Branching interactive video: How can brands use it to drive impact?

Engaging your customers with video content for more than a few seconds is a major challenge for brands. With the average viewing time of a video on Facebook being 10 seconds and 92% of videos viewed on a mobile device being played with sound off, there is a big opportunity for formats that enhance video content in a visual and engaging way. One of these formats that can transform video and increase average viewing time is branching interactive video. What is branching video exactly? How can you create content for this format? Which industries is this applicable for? How can I measure impact from branching interactive videos? We will go into detail of each of these topics below. 

What is branching interactive video? 

Branching interactive video is a format of an interactive video experience where the viewer is able to make choices while watching the video which will alter the storyline or video progression. These experiences are also referred to as “Choose my Journey” “Design my Journey” type of videos, a format which was also used in the Netflix’s Bandersnatch. This transforms the video viewing experience from passive watching to active engagement. By interacting with the video to make choices to alter the storyline, the viewer is able to create a personalized  experience based on what interests them the most. 

Branching video technologies, such as Smartzer, allow  the building of a broad range of interactive videos. The branching can either extend to a single layer only, or be structured as a more complex structure with several branch points. With a single layer, there is a uniquecore storyline and  the ability to branch off to another layer or video path with the option of returning back to the original one. With more complex structures the viewer is able to move deeper into a rabbit hole of multiple choices without a single core story to return to. 

Branching interactive video can be used across a broad range of use cases from fun styling video experiences to making long-form educational content easily navigable.   

Branching interactive videos use cases in the fashion industry

The fashion industry lends itself perfectly for styling session videos, unboxing videos, and fashion show videos. 

The branching interactive video technology can be used to create styling videos where the viewer can control the product combinations they would like to see. For instance the video could feature a pair of jeans being fitted with a choice being presented to the viewers to see the jeans being styled for a “ Casual look” or a “Party look”. Depending on the choice the video will proceed to show how the jeans can be styled in each scenario. This functionality will also offer insights on customer interests and preferences in relation to specific products. 

This format also allows brands that have collections across men’s and women’s categories to create a single campaign film where the viewer can choose the category they would like their video journey to focus on. It would also enable brands to offer relevant content across their entire customer base as well as to engage their customers through asking them to choose their preferred video storyline. 

Another great use case for using branching videos is offering an easier way to navigate longer videos, such as runway shows. For example, the video could contain a list of the shoppable looks with the ability to jump to the section of the fashion show where the look appears. This offers easy and fun navigation for viewers and also provides brands with valuable insights about the looks their customers would like to see the most. 

Branching interactive videos use cases in the beauty industry

Beauty tutorial videos are used by virtually all beauty brands to showcase their products and to educate their customers on  how to use them. By nature, these videos are in a longer format and often feature several different products. Branching interactive videos can be a great tool in making these videos easily navigable, and allowing the viewers to skip to the stages of creating a look or certain products that interest them the most. Using the branching videos will also provide brands with indispensable insights about the sections in the videos their customers are most interested in, helping them improve their video content strategy in general as well as to offer personalised recommendations to their customers. 

Branching interactive videos use cases in the travel industry

Branching interactive videos have huge scope in the travel industry. The format can be used to build highly engaging experiences where the viewers can choose how to experience videos related to a certain new country, city or hotel even. For example a video can start with an introduction which will offer choices to proceed to view more about beaches, restaurants, activities and sights. 

Branching interactive videos use cases in the automotive industry

Choose your journey for a car video

Branching interactive videos are a great way to break longer informational and educational marketing videos into a shorter more digestible format where the viewer controls the content they would like to be focused on. For example, a video highlighting new features of a new car can have clickable hotspots on the key features which allow the viewer to click through to watch even more detailed content about each of these features.  

Making a branching interactive video shoppable

In addition to offering viewers options to navigate through a story using interactive branching video, these experiences can also be fully shoppable. After making a choice to proceed into a certain storyline of the video, the products or items featured in the video can also be fully interactive and shoppable. For example a shop the look fashion video or interactive beauty tutorial will enable shopping for all the products in the various segments of the branching video experience. 

How to create content for branching interactive videos? 

One of the most important steps of creating content for branching interactive videos is creating a map of the different possible storylines to be included in the experience. It is important to also consider the connections between these, including the ability to move back and forth between certain sections. Once the planning has been completed, each of the story elements needs to be created in a video format. Once these are completed, all of the storyline elements will be edited together back to back to form one single long video file. This video file will then be uploaded into a branching interactive video builder where the final experience is created. 

How to build a branching interactive video?

Building a branching video can be simpler than you think. Essentially, once you have the video file, you will just need to use a branching video builder to set markers for the call to actions and the parts of the video that would take the viewer to. The call to actions can either be added to the video file itself in the editing process, or built into the overlay in the interactive branching video builder. 

Interactive branching videos can be used in powerful ways both across new videos as well as repurposing older content. To learn more about how this could work for your brand, get in touch with the team at Smartzer.