What's In It For Me? The Ever-Present Question For Web Video Viewers

Any content developer will tell you in order for your audience to connect with your work, you’ll have to give them a reason to stick around. Viewers and readers want to know “what’s in it for me?” before they engage with your content any further than the first click.

This question is crucial in the world of web video, a world that's growing even faster than we had ever anticipated. This amazing video by Shutterstock and comScore puts that growth in stark and simple terms.

The most interesting highlight is that in January of this year, 190 million Americans watched an average of 397 online videos. 36% of those videos were ads. That's about 143 ads per person in one month.

Web Video Viewing in USA

Businesses are going to spend about $5.7 Billion on online video advertising this year - nearly 40% more than last. There's a reason. Video works in any context, any medium, any language. Heck, if the video's interesting you might watch it even if it's in a different language. Check out the French, German and Portuguese versions (each with region-specific statistics).

Interactive Video in any Language

It's a massive and growing opportunity. But also a challenge. How do you make sure your ad stands out from the other 143? How do you make sure it doesn't pass by undetected but rather transforms a viewer to an activated viewer?

Web Video Ad Spend and Views


With video, the first click is easy. It’s practically a reflex at this point to press play when you see it on a web video. But how do you get your viewers to make that second click? How do you get them to answer the “what’s in it for me” question?

The answer is in the interactivity. Give your viewers the choice, the control, and the convenience over what they’re watching and they’ll appreciate it. With the freedom to follow their own path, discover amazing things, make decisions, and take actions, a viewer’s personal experience with your content helps makes it stand out. And your video will be the one they remember out of a hundred and forty-three.

Hats Off: World Under Water, A Climate Change Interactive Campaign

With all the talk about climate change — ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree it’s real — did you ever wonder what your life would look like if it was underwater?

CarbonStory, a crowdfunding platform for climate change projects, recently teamed up with ad agencies BBDO and Proximity Singapore to explore the scary sea level rise possibility. Together, they created a new digital interactive campaign, World Under Water.

London Under Water - CarbonStory

Recognize London under all that water?


Using Google Maps, users can type in any address around the world and see a simulation of what the place would look like submerged underwater. Users hear the sounds of subtle rippling water while facts about climate change appear and disappear on the screen.

Fort Myers Under Water - CarbonStory

The city of Fort Meyers gave World Under Water a try, posting their personalized image to Twitter.

Climate change isn’t something to be overlooked, and these organizations used interactivity in a smart way to make a powerful statement. Our hats go off to World Under Water for its work to promote awareness on a big world issue like Climate Change and personalize its effects for each viewer.

If You Want to Learn, Think, Says New Study

A popular mantra in the workplace today is “learn by doing.”

This trial-by-fire mantra requires you to react on the fly and adjust in real time to accurately perform the task at hand.

Yet new research by HEC Paris, Harvard, and the University of North Carolina suggests that reflection — not learning by doing — can be a more critical component of learning, helping to articulate the key lessons, which we glean from our experiences.


In the study, people who reflected on the strategies they used to do an arithmetic brain teaser did 18 percent better in the second round than those who didn’t reflect. A Harvard Business Review blog post on the research suggests that the “unconscious learning that happens when you tackle a challenging task can be more effective” if you also make “conscious attempts to learn by thinking.”

Additionally, the researchers wrote in their paper that, “taking time away from training” and using that time to reflect “actually improved individual performance” for the people in their study.

They write that their results show reflection to be a powerful mechanism behind learning, and say that with this knowledge on how we learn, “it may be possible to train and learn ‘smarter,’ not ‘harder.’”


What does all this mean for your web video? Well, it means that giving your viewers time to think can help them better achieve their learning goals.

Some HapYak users are already taking this advice to heart. Like Uveni, who created a clever video that’s really a stealth Myers-Briggs personality test. To help the viewer think and make decisions, Uveni deliberately filmed and edited their video to include natural pauses. Simultaneously they keep the viewer interested with ambient audio and subtle movement on the screen.

Lately we're seeing many more HapYak users follow this ambient pause method for choose-your-own-adventure video. Because the audio track continues while the viewer is reflecting, she stays completely connected to the experience. If you have existing video that has not been filmed with ambient pauses in mind - no problem - just use a loop back option on an annotation to make a given section of the video repeat.

