Online and interactive video is become an increasingly important part of today’s digital marketing, lead generation, and demand gen programs, partly because it can help you reach a broader audience, but more importantly because it can help you boost conversion rates across the myriad of programs that you’re already running today. Not only is video a great way to boost audience engagement, but by adding interacting elements to your existing video content, you can generate more new leads, accelerate the buyer’s journey, and boost conversation rates across your email marketing, content marketing, and other demand gen programs.

My name is Tyler Lessard, and in this Chalk Talk, we’ll explore how you can use interactive video capabilities to generate more leads, create more pipeline, and produce more sales-ready opportunities for your sales team.

3 Types of Interactive Video

Now the first thing to understand with interactive video is that it doesn’t mean you have to go out and create all new videos that are meant to be interactive. With platforms like Vidyard, you can easily add interactive capabilities to existing video content to turn those videos into new lead gen machines. Here are the three different types of interactive capabilities that you can add to existing videos or to new videos you create. The first are pre-roll gates. A pre-roll gate is an interactive event that pops up at the beginning of a video and will prompt the user to enter some form of information, their email address, name, or so on, before they’re allowed to continue watching that video content. Pre-roll gates are a great way to generate new leads with high value video content. The second are mid-roll annotations. A mid-roll annotation is something that pops up as an overlay within the video during playback, so it could be a small sign up form that pops up at the bottom of the video during a certain portion. It could be an indication to click on something for related content or a related customer story. Lots of different ways in which you can use interactive annotations and popups during video playback to drive the next step in the buyer’s journey. And finally, perhaps most important, are the post-roll calls to action. A post-roll CTA is adding an interactive event to the end of your video so once that audience member consumes the whole content, you can present them with very specific actions to take as their next step. It could be as simple as a button to drive them to a related page, or it could be an interactive form to get them to register for a demo or download some kind of related asset.

Using Interactive Events to Wow

So let’s talk about how to use these different types of interactive events within the existing types of videos that you may already be investing in today as a demand gen team to get more value and start generating more leads very, very quickly. So over here we’ve got a list of some of the different types of videos you may already be investing in as a marketing organization and using them across your website, your blog, your webinar channels, your email marketing, as well as with your sales team for one-to-one video messaging. So we’re gonna start at the top here and talk about the different types of interactive events and which ones you’ll want to consider depending on the type of video and its stage within the buyer’s journey. So let’s start at the top of the buyer’s journey with content that many of you likely have on your website today which are explainer and overview videos. These are the videos that are introducing the pain, the potential gain, and what you offer at a high level to your audience. You never wanna pre-gate these assets. You want everybody to lean in and consume the content, but think about how during playback you could add mid-roll annotations to link out to related content so that individual if they’re ready to take the next step, you offer them a jumping off point at a few different spots. For example, as you’re talking about a specific solution capability, you could have an interactive event to jump off to download a related guide or to read or interact with a customer story that relates back to that solution. The second thing you’ll want to do is add a post-roll call to action. So at the end of watching that video, what do you want that individual to do? It may be to request a demo, it may be to visit a customer solution, it may be to continue on down the page and interact with more content, but lots of different ways in which you can add an interactive event to make sure you drive the next step, whether they’re consuming that video on your website, a third party channel, or on your social media channels. The next type of video are customer testimonials. Customer stories are a great way to get your audience emotionally connected to your brand, to really lean into a powerful story, but how do you activate that right away? Well, interactive events is a perfect thing to do. So again you don’t want to pre-roll gate these videos, but mid-roll annotations can again be a great way to offer somebody a jumping off point as they’re listening to the story to learn more about something related to that customer story. Perhaps a customer is talking about a specific feature that they’ve used. You could add an interactive annotation that pops up for a few seconds to offer that individual an opportunity to jump out and watch a demo of that specific product feature. At the end of that video, again, what do you want the audience member to do after consuming that video? Perhaps download a related ebook, request a demo, and so on. Now, what’s great about adding the CTAs right to the videos is, again, whether they’re consuming it on your website, a third party site, or it’s a video sent directly from your sales team, those interactive events follow that video and you’ve always got a conversion opportunity.

