This past year, YouTube announced its more than 2 billion hits per day, a clear indication that online video viewership is increasing at an exponential rate. As such, marketing and advertising professionals are looking for new, innovative approaches to capture the mass audiences of consumers gravitating towards online video.
Interactive Clickable Video:
We've all seen lower-third banners and pre-roll ads integrated in video, but only recently are we experiencing the adoption of clickable video and its relevance to directly monetizing video content especially for e-tailers. Clickable video uses a moving hot-spotting technique which allows the viewer to roll over, click, and purchase a product while watching a video, even as it moves within the video. As this technology becomes more readily available, brands are implementing this innovative solution to extend their ability to interact with customers. Currently, adoption is slow because most are doing it all wrong.
To maximize the benefits of a clickable video campaign, I have created a few guidelines to help avoid the pitfalls of clickable video. By properly engaging, educating, and retaining your audience through to the point-of-sale, one can reap the rewards of this emerging technology.
Engage – Create Content With Clickability In Mind
Video is the perfect format to engage viewers. It's passive, enjoyable, and easy for audiences to absorb. Most users will assume, by default, the video is a lean-back experience - meaning they push play and watch. For clickable video, we want the user to lean-forward and interact with the video. The trick is to package your content in a way that provides your viewers this unique experience by educating first thereby allowing them to interact. One of most common pitfalls is repackaging existing material, like a commercial, and making it clickable. The problem is that even after you make the in-video-objects clickable, you are still serving the consumer the same thing, a commercial, which now just happens to be clickable.
If clickable video is to serve its purpose – to engage and drive sales – then the content needs to be created with hot-spotting technology at the forefront of development. Content creators need to think of clickable video as the canvas of a portrait and not the frame.
When we implemented our solution, the ConciseClick Player, for Mattel, we created the content knowing the video was intended to be clickable. We wanted parents to be able to watch branded characters on screen with their kids, enabling them to easily click on a character in the video and buy the toy their children adore. The solution is designed to be simple and convenient for consumers, and drives sales for Mattel.
Educate – Let Them Know It's Clickable
Another major pitfall, that can be easily corrected, is not identifying the video as clickable. Getting back to my point about educating, it's unclear whether companies believe this is unnecessary, expensive, or just perhaps forgot about the need to properly identify the video as clickable- but the fact that some viewers are not aware is just a flawed sales proposition. To educate the viewer, one must create a "nudge,” which can take shape in the form of an icon, placard, or picture that let's consumers know the video is clickable.
There are a number of ways companies can choose to "nudge" their audience. At ConciseClick, we generally like to have in-video characters or talent explain the concept to the audience, before the main content of the video even begins. Again, this requires content creators to develop the content with clickability in mind.
Retain – Don't Disrupt the Viewer's Experience
A third pitfall that diminishes the effectiveness of clickable video campaigns is interrupting the viewers experience. Companies extending their brand through clickable video ultimately use it as a way to redirect viewers to a product landing page where they can purchase an item. This method is disruptive, and takes the viewers attention away from the video all together by sending them to a different website.
Our approach to retain the viewer is to continue to play the video even after an icon is clicked. Only when a viewer clicks the "Buy-it!" button are they redirected to a product landing page and removed from their experience. In other platforms, the video is stopped after any click and the viewer is forced to click play, again, to continue finish digesting the content.
A good example of an inefficient and disruptive clickable video is a music video. Although it might be fun to hover over and follow your favorite musician with your mouse, it only takes one click for the music to stop and for the viewer to be served with a pop-up window selling an obscure item that may be not be compelling.
Clickable Video - Deliver Compelling Reason for Use
Hopefully, these guidelines offer insight to effectively integrate clickable video into your brands e-commerce initiatives. As this concept continues to grow, it will be exciting to see the evolution of this technology and the new ways it will deliver an interactive sales experience to mass audiences of engaged consumers.
About our Guest Expert: Nick Alt
Nick Alt is the owner and founder of Clear-Media - an interactive marketing consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA. Since 1999, Nick has developed Clear-Media into an innovation incubator for interactive and new-media video content. In 2007, Nick used his expertise in online video and interactive marketing to develop ConciseClick™, a web video technology product, which helps brands dramatically improve their online customer engagement and sales through interactive online video. His company excels at developing engagement strategies, original video content, and new media technologies for clients including Macy's, Mattel, Estee Lauder, Gerber, Hilton Hotels, Kaiser Permanente, Seventeen Magazine, and Union Bank.