Interactive Video Loop Back

We’ve found that these techniques are the most effective way to ensure the viewer continues along their viewing journey and becomes more than just a viewer. They become an activated viewer.

You can see the full working paper "Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance" here.

Why We Love R2-D2 and What That Means for Web Video

As you probably know, the Star Wars franchise is back in action, with a new movie being filmed as we speak. In the iconic films, a world in a galaxy far, far away exists where humans and other extraterrestrials use interactive technology to communicate with each other and with robot companions.

No droid engenders more love and reverence then the iconic R2-D2. Now that R2-D2 has been confirmed as appearing in the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII, it's interesting to reflect on how a droid could be held so dearly by so many.



In a recent article in Smithsonian magazine, writer Clive Thompson tackles this issue of why we, as viewers, take to R2-D2 more so than C-3PO, and what that means for humans on earth as we develop technology.

“What precisely is the source of R2-D2’s allure?” Thompson asks the reader in his piece. Smithsonian curator Carlene Stephens says the robot looks “like an industrial vacuum cleaner,” yet R2-D2 stirs rich emotions that not many movie robots can rival.

R2D2 and C-3PO

Thompson describes it as a “touch of humanity” in R2-D2 that makes him more lovable than the humanoid C-3PO. Even though R2 speaks another language, we understand his beeps and burps and interact with him like we would with real beings.

These ideas are rooted in research done by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970. Adding just the right amount of humanity to a robot, endears it to us.

Interestingly, the exact same advice is true for web video.


Video can be stubborn and inflexible. It is usually a one-way presentation, not a conversation.

Adding a human touch can be easy and amazingly effective. Periodically pause the video and give the viewer time to interact with the content like they would with a person. Or add quizzes throughout the video, which builds on the knowledge presented in the video and reinforces the messages the viewer sees. Whatever method you choose, web videos with interactivity offer a real way to engage your viewers in a way that’s both deep and memorable.

And just like R2-D2, they'll remember the video for a long, long time.

Web Video Is On The Up And Up For Creators And Advertisers

You probably know that web video is currently a go-to choice for digital advertisers, and increasing in popularity. "For us, it's really about shifting to where audiences are" says Laura Desmond, chief executive of Starcom MediaVest, in a recent Wall Street Journal article. In 2014, the Pew Research Center reports that digital video advertising is growing at 44% year over year.

Put simply, more people are online, watching more video and advertisers know it. This general comfort level with web video is also apparent in the number of people who are creating it. In another 2013 Pew report, the organization finds that 26 percent of internet users post videos they create. That's also up 44% year over year.

Online Creators Posting Original Photos Bar Graph

[Image credit: The Pew Research Center]


Once again, it’s clear that web video is on the up and up. The 2013 Pew report says that people under 30, especially women, are the biggest content creators. And they’re sharing what others create!

Online Curators Sharing Images and Videos Bar Graph

[Image credit: The Pew Research Center]

User-generated web video will continue to gain importance, at least according to the Pew study. It's already part of the news cycle, and Pew reports that eleven percent of online news consumers have submitted their own content, including video, to news organizations or blogs.

What all this means for web video is that viewers are engaged in the medium and hungry for more. Web videos that you create can help tell interactive, meaningful stories and share information in a way that's poised for the future.

How to Add Olark Live Chat to Your Interactive Video

Adding an Olark widget to a video is a great way to increase retention, boost sales and provide support directly from within the video. Whether it's a product overview, or a how-to video, your audience is most engaged when they're watching a video on your site. The HapYak Olark Live Chat widget empowers viewers to get their questions answered right away, and gives you a great opportunity to connect at the right moment. For a detailed description of how to integrate Olark Live Chat into your videos visit our Knowledge Base Article! Once added be sure to alert your operators that there is now a chat box attached to a specific video.

About Olark: Olark has powerful features to give you access to visitors and their behaviors. Make your business (and your site) look good and keep your customers coming back. Olark was founded in 2009 by Ben Congleton, Matt Pizzimenti, Roland Osborne and Zach Steindler. Initially funded by seed accelerator Y Combinator, Olark has gone on to profitable success by providing a compelling product and amazing service. We believe the world is a better place when people help each other out. That’s why you’ll find any one of our team members answering your chat. It’s what we love to do.

Olark is headquartered in San Francisco. We also have an office in Ann Arbor, MI, our "hometown", as well as employees across the US, Canada, Brazil and the U.K.