As a kid, the best games were always the ones that let you choose your next move. Whether you wanted to fight a dragon or slip off on a side quest, there was simply nothing cooler than a story that put you in the driver’s seat. We might be all grown up now, but the team here at Vimeo is still all about giving you the keys to make stunning and engaging video. That’s why we’re introducing a new suite of tools empowering you to bring interactive video magic to your next project. 

That’s not just good news for video and tech enthusiasts. It’s good news for your business, too. Because interactive video isn’t just fun to watch. It’s also shown to be 32% more memorable and 3x more engaging than traditional video.

“The new Vimeo studio is a big leap forward. It’s super intuitive.”
Ian Dewhirst, Producer, Colada Creative

What is interactive video? 

Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is interactive video? Traditional passive video only allows the viewer to stop, pause, and play the content. But interactive video encourages engagement during the viewing experience. This can take the form of branching storylines (like the video games you grew up with), shoppable product overlays, informative hotspots, and more.

For a long time, interactive video was an option only for those willing to invest serious time and lots of development dollars to make it happen. But Vimeo makes it easy to turn any video into an interactive experience. The best part? Our team takes care of the tech – and offers 24/7 support – so you can easily take your videos to the next level. 

How to make an interactive video with Vimeo in 5 steps

If you’re ready to dive in on your own, take a gander at the steps below.

Step 1: Choose the type of video experience you want to create

There are a ton of different applications for interactive video, but these are some of the most popular: 

eCommerce videos: Interactive video makes it easy for you to turn any video into a shoppable experience. You can add clickable elements within your content to drive viewers straight to product pages — or even add something directly to their cart while viewing. 

Branching storyline videos: This endearingly familiar video format allows viewers to choose from pre-set paths depending on their tastes and needs, which leads them through a customized viewing experience tailored to their preferences. 

eLearning and training videos: Because interactive video makes it easy to add checkpoints and layered elements to any video, it’s also beloved by educators and HR professionals alike. You can embed checkpoints to ensure viewers are engaging and retaining the information, plus include supplemental material for folks to watch on their own time.

Step 2: Choose which interactive elements you’ll want to include  

Once you’ve decided on the viewer experience, Vimeo’s interactive video platform offers a comprehensive suite of features that you can use to make your video truly interactive. Below are some Vimeo features you can use to build your interactive experience:

Hotspots: A hotspot is a clickable or tappable element of the video that can lead to other actions (think: add-to-cart, learn more, etc.) when selected by the viewer. 

Time triggers: A time trigger allows the creator to launch an element in the video at a specific point without viewer action, such as jumping to different points within the video, opening overlays, and more. 

Overlays: An overlay is a just what it sounds like: an element that can be displayed on top of your video to provide more insights, images, calls-to-action, other videos, and a whole lot more.

Branching: Branching allows the audience to “choose their own adventure” as they watch, by jumping to key frames in the video, skipping sections, or looping for a gamified experience.

Introducing interactive video

From shoppable videos to immersive team training — interactive video lets your audience control their viewing experience, all while boosting engagement, sales, and user insights.

Step 3: Make or source the video content 

First, some good news. You don’t need to make content specifically for an interactive experience in order for it to work as one. You can revitalize or repurpose material by dropping interactive elements on any kind of video. But, if you’re making new content, there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind. 

Storyboard, storyboard, storyboard: Especially if you’re planning a more complex interactive video (like a branching storyline), we recommend dedicating some time in the pre-production stage to understand exactly how many storylines you’ll be pursuing.

When planning, remember that too many options can be too much of a good thing. “The simplest, cleanest experiences are the ones that gain the most interaction,” says Jack. “Opt for two decisions at the end of each branch.” Keeping it simple will help your viewers navigate through your content and make your production day much easier. 

Hold your takes for longer than usual: For any videos with overlays or hotspots, it’s good to hold your shots a bit longer than you might usually. This will allow for viewers to read any text on screen or take the action you’d like them to take. 

Consider your framing: Depending on the profile of your overlays or hotspots, you might want to consider where the subject of your video sits in your frame. If a large overlay is planned to unfurl on the left side of the screen, frame your subject further off to the right to make your post-production a breeze. “This will help you make sure that they don’t clash with the person or objects in the frame,” adds Jack. 

“The beauty of interactive is the spectrum of what you can do, from shoppable video to overlays, to the analytics.”
Jack Brodie, Managing Director at Colada Creative

Step 4: Decide on your distribution plan

Congrats, you have an interactive video! Now where do you want it to live? Interactive videos need to be hosted on a website or Vimeo page to work in their full capacity. That means you’ll want to leverage marketing channels like social and email to drive people to the full interactive experience. 

We recommend creating GIFs or short, looping video assets to show off the interactive abilities of your video. “Show people your video is interactive from the very start,” notes Jack. “Not many people even know you can click on a video. So that’s something we like to show people even in promotional images.”

The good news? Vimeo makes it easy to turn any video into a GIF for easy sharing, anywhere. You can learn more about how to do that right this way, with Vimeo’s simple GIF maker.

Step 5: Review your performance

You’ve dreamed up a video, added your chosen interactive elements, and unleashed it upon the world. But… how are people actually engaging with it? Vimeo’s reporting and analytics go beyond standard video metrics to reveal super granular insights. You can see where and when your viewers clicked on different hotspots or overlays, check your shopping metrics, and more. Better insights = better learnings, which means better videos for you and your viewers.

Interactive video is currently available as an add-on for Vimeo Enterprise users. Ready to start creating? Click the link below to learn more.

Get started with interactive video