October 1, 2014

9 Great Examples of Interactive Online Videos

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Viewing video online used to be such a passive diversion. Content would run from start to end, asking for no input from viewers besides pressing play, stop, pause, and track.

This one-way street is clearly outmoded in an era where customer engagement is a royal principle. As broadband technologies go faster and mobile operating systems mature, video connoisseurs are pushing the potential of their online products to the edge. They’re angling for user feedback more than passive attention.

9 Great Examples of Interactive Online Videos
Image credit: Venturebeat.com
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Consequently, consumers are growing accustomed to demanding interactivity of their videos, what with the increasing traction of HTML5, YouTube Annotation, and similarly hi-tech tweaks. With your permission, online videos nowadays can pull in your data to create more personalised experiences. Overlays on the content have grown beyond simple controls and share buttons; elements in the video itself can be used as clickable transitions to nonlinear story progressions.

Yes, online video is slowly becoming a sentient being. The following are some of the best interactive online videos to date:

Scrawled in black against a jaundiced background, the deck says it all: “The world’s first 24 hour music video.” 

In hindsight, this is yet another upshot of MTV vacating its original purpose and serving reality TV. The Webby Award-winning video for Pharrell Williams’ hit single, “Happy,” plays 24/7 on its own site—the ultimate dig at MTV enslaving itself to reality programming all day, all night.  Visitors to the site are treated to the moment in the video as it happens in their local time.

As Pharrell’s “Happy” demonstrates, the music video has indeed come a long way. The medium has thrived on YouTube and the interwebs since MTV’s exodus to Jersey Shore, teen moms, and teen wolves. 

Bob Dylan has crawled out of retirement long enough to catch this next evolution. Realising that his “Like a Rolling Stone” has no official music video, he has played catch-up by turning the folksy classic into an interactive piece. Spectators can choose from any of several lipsyncers, including home shopping sellers, Wall Street suits, and Drew Carey. 

Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure Books? The time for its video equivalent has come to pass. 

One of the pioneers in this concept is The Outbreak, an interactive short film about a group of survivors holing up at home amid a zombie apocalypse. The content branches out into different continuities, punctuated by decision points that dictate your survival. In a way, it’s a survival horror game, but with real actors. 

Zombies and interactive videos really dovetail. In 2013, Canadian pop starlet (and self-confessed gaming geek) Guinevere released a music video that let viewers choose weapons to slay the ravenous hordes. 

Fresh off the success of “The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek,” The New York Times is at it again, churning out interactive pieces by way of its revamped digital edition. “A Short History of the Highrise” is composed of four short films, enlivened by NYT’s vast media archive, that follow the millennia-old history of vertical human settlements.

With the demise of print, NYT is succeeding at being commercially viable, and it’s partly because of the collusion of journalism and online video production.

A woman grows distant from her husband. Her husband tries to save the relationship. Her mother and maintenance guy also butt in the dilemma. 

This makes for a good Emmy Award-winning plot, but it’s not on TV. It’s on the Net, specifically a Flash player. The story takes place across three screens, representing the points of view of the husband, maintenance guy, and mother. A very engaging experience. 

Here they go again! As if their linear YouTube videos aren’t creative and cute enough, rock band OK Go continues to push the possibilities of the promo video with this Google Chrome partnership. 

Ø Inside
Interactive films have a tendency to employ relatively unknown actors. This film begs to differ, wheeling in no less than Emmy Rossum and Disturbia director D.J. Caruso.

Inside follows Christina (Rossum) as she cries for help and tries to demystify, through a laptop, where she is being held captive. The conceit is an excuse for the character to interact, in ‘real time,’ with us through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Unfortunately, Inside has since vanished from the Net. 

This is a first-class model of online video advertising enhanced with interactive elements. In promoting their newest shaver, Philips created Designed to Play, a choose-your-own-story-path with beards and moustaches as decision points. The video toys with stereotypes but ultimately gets its point across. 

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Ä Conclusion
Online video has long transcended its association with TV programming. Whereas TV broadcasts are still largely passive and static, online video continues to diversify in the way of consumption. 

Videos on the Net have truly evolved from art installations to blank canvases for viewers to manipulate as they please. While marketers would want to preserve their vision, they would be missing a great opportunity by refusing to surrender their babies, as it were, to the imagination of users. 

If you are in the business of marketing, transfer your dollars to not just online videos, but interactive online videos. Give your potential customers a sense of control, if only over the quantity of content to take in. Such choices are growing imperative in the face of increasingly attention-deficit users. 

When used reasonably and artfully, interactive videos can enormously improve your SEO, engage consumers, meet investment goals, and, best of all, go viral. Customers don’t just want to play your videos. They want to play with your videos. 

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Author Bio:
 
Joel Mayer is an Australian freelance writer and blogger. He writes professionally and for fun across a wide range of niches. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and collaborates with few companies and writes reviews.

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