Getting Product Demos in Front of the Right Eyes

Next is product demos. Product demo videos are generally the next layer down from your explainers, and these offer more information specific to your solution set out to your audience. Now, some people may wish to keep these open, let anybody consume them. Others may consider adding pre-roll gates to these videos as a way to collect information from somebody and generate a new lead before you open the kimono and let them see your product in action. We’re seeing more and more businesses offer a “watch a product demo” CTA on their site as a higher conversion point than requesting a full demo or requesting a full trial. This can be a great way to get somebody’s information, to get them to lean in, let them consume 8 to 10 minutes worth of product demo content, and, of course, with a tool like Vidyard, you can track that as well, and not only do you generate the new lead, but you know exactly what they’re consuming and you can hand that off to your sales team. During a product demo, you’re typically not gonna add interactive CTAs during the middle because you want somebody to progress through the content, but at the end of the video, of course, this is a great opportunity to add a post-roll CTA to make sure you’re sending them on that next step, whether it be to watch the next video in the series or again, perhaps watch a customer story of somebody who used that product or that feature to generate success within their own business. The next one is video blogs. So take a video like this one, a Chalk Talk. This is something we would create and put out on our blog as great educational content, but there are lots of opportunities here during playback to have interactive annotations that link out to related content. So even if somebody doesn’t make it to the end of the video, partway through we’re offering them different things they can go and do as a way to continue the buyer’s journey. It may be a link out to a related product video to highlight a feature that we’ve spoken about, or again, maybe to go and watch a customer story of somebody who’s done this successfully to see how, again, somebody in the real world’s doing it. Again, you’re gonna want to also have a post-roll call to action to drive that viewer to the next step if they did get to the end of that video, and this is a great way to convert more of your blog visitors into actual leads or to create progression points for them as part of your inbound strategy.

Using Webinars Like Never Before

Now, next is webinars. Many of you are likely doing webinars today, and you’re already gating the live webinar, but think about how you could take the recorded webinar, upload it onto your own website, control it in your own brand experience, but use things like pre-roll email gates as a way to generate new leads from that existing content. As somebody’s watching that webinar, offer them jump-off points. Not that many people are gonna stay tuned for the full 30, 45 minutes, whatever it might be, but if you have interactive events throughout, you offer them an opportunity to take a conversion point, to download a related guide or to visit a page related to something they’re speaking about during the webinar. And of course, if somebody makes it all the way to the end, reward them with an interactive event. It may be, again, a form to request a demo or some kind of action to take at the end of that webinar. These are great ways to get more value from the webinars you’re already investing in today. Now, something else we see more and more people doing is creating short videos as a way to promote the full webinar. So for example, if I do a 30 minute webinar with a couple of guest speakers, I might do a 30 to 45 second little highlight reel where you just hear some of the quotes from it, and at the end of that, I’m gonna have a post-roll CTA that right there says watch the full webinar. That’s gonna drive me to this video where I’ve now got a pre-roll gate that I can get them to enter their information and become a net new lead.

Direct Communications to Your Audience

Now the last two here are related to more direct communications to your known audience. So email marketing, many of you are likely using email nurturers to keep your existing leads warm or to look for, again, opportunities for conversion points within your existing funnel. Video within an email nurture can be a great way to boost response rates, including customer videos, promotional videos or other types of explainers, but again, think about how you can add interactive events to make sure if somebody clicks on that video in the email, they’re taken off and they watch that video that they have an immediate conversion point that you can get them into a sales cycle. So with videos that are being included in your email marketing, I always recommend having clear post-roll CTAs that can help you drive the next step, whether it’s to request a demo, to download a related ebook or an asset, or to visit another page on your site to consume some more information. And finally, more and more sales teams are using one-to-one video messaging as a way to generate new leads themselves or to convert the leads that you’re sending over to them. With these personal video messages, you can also add interactive events to the end of those videos to do things like book a meeting. So if somebody watches their 30-second personal video, at the end it can prompt them to book a meeting right then and there. We’re seeing that be really successful with sales teams as a way to, again, create higher conversions from their outbound prospecting and get more value out of those videos they’re creating and sending themselves. Now as you start to do more of this, you’ll want to think about, I’ve got a lot of great conversion points here now, from a lot of existing videos that I already have. How could I now repackage or repurpose these videos as evergreen content to help me generate new leads all year round, right? So think about how you could repackage your webinars into a resource hub, how you could package product demos into gated assets, and so on. Lots of different ways you can now incorporate these videos into your nurture programs, into your digital strategy, because you’ve got clear ways to help make sure that those people who view the videos are gonna convert into a lead or be accelerated through the buyer’s journey.

Be Interactive with Your Content Plan

And finally, as you’re creating new video content, think about interactive as a part of how you create your content, so plan for it from the beginning. What’s the action you’re gonna want somebody to take? Is there a point in the video where you want to prompt them with a choose-your-own-adventure style set of annotations? So something to think about, but I think for now the main starting point for most marketers is to incorporate interactive events into their existing videos to help them generate more leads, accelerate their existing buyer’s journey, and boost conversion rates, and ultimately see material new results within four to six weeks of adding these interactive capabilities to their existing programs.

My name is Tyler Lessard, and this had been a Vidyard Chalk Talk.

Tyler Lessard