Friday

Q&A Interview with Erika Trautman, Rapt Media CEO




Erika Trautman started out in the industry by running her own Emmy Award winning production company, Outlier Films, and also worked as a documentary filmmaker. “I’ve been a writer, producer, editor, and director in the past, so I have a true appreciation and understanding of the importance of online storytelling as a way to engage and communicate. Rapt Media was created as a result of my frustration and disappointment with online video’s inability to rise to its full digital potential,” she explains. Trautman continued, “Rapt Media technology platform helps to create interactive content marketing in the video space and has the only interactive storytelling video tech combining personalized narrative with data integration.”

In this interview, she talks about how her technology works, some examples, the data collected and some predictions regarding the influence of video in the future media space.

Charlene Weisler: How exactly does Rapt Media work?

Erika Trautman: Rapt Media is a cloud-based platform built and hosted on a global content delivery network that enables video to be viewed on desktop, tablet and mobile without downloading an app.

Charlene Weisler: How do you do that without an app?

Erika Trautman: Our HTML5 video player along with our patented encoding technology allows us to serve branching videos with clickable overlays to mobile devices without using a native app. Inserting a Rapt Media video is as easy as embedding a video from YouTube or Vimeo.
Viewers are invited to click/tap content within the video that lets them create their own personalized experience based on their individual behaviors and preferences.

Charlene Weisler: Can you give an example?

Erika Trautman: Warner Bros. used Rapt Media’s interactive video technology to create an entertaining, mobile-friendly campaign to engage millennials, boost ticket sales, and grow awareness of its box office release, “Focus.” The campaign allows users to step into the shoes of a con artist, testing their skills through a series of interactive scenarios to see if they have what it takes to pull off a con. Whether attempting to con the Internet Mogul, the Investment Banker, or the Art Dealer, the campaign gives users a more personalized experience with the story.

Charlene Weisler: How much is human input and how much can be handled by Rapt to craft the creative?

Erika Trautman: Our customers typically brief, concept and map out an interactive storyboard as part of the creative process which comes before scripting and production begins. Our platform is extremely user friendly so that non-video experts can easily create interactive video.  We often provide “best practice consultation” for the interactivity and branching options being explored by the client. After the shoot and post production, the client typically owns and manages the overall “build” of the interactive video experience within our platform.

Charlene Weisler: What data do you integrate?

Erika Trautman: The Rapt Media platform easily integrates with Learning Management Systems and Marketing Automation Systems like Eloqua, Marketo, and Hubspot, as well as analytics platforms including Google Analytics, Omniture, and CoreMetrics.


Charlene Weisler: Do you capture any data regarding consumer usage? If so what do you collect?

Erika Trautman: Our custom data analytics platform helps marketers track content performance in real-time based on robust user data including unique plays, total repeat viewers, average viewing time, total nodes (content areas) viewed per session, total video plays per user, and total number of times a link-out was clicked during a viewing session. Additional demographic data including country/location, device type, operating system and browser are also provided along with consumer/viewer insights from the content areas that are driving the highest level of engagement (nodes viewed and average time viewed).

Charlene Weisler: Are you able to get GPS location?

Erika Trautman: Our API allows two-way communication between the video player and surrounding page to integrate insights based on user behavior within the video as well as geolocation data to create a personalized content experience.

Charlene Weisler: Where do you see Rapt residing in the media ecosystem? Is this something that can be used by television networks to create new content or enhance the viewer experience?

Erika Trautman: Interactive video helps entertainment and news media organizations tell complex stories in a new way to enrich the user experience. It provides in-depth coverage on editorial topics and a deeper look into storylines based on the viewer’s unique interests. It drives new readers to the site and increases time spent engaging with the content.

Charlene Weisler: How has the activity of storytelling changed in the past few years? Are there truisms that stand the test of time? Anything different today?

Erika Trautman: The foundation of effective storytelling lies in the emotional connection created with the audience, and that vital component still remains true today. What has changed, however, is the way those connections are being made through emerging content formats. Passive, linear storytelling mediums do not allow the audience to engage dynamically with the content, restricting everyone to the same experience. Interactive storytelling creates the opportunity for engagement, allowing the audience to personalize content consumption based on their individual preferences and unique interests. Marketers are also able to collect valuable insights that help them better understand which storytelling elements are resonating with the audience.

Charlene Weisler: Looking ahead into the next three to five years, what predictions can you offer on the media landscape?

Erika Trautman: The category of “Content Tech” will grow and dominate. Marketers, brands and media companies will invest in technology platforms that enable the creation, management and measurement of personalized, digital brand experiences that can be optimized through data and user insights. Emerging technology will use key audience analytics to produce better creative that engages customers, creates and tracks behavior, permits continuous creative improvement and optimization and opens the door to a new age of storytelling interactive content, or what we call “the next layer of the web” will be at the center of those technologies.


This article first appeared in www.Mediapost.com

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