While we have recently highlighted the reasons why brands should adopt interactive video advertising as part of their digital strategy, the effectiveness of these innovative ad formats naturally varies based on the creative itself.

There is massive potential in what can be achieved with interactivity if done correctly. What is correct will differ based on the brand and the message, but I will endeavor here to detail some best practices for maximizing the performance of interactive video ads.

1. Use interactivity effectively

First and foremost, an interactive campaign must be created with the end user in mind. An interactive editor provides the tools to increase engagement rates and conversions, but the brand and the viewer must be carefully considered for it to be implemented effectively.

Adding interactive elements to a video ad creates possibilities to ‘gamify’ the experience and thereby engage the user in a way that linear video simply can’t. It’s important, given the limited time at hand to make an impact, that it is clear and easy for the user to interact with the video, without disturbing their viewing experience in a manner deemed annoying.

For example, make clear suggestions to the viewer to click or mouseover elements in the video by adding an animated element or create a campaign where the user is encouraged to make a choice which can be emphasized by the addition of a countdown/timer to the video.

2. To be engaging, it must first be relevant

With the various innovative interactive video formats, brands can tell their story in a more meaningful and personalized way, thereby creating a stronger and more memorable connection between the brand and the user. Studies have shown that regardless of if the user has interacted with the video, it is still 32% more memorable.

A common pitfall however, is interactivity for interactivity’s sake. Each and every interactive element added to a creative should serve a purpose that benefits the advertiser. For example, if a mouseover of an image enlarges said image, it must be because the particular image is somehow key to the campaign goals, and not ‘just because it can’.

A recurring performance trend with interactive video ads is that once the viewer engages once, the chances of a second engagement skyrocket, with the purchase intent greatly increased. This will only be the case when the engagement driver served a relevant purpose.

3. Use the assets on hand to boost time spent with the brand

Attention spans are shortening to the point where consumers are subconsciously blocking large volumes of information online. While video has long been the standard bearer for communicating a brand message, the explosion of digital video content is making it more difficult to attract and engage viewers.

With interactivity you can enhance the user journey by giving the user something they want to take their time to interact with. According to this study from Magna, interactive video ads drive a 47% gain in time spent with a brand when the user can interact with the ad.

The advice is therefore to use the assets at your disposal and provide the viewers with options that will keep them engaged. Whether that is displaying detailed analysis of car parts, outtakes or behind the scenes shots from movies, or just offering more choices for FMCG’s, think of ways to include any assets that may help keep viewers interested.

4. Define KPI’s in advance

With interactive video campaigns, there are push and pull factors at play. Rather than only pushing a message towards a viewer, interactivity also presents an opportunity for viewers to engage with the brand, and even provide feedback or share information. The fact that any interaction with the ad can be measured can really help advertisers better understand their customers and prospects.

Considering this in advance of a campaign is key, as an awareness of what the brand wants to achieve can be used to improve the creative, using the most logical interactive elements to achieve those KPI’s.

5. Consider device types

The online consumer’s behavior has changed in the last years. Online traffic is dominated by smartphone users. It’s an obvious point, but often easy to forget for office workers who are designing an interactive ad on a large desktop.

It is therefore highly important when creating interactive campaigns, that functionality and user experience should be the same across all devices. This means that any interactive elements should be easily clicked on smaller touch screen devices.

Broadening out from this point, social media platforms have seen a surge of square and vertical formats that are more recognizable and familiar to millennials. Brands should also take note here, as a 16:9 video on a vertically held device is not always the most effective choice.

Interactivity can play an important role in communication between brands and consumers. Enabling viewers to interact with a campaign takes digital video advertising to a more advanced place well beyond the current KPI’s such as completion rates and viewability.

The outcome is not a certainty however, but with some good planning in advance, it is possible to create highly successful campaigns that can redefine both brands and consumers attitudes to video in the future.