We live in a time where the saturation of media is reaching a tipping point, year-on-year the amount of video content posted on social media increases by 360%1, and 70% of marketers plan to increase their use of original visual assets in 20152. The battle to win peoples engagement with content has become crucial across a range of industries, from advertising to education, more and more companies are producing media with hopes of holding its viewers attention long enough for them to connect with its message.
The irony however is that in the last 15 years the average human concentration span has fallen by 33%; the standard attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds, yet by 2015 a Microsoft study revealed this has dropped to 8 seconds3 - one second less than the common goldfish. By looking at the advertisement industry alone, it is clear to see that the standard media model is beginning to fail. The average person is exposed to over 1,700 banner ads per month4, and yet the click through rate of ads is less than 0.1%5. When you factor in that approximately 50% of those clicks are accidental6 it means that that a person is more likely to survive a plane crash, give birth to twins or summit Mount Everest than engage with passive content.
There is however one form of media where popularity and engagement levels are consistently growing - Interactive video production. This year 86% of customers expressed some level of desire to access interactive visual content on demand, and in this survey the amount of people who strongly agreed with this sentiment increased from 34% in 2013 to 46% in 2014.7
The industry is beginning to experiment with Interactive video and incorporate it into its content production, for example the popularity of Interactive content is increasing, its usage is up from roughly 21% in 2013 to 28% in 20148. Even the prestigious Webby awards have added a category celebrating the standout examples of Interactive video, but why is Interactive video proving to be such a success story?
“It’s been proven that interactive video easily manages to drive the results above and beyond an advertiser’s expectations”.
- Jack Thorogood, Swiffen
Following in the foot steps of the nineties Burger King found over whelming success in became the first people to utilise the growing popularity of the internet as a way to reinvent Interactive video. its “Subservient Chicken”9 campaign managed to accrue 20 million hits within a week, with visitors spending an average of six to seven minutes on the site, this resulted in a 9% weekly increase in sales20.
Much like interactive video itself, this style is nothing new; it is heavily inspired by evens that took place a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away. Pre-cut interactive scenes were arguably first mainstreamed in Bioware’s classic video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic10 in the 12 years since its release Bioware have set the standard for interactive video cut scenes. Their critically acclaimed Mass Effect series used the same pre-animated conversation style and has sold 102,000,00 units11 as well as inspiring the majority of narrative based video games to adapt the same format.
Interestingly some studies show video games may be able to achieve what other media cannot and actively improve people’s attention spans12 hence improving overall engagement with the contents message. Although no studies have currently been done regarding the relationship between Interactive videos and attention span directly, the principles of engaging with a narrative that make video games so popular, carry over to Interactive video suggesting a similar result.
“The best teacher is very interactive”
- Bill Gates, Microsoft
The idea of using the principles learnt from video games in training or ‘gamification' is far from unique to the interactive video market, almost 80% of learners surveyed said that they would be more productive if their university or workplace was more game-like13. The training sector has began to respond to this information, by 2014 more than 70% of the world’s largest organisations had at least one gamified application; by 2018 the global gamification market is forecast to be valued at $55 billion13. The results from this influx of gamification have been very positive, 70% of teachers said they saw an increase in student engagement when using educational video games15 and vendors claim that gamification can lead to a 100% to 150% pickup in audience engagement16.
“Education should not be about building more schools and maintaining a system that dates back to the Industrial Revolution. We can achieve so much more, at unmatched scale with software and interactive learning.”
- Naveen Jain, InfoSpace
Despite the positive early results there is a lot of room for improvement as an estimated 80% of current gamified enterprise applications fail to meet their objectives, due largely to poor design17. This is where interactive video can help, unlike conventional computer designed games, video content is very controlled; it creates enough interactivity to be engaging whilst keeping the content very much on the rails providing a disciplined and consistent experience for all who play.
Since the slow introduction of Interactive video the results have been very positive, A recent Forrester18 report noted that average completion rates for linear videos in advertising, depending on placement and device, typically lie within the 50 to 85 percent range. Rapt Media, however, typically sees completion rates in Interactive Video of above 90 percent — often with repeated views for the same video as consumers explore all paths of the interactive storyline. Interactive video is clearly a market primed and ready for expansion, a tool that could be utilised to massively increase user engagement and revitalise the video content market.
This post was kindly provided by Jack Leigh of Red Brick Films based in Manchester. As a Manchester based video production company Jack and Red Brick Films specialise in interactive video content along side other forms of video. Get in touch with him if you’re interested in using interactive video production for your business.
12 The Effects of Video Games on Children: The Myth Unmasked, Barrie Gunter 1998