Ask a marketer what makes a great digital experience, and odds are good that interactivity will top their list.
A digital ad that’s interactive is characteristically more engaging. It allows the viewer to actively participate in the experience, rather than watch passively like they do with TV.
An interactive ad is also more likely to boost awareness; one study from video platform Innovid found that engagement rates, completion rates, and awareness were all higher for interactive pre-roll ads than for their standard counterparts.
But what is interactivity, really? For years, the term was interchangeable with digital.
Online media was deemed interactive media, even though one was about the channel while the other describes the experience itself.
We’ve gotten better about calling digital like it is, but what constitutes interactivity remains relatively inconsistent. On paper, an interactive digital ad or tool is one that responds to a user’s actions.
That still leaves advertisers with countless choices for how to elicit participation.
Publishers, for example, are now investing in interactive features. But the level of interactivity can vary greatly, and describe anything from simple clickable images to multimedia features that react to the reader’s every move.
When it comes to interactivity in digital marketing, anything goes. That said, as consumers become more accustomed to these kinds of experiences, the future of digital interactivity lies in innovation.
The campaigns outlined below each tap digital technology to craft interactive experiences that are completely unique.
Both prove there’s plenty of potential left in this go-to technique for engaging consumers.
Coke Mini’s interactive story
Digital media provides marketers with the unique ability to immerse consumers in a brand narrative, and interactivity is key to telling a compelling story. Just ask Coca-Cola.
As part of the brand’s #ShareACoke campaign, and to complement its recent Coke Mini: Hulk vs. Ant-Man Super Bowl spot, Coca-Cola partnered with digital media company and interactive video developer Interlude.
The two built an innovative interactive version of the Coke commercial (viewable here) that features corresponding storylines.
When viewers click the screen, they go from the original Super Bowl spot to new, secondary video content of a man playing with Hulk and Ant-Man action figures in his home.
Users, Interlude says, can “Switch between the two parallel worlds to see the different ways he experiences clashes between his favorite childhood toys.” Doing so adds a whole new dimension to the ad.
The effect of toggling back and forth between the two videos is mesmerizing, and since the experience is entirely reliant on where and how often the viewer clicks the screen, virtually every viewing is unique.
Aside from the Coke Mini ad, Interlude also recently built a branded interactive experience for Smartwater.
Starring Jennifer Aniston, the ad allowed viewers to change the outcome of the story by making a series of selections – “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style – on the screen.
With an excess of branded content to choose from online, consumers are now looking for experiences that go beyond the norm.
Immersive video like this is a great way for brands to garner attention, while customization gives Internet users a chance to make the content their own.
Volkswagen’s functionality and fun
When it’s interactive, digital media can also help brands to showcase the characteristics and differentiating features of their products.
Volkswagen and agency Deutsch LA took this approach when they created “Unleash your Rrr”.
The project relied on consumers to create and record car sound effects that influenced the actions of a Volkswagen Golf R on the desktop screen.
Deutsch LA used artificial intelligence to analyze each user’s voice and translate it into the Golf R’s engine roar. Users then got to watch a customized video of the car on a racetrack, paired with their voice recording.
Aside from providing users with a memorable experience that evokes the nostalgia of childhood moments spent playing with cars, the tool highlights the increased horsepower and torque of the new Golf model.
Users are left with the impression that this is a car with muscle – and the desire to share the interactive experience with friends and other potential customers.
As we work to navigate consumers’ on-demand, cross-channel world, interactivity will be more important than ever.
Brands that push tech limits to give theirs power and purpose will surely come out on top.
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