Linear vs. Interactive Video: How to Choose
Jun 21 2022
Video marketing is a vast landscape that includes everything from seconds-long TikTok content to 1-minute tutorials to hour-long webinars. But beyond video length and message intent, marketing professionals must also consider the value of creating interactive and linear video content. Keep reading to learn more about these videos and their place in a well-rounded video marketing strategy.
How a Video Strategy Adds Value
Today’s consumers often turn to video to learn more about specific products and services. (In fact, 96% of people say they’ve watched a video for this purpose.) What’s important, though, is not just that consumers have watched these videos — it’s that they prefer to watch them. Over 70% of people said they’d rather learn about a product or service via short video than reading an article, viewing an infographic, or downloading long-form content.
Video has both a visual and audio component, which makes it more accessible to a wider audience. It’s easier to show someone the benefits and features of a product rather than describing them. Video is clearly illustrative, engaging, direct, and can clear up any confusion before confusion even arises.
Plus, videos are incredibly shareable. Wyzowl, an explainer video company, found that, “People are twice as likely to share video content with their friends than any other type of content, including social media posts, blog posts/articles and product pages.” This is useful for consumers, but it also benefits businesses: creating shareable content expands your reach and has greater potential for engagement.
Interactive vs. Linear Video: What’s the Difference?
For context, let’s briefly review the primary difference between linear and interactive video.
Linear videos play straight through and don’t require audience interaction, other than to start, stop, or replay the content. Most people are familiar with this type of video because it has been around for much longer than the interactive variety.
Interactive videos allow the audience to participate in the viewing experience by building in engagement opportunities. These can take the form of quizzes, games, menus, or clickable links that allow the viewer to adapt the content to their preference. Wyzowl notes that with interactive video, “You can tailor content for different audiences, generate leads and better educate prospects,” while simultaneously capturing helpful audience data.
Pros and Cons
The best video option depends on your audience, their preferred platforms, and your campaign goals. Learn how to make the most of video by considering the pros and cons of both options.
There are many ways to make a video interactive, making this format a good option for any stage of the buyer funnel:
- According to HubSpot, 47% of marketers said interactive content is one of the best ways to generate leads.
- Embedding quizzes, polls, or choose-your-own-adventure options into video educates potential buyers and helps them narrow their path to purchase.
- Shoppable video enables bottom-funnel conversions.
While you can obtain some valuable user data and preferences from linear video metrics, interactive videos can provide more in-depth insights to help guide future campaign decisions. Beyond views and shares, interactive videos can include data forms, downloads, clickable links, and direct purchase options — all of which can show you what consumers want and how you can better serve them.
Additionally, interactive options make videos more engaging and memorable. If your video offers something consumers haven’t seen before, it’s more likely to stick in their memory as something unique and possibly worth checking out.
But with all this interactivity comes some drawbacks. This type of video requires more time, budget, and resources to create than traditional linear video. Not every business can (or will even want to) invest money or manpower in pursuing this medium.
Even with the growing popularity of interactive, linear video still holds a lot of value. For example, linear works well for many of the videos found on a company’s website. (Think customer testimonials, a founder’s message, company mission, etc.) These videos are compelling because of their to-the-point nature and are more effective without the potential distractions interactive features can present.
Evergreen content and shorter social media content is also a good fit for linear video. This also speaks to the fact that linear video can be more budget-friendly than interactive video. Evergreen content is meant to last a long time, and investing in high-quality content once vs. every time you need a video is more economical. Social media clips designed for entertainment purposes can be easily shot on a smartphone without having to hire the job out or invest in new video editing software.
The biggest drawback? Linear video is potentially less eye-catching and doesn’t provide the wealth of data that interactive video can. As is the case with any digital marketing tactic, testing content and measuring results will help to determine the right combination of linear and interactive video for your business.