$76.6billion – no, not the projected box office gross of the just-announced Star Wars Episode VII (come on, you can’t not see it), but rather the amount predicted as being spent yearly on interactive marketing in the US by 2016.

According to the numbers provided in a recently-published report from Forrester Research, interactive marketing will, in just four years’ time, comprise 35% of all ad spending in the States, as brands look for ever-greater levels of engagement with their audience.

This rise of interactivity is scarcely a surprise, as recent years have witnessed the increasing ubiquity of interactive movie trailers (e.g. The Social Network, Scott Pilgrim), interactive music videos (Arcade Fire) and interactive video game promos (Assassin’s Creed III).

And most people have played around with at least one or two interactive videos online – whether ads (such as this one for IKEA and this one for Tipp-Ex), informational campaigns (such as this one from the Met Police), or more off-the-wall content (such as the Fine Brothers’ collection of interactive games).

Interactivity is clearly a marketing tool that commercial brands, filmmakers and viewers alike are embracing, and it’s even now starting to infiltrate the video content produced in aid of student recruitment, as these two case studies demonstrate…

CASE STUDY # 1: The Chicago Portfolio School, ‘Homepage Tour

Specialising in prepping students for entry into the ad industry, the Chicago Portfolio School has a homepage video which really shows that marketing savvy being put into practice, as a simple facilities tour is offered from a variety of perspectives – including an astronaut, a paper aeroplane, and basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain.

The video shows off the school and the creativity of those within, without wrecking the budget. And how many other homepage tour films are viewers going to willingly submit to four or five viewings of?

CASE STUDY # 2: The University of Sheffield, ‘University of Sheffield Tour   

This video series proves that interactivity need not necessarily entail reinventing the wheel: the tour format is succinct and straightforward, while the student presenter offers up all the relevant information with humour and personality.

Even the interactive elements are simply handled. Yes, there is huge potential with interactivity (for example, using Augmented Reality tools such as Aurasma and Layar to bring printed brochures and posters to life), but equally, as is the case here, simple YouTube annotations are often enough to accomplish what’s required.

Take a look at our own student recruitment work here

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