The campaign was for the global launch of Maybelline's Big Eyes double brush mascara.
"Our objectives were to make sure the benefits of the product were effectively communicated and that the campaign reflected the innovation of the product," Hall says. "[Our objectives were also] to make sure the asset [reflected] the technology and innovation in how it [was] communicated and [that the video was] something that really [supported] the core brand ethos in a way we [could] also educate consumers on how to use this state-of-the-art product."
Iced Media chose to showcase how the mascara is used to complete several trendy looks in the context of a makeup tutorial with beauty blogger Kelly Framel of the Glamourai.
"This recognized beauty blogger has a really built-in quality audience who also happens to be a fashion stylist and who personally embodies the idea that any look is not complete unless the makeup and outfit is put together in a strategic way," Hall says.
It was really important to show consumers how to use the dual brush, so the video incorporates key step-by-step tutorials within the context of a video asset with much more lifestyle content, she says.
Iced says it partnered with Rapt Media to create a modern take on choose your own adventure. The user comes into the video and Framel lets them go on a journey from day to night.
"Interactive video is more like thinking through a Web experience than a standard video experience," Trautman says.
In other words, because brands are asking viewers to participate, they must figure out where interactive components add value and where they create efficiency so viewers can find what they need faster. If the interactive element creates a distraction, take it out, Trautman says.
Brands also have to build and test the creative to see how things work. It must have a cadence that's pleasurable. And it must have distribution aligned to the campaign.
It's also a good idea to offer early hooks to get viewers on board and to keep them on board.
The video should also be easy to use. Viewers get annoyed if they want to go back and have to start all over from the very beginning, Trautman says.
As a result, the Maybelline video includes clickable overlays that take viewers to the site where they can make purchases and go right back to the video.
The video had more than 6 million earned impressions and a CTR 14 times higher than the industry average, she says.
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In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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