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Using Interactive Video to Spur Engagement and Capture Metrics

In the video production business the primary goal is to tell a client's story By Michael Castellano

Video is a highly efficient way to communicate with audiences because it is personal, immediate and delivered on demand. Company representatives who are researching products and services online clearly prefer video: A recent Forbes article noted that almost 60% of business professionals said they would watch a video first before reading the text on the same page. But it's important to recognize that not all video messaging strategies are created equal.  

In the video production business, the primary goal is to tell a client's story in a comprehensive, compelling way that draws in viewers and holds their attention. Whether it's educational content or a sales video, there are key message points to convey and a call to action to deliver. But putting together a video for a large, diverse audience always involves a certain amount of guesswork because each viewer brings different needs and expectations to the experience.



When I ran a video production company, it was always a challenge to balance getting the clients' whole message out with the need for brevity. My customers often struggled with prioritizing message points for diverse audiences. In thinking about that challenge, I realized that the ideal solution would be to make a video presentation more like a conversation. In a conversation, both parties have some control over the flow, and as each party learns more about the other, the conversational flow varies in response to individual factors.

A similar dynamic can be created by breaking a long-form video presentation down into component parts and then allowing the viewer to choose which one to view first and make subsequent content selections in an interactive way. This approach lets viewers zero in directly on the content they're most interested in, which improves the chances that they'll stay engaged for a long period of time.

It also turns the process of viewing videos into an interaction: Viewers create their own adventure by choosing segments to view, and if the publisher maximizes the engagement factor in each video by including invitations to explore related topics, the experience can feel very much like a two-way conversation. 

But the conversational aspect doesn't end with the viewer receiving information in the order he or she chooses: With the right platform, the organization that publishes the video can capture analytics that provide powerful insights into viewer drivers and video effectiveness. In a sales or educational context, a real-time record of every viewer response can be an incredibly powerful tool, giving companies data they can use to tailor a follow-up response from a sales rep or trainer, trigger an email or flag a contact in an integrated CRM database.

Using bite-sized video segments that allow viewers to drive the messaging experience and then tracking the results to refine messaging and improve training is already a reality for many organizations. Companies are currently using this strategy to engage and educate customers, gain access to analytics and qualified sales leads and deliver their message across all devices via a cloud-based platform.

The organizations that are incorporating interactive video into their messaging strategy are gaining a distinct competitive advantage with higher levels of viewer engagement and better insights into audience preferences. They are also blazing a new trail at the intersection of technology and communications.

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Michael Castellano is a serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and a repeat nominee for Ernst and Young's "Entrepreneur of the Year" award. He Founded and leads engajer, a sophisticated online platform that communicates complex and rich content in a personal, easily digestible way. By displaying short bite-sized video bursts in an interactive manner, viewers "choose their own adventure" to quickly zero in on the content that interests them most. Michael graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in mass communication and was appointed as a United States Senate Page for the 107th Congress.
Related Keywords:interactive video, video production, ideo presentation, viewer metrics

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