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Do Interactive Experiences Increase Viewer Quality of Experience (QoE)?

Written by:
February 17th, 2021
Aleksandar is a professional writer with a Master’s Degree in Journalism. He contributes to technology blogs and news sites about mobile, video, and programming topics.

Effects of Interactive Video on Quality of Experience (QOE)

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While interactive videos have existed in one form or another for almost two decades, they have changed considerably over the years. According to the 2021 video marketing report by Wyzowl, 24% of video marketers plan to include interactive video in their 2021 video marketing strategy. (+3% from last year) and it’s getting more common in other verticals as well. In fact, Marketing Dive found that interactive videos boost time spent viewing content by a whopping 47%.

One of the main reasons for the rise in interactive video content is that most people have access to broadband internet, but what else contributes to this trend? Are interactive videos increasing user quality of experience? Or are they just overhyped?

In this post, we’ll explore some of the trends in interactive video. We’ll see how brands are using interactive videos to create engaging content and explore the question of whether we can tie more interactive content to a better viewer quality of experience or not.

What is QoE?

“Quality of experience” or QoE is a measurement of how delighted a customer is with a specific service, in this case, an internet-streaming video. Theoretically, when a viewer enjoys a video, watch time, actions taken, and revenue generated from your content will increase. We already know that video quality affects QoE, but let’s look at how QoE is measured and then decide if there is a good way to tie these metrics to the data we have on interactive videos.

Measuring Quality of Experience

There are several ways to measure QoE, but it can be a bit of a challenge. When it comes to subjective metrics, the mean opinion score (MOS) can be useful. It’s based on human ratings, usually by asking viewers to rate the quality of their watching experience during or after streaming a video. 

However, MOS has its downsides. It’s difficult to automate its measurement, and in some cases, viewers give random ratings because it’s easier than clicking the “close” button. According to Twilio, people tend to avoid perfect ratings, which also affects the precision of MOS.

Another approach to measuring QoE is to use objective metrics quantified with a video analytics tool like Bitmovin’s. Playback start time, number and duration of interruptions, and video completion can all tell you something about whether the video provided the experience quality the user expected.

Types of Interactive Video

While it’s impossible to collect a perfect measurement of quality of experience, this gives you some idea of how we might figure out if interactive videos improve QoE. Before we look at the research, let’s look at some of the innovative interactive video experiences reaching consumers today.

Group Watching Experiences

With the Covid-19 pandemic limiting gatherings, group video watching has become an excellent way to watch videos with friends you cannot see in person. Services like Teleparty and Watch2Gether allow you to watch content at the same time and talk or chat about the movie.

Watching sports with friends has also changed in 2020. BT Sports and Yahoo! Sports both launched group watching experiences through their web and mobile applications. This means that fans can enjoy the social feeling of being at the game without the risk of spreading Coronavirus.

Customizable Videos

Customizable videos allow you to adjust some aspects of the video according to your preferences. For example, some streaming services will enable you to select the camera angle you want to watch during a sporting event.

This video of the hot lap in Spa-Francorchamps is an excellent example of an interactive video that includes a 360-degree camera of an F1 driver completing the circuit. Videos like this give you the sense of being right there in the driver’s seat!

Shoppable videos are very popular in eCommerce. These videos allow customers to watch someone use or wear a product, and if they like it, the customer can buy it directly from the video. This tactic can make even advertisements feel like fun.

Interactive shopping provides a huge opportunity for retailers to take advantage of the increase in online shopping this year. As an example, ColliShop – a Belgian department store – released a short video demonstrating some of their products and how they might be used together.

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Collishop interactive video product demonstration

Branching Videos

In branching videos, viewers directly participate in the narrative by selecting the “path” they want their video adventure to take. A great example is this video by chocolate brand Callebaut. It allows you to choose between the type of chocolate, the base, and the filling you want, and then it shows you how the dessert is made.

Callebaut_Interactive Video Shopping_Quality of Experience_QoE_Video Screenshot

Callebaut Chocolate Interactive Video Shopping Experience

Major motion pictures have also experimented with interactive video. To promote Will Smith’s movie, Focus, Warner Bros released an interactive trailer in which you can test your persuasion skills by making a series of attempts to con your mark.

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Focus Movie Interactive Trailer

Finally, there’s Honda’s unique interactive short video advertisement for the Civic Type R. The video starts with a guy living a typical life and driving a no-frills Honda Civic. When you press the “R” key on your keyboard, the video switches to a perfectly-synchronized version of the video with a guy who drives the sports model. Both videos are recorded from the same angles, but the sound and overall feeling are entirely different.

What the Data Says About Interactive Video

Most of the data available online supports the hypothesis that interactive videos significantly improve quality of experience. While it makes sense, let’s look at some of the research and how it points to this conclusion.

According to Wyzowl, 78% of marketers who use interactive videos say that it’s an effective marketing strategy. Studies also show that over 60% of viewers finish videos that have interactive content. With an interactive video, viewers must ask questions, make decisions, and perform tasks that keep them watching the video. This leads to 32% more memorable messages, meaning that people are likely to learn from or remember interactive videos.

Interactive Video Quote_Technology Businesss Video_QoE_Quote on Image overlay

But what about calls to action and conversions? Consumers might be watching interactive videos and spending more time on them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re spending more money because of them.

According to Cinema8, shoppable videos have “conversion rates as high as 30%,” and average order sizes up to 40% higher than traditional e-commerce sites without video. The increase in engagement on interactive video directly improves conversions. Instead of a 1% conversion rate on banner and display ads, interactive videos tend to achieve 11% conversion rate!

Final Thoughts

The data so far indicate that interactive video improves viewer quality of experience. While most of the data we have today hasn’t undergone academic rigor, the piling on of positive signals seems to support this conclusion.

Interactive videos encourage users to watch for longer, pay closer attention to the content, and ultimately take action more often. As content producers get more creative and video encoding allows for fast high-quality streaming, we’ll likely see more innovation in interactive video.

If you’re looking for a platform to encode and host your interactive video, we can help. Bitmovin’s video encoding service offers industry-leading codecs that you can run in the cloud, and our video player can ensure viewers have a consistent experience across all platforms.