Brands Are Winning In 2017 By Making Passive Video Active


Brands are expected to spend over $11B on digital video in 2017, a 67% increase from 2015. Facebook alone delivers over 8 billion video views daily. But if brands are spending so much on video and people consume so much of it, why does video in 2017 feel so uninspiring?

The Challenge

Consumer behaviors are changing rapidly. We are consuming more video on mobile, watching longer videos, and sharing video content like never before. Yet it feels like video formats are largely stuck in 2003. People are taking notice – to the tune of 75 million Americans, which is the number of people blocking ads in the US. Despite this setback, brands have the power to take back control of their video and win the hearts and minds of consumers by transforming passive video into an active and engaging interactive experience.

Today, the lion’s share of video spend goes to cheap ineffective pre-roll (currently 60%). It generates a 78% completion rate and is 5 times more likely to be abandoned compared to mid-roll units. In a recent study, pre-roll click through rates only registered 0.5% and it can be somewhat easily argued that 50% of those by mistake. If that’s success, we’re living in the twilight zone! Consider 1,000 people walk into your shop and 5 peruse merchandise, and out of those 5, 2 were lost. Would that be considered an effective business day? Of course not, so then why should we have a double standard for digital ads?

According to the IAB, the number one obstacle to spending more on digital video is ROI. We believe that video in 2017 could be a lot better if this issue is addressed head on. Here’s what best-in-class brands are doing to add a fourth dimension (in video click) to their digital videos.

Making Passive Video Active

The beauty of digital video and video advertising is that you have an embedded engagement opportunity with every placement you purchase or distribute. Digital video has the opportunity to get you through the marketing funnel much quicker than most other placements. In fact, enjoyment of video increases purchase intent by 97%.

But the current standard video is flat and passive, and will not lead people to take further action. At best, you send consumers on a product hunt through endless pages on your website, only to cause frustration and the potential for negative brand association. Interactive video, on the other hand, is built for engagement and enjoyment. Consider that user-initiated rich media video unit today with their limited capabilities have a 2.3% engagement rate – almost 5x higher than preroll.

Brands are taking note and are expected to spend over $12 billion on rich media units by 2019. Rich media add an additional level of “engagement” and it’s a unit that works even better on mobile. With swipes, taps, and custom animation, the possibilities are nearly endless. And while many brands are experimenting with rich media, these tend to be one-offs and are not necessarily part of a larger strategy.

Luckily, there is a new format that can drive awareness, interest, desire, and action in a single session; Shoppable/Interactive video. This could not have come at a better time given that, by 2019, 9.8% of U.S. retail sales will be completed online. Shoppable video makes passive video active and helps turn an “ad” into an experience. Custom interactive shoppable videos drive nearly 39% more awareness than standard pre-roll. What’s even more fascinating is that 56% of people in a recent study said they would use shoppable video to make a purchase directly.

Top brands are realizing that if you could generate more ROI out of videos, why would this not be pursued aggressively? Tommy Hilfiger, for instance, uses shoppable video to showcase their seasonal collections on and Kohl’s in collaboration with Under Armour uses shoppable video on Facebook and on Both approaches have led to substantial increase in engagement and sales.

But not all shoppable or interactive video is created equal. The viewing experience needs to be very user friendly, intuitive and non-intrusive. Make it clean, make it simple and don’t overly force information. Not all consumers are created equal and everyone has different likes and wants. So, why force certain information on all viewers when it’s not applicable to everyone?! By allowing viewers to engage with only the items they are interested in, brands are creating a custom and individualized experience for every viewer.

Interactive video also isn’t just for retailers. It’s used by the travel industry to showcase vacation destinations, by the real estate industry to conduct virtual tours, and by the auto industry to highlight the various features of a vehicle. People are 64-85% more likely to buy a product after watching a product video.

Final Remarks

The growth of digital video has been explosive and brands are considering more immersive ways of utilizing videos to better connect with their consumers and drive sales activity. However, video is still largely used as an awareness tactic and as a traffic tool, not a conversion platform itself. Just 16% of brands have used shoppable video. However, given the recent success of major brands using shoppable video, we can expect to see much more of it in 2017 as brands take control over their creative assets and make passive video truly active.”

Also Read: TMB Study Reveals How Social Media is Driving Returns on Digital Videos

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