5 fantastic examples of interactive video

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Hi, I'm Brand, the world leader in my category. Brand features include portability, flexibility, accessibility, and compatibility, to name a few. Men and women of all ages need Brand to improve their personal and professional lives. Even teenagers use Brand, which adds to my general likeability and adoptability. Brand comes in x, y, and z sizes and infinite colors. Follow Brand on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Wordpress, LinkedIn, Digg, etc.

Classic over-share.

Congratulations to those of you who made it this far. I'd venture to guess you stopped paying attention about a quarter of the way through that first paragraph. Don't ever let your video ad creative fall down the rabbit hole of too much information with zero incentive to learn more.

Stay informed. For more insights into connecting with lucrative online audiences, attend the iMedia iMoms Summit, May 1-4. Request an invitation.

Use the power wisely
The launch of interactive video units was a boon for the online video industry, especially marketers. Curious consumers responded to these units by mousing over, clicking, and engaging in their interactive elements, such as additional video, polls, or photo galleries.

With anything shiny and new though, someone inevitably overindulges or over shares or just generally overdoes it. Don't let that be you.

The best interactive units distill the product or service's unique benefits into a few compelling points -- "few" being the key word here. Good marketers know precisely who their target audience is, and speak directly to those consumers. They are also keenly aware of context -- units are super but they're also small. Resist the urge to cram an entire website's worth of information into a small interactive space. Crowding is a surefire way to lose control of the video experience and your target's interest.

After creating thousands of these super units for brands in nearly every vertical, here are some tried-and-true tips on how to get the most out of your interactive video.

1. Keep it simple and strategic
Marketers -- and designers too -- often mistake simplicity for lack of substance. In the case of interactive video units, less is more. Much more.

Let's consider this overlay example from HBO for the comedy series "Eastbound & Down."

Midway through the pre-roll ad, a baseball pops into the lower left-hand corner, with the show's logo and a clear call to action. Clicking on the logo launches the interactive unit, which features three sections: About, Video, and Photos. The About section offers a brief synopsis of season one and a tease of what's to come in season two. Adding a few short video clips and a picture gallery helps promote the series and reinforce the tune-in information. Notice the clean, uncluttered layout throughout. HBO's strategy is transparent: Tune in Sundays, 10:30 PM, for Season Two. Simple and strategic.

2. Tease and flirt
First impressions are everything. Keep yours memorable by piquing viewer interest enough to want to learn more. It's flirting 101, folks.

Tostitos "And Then There Was Salsa" has the tease down cold.

Like HBO's pre-roll, Tostitos engaged viewers with an expandable unit. In this example, the page transforms nearly to a homepage takeover to follow the movements of our spicy host as she leads viewers into her vegetable world. Tomatoes, onions, and green peppers all dance across the screen and ultimately into a jar of Tostitos salsa. The video closes on a shot of the product surrounded by its vegetable ingredients. Viewers weren't required to "do" anything but experience what goes into a jar of salsa in a very entertaining way. The product is the hero. The animation is engaging and fun, and leaves viewers wanting -- and hungering for -- more.