Interactive Video for e-commerce: Turning viewer interaction into smart product placement

by Brannan McGill |

There is an ever-growing number of Interactive Videos available on the web. However, Interactive Video (IV) is still a relatively new concept, and there is little information available to assist creatives on how to conceptualize an effective, goal-driven video. On the surface, the idea of clicking on a video to make choices seems fairly straightforward; however, once you start working out the project details, you quickly understand that there is an infinite amount of patterns that you can build your creative around. Though exciting, it’s also a bit daunting when you begin to wonder what strategy will best achieve your project’s goals.

At Rapt Media, we’ve gained a great deal of experience by working directly with our customers and also by watching how they engage with our product. Interactive Video for e-commerce is one of IV's most popular use cases, and to take some of the guesswork out of the creative process around building an interactive e-commerce video, we’ve outlined a few common Interactive Video patterns. In this post, we’ll look at how to turn viewer interaction into smart product placement. Next week, we’ll explore mirroring the structure of an e-commerce website.

We’ll use the Rapt Media editor to help visualize the structure, so we encourage you to sign up for a free account to follow along.

Turning viewer interaction into smart product placement

Though there are a number of patterns we’ve seen that’ve worked well for the marketing and brand recognition aspect of e-commerce, today we’re focusing squarely on selling a product. Interactive Video opens up a unique advantage in this realm that linear video can’t even begin to compete with. By presenting the viewer with choices, an Interactive Video can learn about the viewer and offer relevant products.

Here’s the basic pattern:

The idea here is you ask the viewer a question. The viewer’s response to that question provides you with insight into which product offerings they’d most likely purchase. You then present the viewer with relevant products.

In the first node (nodes are the video thumbnails that appear after dragging and dropping clips into the schematic’s space), entitled “Introduction,” you have a video clip of a linear introductory video. This video is meant to engage the viewer, setting the tone, and making the viewer wonder what’s going to happen next.

Now that your viewer is hooked, a default path (a path that’s taken automatically when the end of the clip is reached) takes your viewer to a node with a video that presents a choice. The question asked – which can be something simple like “what’s your favorite color?” or something complex that changes the direction of a story’s narrative – should encourage a response that’ll provide insight into what product is most relevant to the viewer (or what product they’ll be most inclined to purchase).

To find out where to put your first choice point, click here.

After the viewer has clicked on a choice, providing you with valuable insight, they’re taken to the product that’s most relevant to them.

And there you have it: the basic pattern for a video that can ask your viewers to make a choice, providing the most relevant products in response. From here, you can build upon this pattern in a number of ways, including shoppable video, returning to the choice point, and repeating the pattern.

Shoppable videos

If you want to make your video shoppable, create a simple Site Pairing integration that adds an “Add to cart” button to the product nodes. When clicked, it tells your shopping cart software to add the product from the video to the viewer’s cart on your site. Check out our Kara Ross project to see this in action.

Returning to the choice point

You can also add default paths to the product nodes that direct the viewer back to the choice point, giving them the option to check out the other products they missed.

Repeating the pattern

By repeating the pattern, you can achieve greater granularity in product relevance, ensuring the viewer reaches the product that best suits them.

Interactive Video and e-commerce FTW

Adding interactivity to video opens up a world of possibilities for e-commerce, and we’re just scratching the surface with these design patterns. Stay tuned as we’ll dive into mirroring the structure of an e-commerce website next week and will be updating again soon with patterns for other types of videos, including brand engagement, lead generation, and e-learning.

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