Immersion is Now: Choose Your Own (Video) Adventure

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Immersion is Now: Choose Your Own (Video) Adventure

Alexandra Gilson

Associate Director, Social Media, CMI/Compas

A few weeks before CES, Netflix changed the streaming service game, and gave itself some added leverage, with the live-action, choose-your-own-adventure Black Mirror episode, “Bandersnatch.” Advertisers can see from this breakout hit, and from the action at CES, that passive video watching is just not enough these days. Users want an immersive, hands-on experience where they can express their opinions and call the shots. Products launched at CES reflect this, from VR to robots. We’re also seeing more of a confluence of video and social media. While video gets more “social,” social media is getting more “video,” with social media giants such as Facebook and Instagram building out video and original content capabilities with Facebook Watch and IGTV.

One can say the origin of real-time engagement while watching video got its start from Twitter and the real-time factor is what really set Twitter apart from its competitors. However, this trend has evolved, and consumers want a seamless “watch and engage” experience. Watching a show on one device and talking about it on another is not enough; users want it consolidated in one place, which is exactly where social networks are trying to position themselves (i.e. broadcasting live awards shows, sporting events etc.).

And this isn’t limited to the futuristic “what if” landscape of CES. We’re seeing it being used now. Facebook Watch held exclusive rights to stream the 2019 Golden Globes Red Carpet Live and all behind-the-scenes content was available through IGTV with real-time updates posted on the Golden Globes Instagram account via Instagram Stories. The Red Carpet Pre-Show generated over 2.8M views and over 14k comments on the livestream. Additionally, #GoldenGlobes was tweeted out more that 1M times between the day of the awards ceremony and the morning after.

Social networks, like Facebook, that are jumping on the video bandwagon stand to benefit in a multitude of areas, one being the ability to attract more users, particularly the younger, (Facebook) elusive demographic, who then go on to check out other features – and hopefully click on a few ads along the way. And advertisers are counting on that, continuing to support Facebook and the likes with a portion of their ad budgets.

The benefit of social video isn’t just that it attracts more users, it attracts more engaged users. Quantity and quality all in one place. With a majority of video consumption being more passive, allowing users to “lean back” and enjoy, interactive video forces users to lean in as they feel they have a stake in what they are watching. Advertisers, too, may benefit. Those with the ability to have their brands showcased in this type of video trend can attract a wider and more engaged audience.

From a healthcare perspective, interactive video can take a larger role in patient education and allow for a more personalized experience vs. the generic “catch-all” materials that are handed out in most healthcare settings. Many HCP offices are now implementing touch-screen wall-board video devices in waiting rooms to allow patients to interact with and choose areas in health education that best fit their needs. Having these screens in waiting rooms also assists physicians in educating their patients during appointments.

And let’s not forget the sheer volume of data these platforms and devices are collecting on its users. With the added layer of engagement and interaction on videos, advertisers can get insights into not only the type of content users are engaging with, but deeper insights as well. Whether it be the insights mined from conversations happening around a video or the decisions made for an interactive show a user is watching, these insights into sentiment and human behavior can be valuable for advertisers in understanding preferences and buyer behavior.

As we’ve seen from CES this year, the video trend continues to be important across devices (particularly mobile) and across social media. Partnerships launched at CES between somewhat unlikely bedfellows – like Apple and Samsung, Google and KitchenAid – further showed how screens are truly everywhere and will be utilized in new and unexpected ways. We expect the Bandersnatch model – the truly immersive and engaging experience – to become the norm, and to extend across traditional, streaming video and social networks.