With all the recent video industry chatter naturally focusing on finally cracking the areas of OTT and Addressable TV, it’s important not to forget that the digital arena also provides a plethora of other opportunities for video innovation. As we move slowly away from linear models, one highly notable change in the market has been the increased use of interactivity as a communication tool and engagement driver.

Offering choices to viewers is something that is growing massively in popularity, with Bear Grylls currently taking this to an advanced level on his new Netflix show, You vs Wild. On the advertising side of things, interactive video ads are a great way for brands to engage their consumers and communicate more effectively.

There are many factors that play a part in the accelerated adoption of such formats, and I endeavour to lay out the 5 most significant below.

#1 Today’s users

The internet has become a battleground to hold the attention of an often inattentive, easily distracted online society. Snackable content is one such solution to satisfy the masses, and this has been executed to great effect by some brands, particularly on social channels. On the wider web, it is interactive layers that are proving highly effective at capturing the attention and calling on users to engage with brands on a deeper level.

#2 Engagement

While a broad term, encouraging users to engage in an ad by gamifying it in some way, is an ideal way to communicate a brand message. Studies show that interactive video ads drive a 47% increase in the time spent with the ad, while tripling the amount of time an advertiser gets to spend with a consumer when they interact. (Source: Magna)

In this interactive branching ad from NIVEA, viewers are provided with the option to  choose the hairstyle that interests them most. Each style has its own set of products, which can immediately be purchased by clicking the tutorial videos.

#3 Brand Perception

The consumer’s perception of a brand is influenced by many things, and targeting savvy online users in the right way can be tricky territory. By creating interactive video ads, brands can effectively display their ability to innovate, and create a positive response even from the most cynical of consumers. Interactive video ads can boost a reputation, while at the same time driving a 9x higher impact on purchase intent. (Source: Magna)

#4 Brand Recall

Interactive video ads, done in the right way, are cool and innovative. More than that however, they achieve what every advertiser strives for – memorability. According to research, they are so memorable, that even if the user does not actually engage, they are still 32% more likely to remember the interactive ad compared to a linear ad. (Source: Magna)

This interactive ad is a multi-product ad from Dyson, advertising both the the Dyson v11 and the Dyson Pure Cool Me. The ad also makes use of the branded player approach, with numerous interactive images on each product demo.

#5 KPIs

Linear video ads have for years focused on the same metrics as a measure of KPIs, namely viewability and completions. While there is clear value in both, especially with branding campaigns, the true impact of the ad remains somewhat unknown. Being able to track how each user engaged with the various interactive elements provides a wealth of information not previously available for brands, while the KPIs can be defined on a case by case basis to match what the campaign really hopes to achieve.

What’s next for interactive video ads

Digital video advertising spend is increasing significantly year on year. The rate of growth is naturally reducing after the dam burst early in the last decade, but the market in Europe still continues to grow, likely to break the $10bn mark by 2023. (Source: Statistica).

As detailed above, interactive video ads are set to play a starring role in this growth, already making big moves from the relatively obscure and into the mainstream. Brands are paying attention to these trends, and we look forward to seeing some highly original and creative interactive video ads in 2020 and beyond.