Making your Videos more interactive

Taggled’s technology enables content creators to insert interactive tags to highlight the people, places, and products featured in the video. These tags can provide viewers with additional information, such as which song is used as the backing track, where the video was filmed, and more details on the featured product. The tags also allow creators to direct viewers to outlets where they can purchase featured products or content, as well as to the websites and social feeds of other individuals starring in the video.

In the UK alone, over a billion videos are viewed each month online. But viewing is typically as far as it goes. What if you want to know more about something you see in a video? What if you want to buy that thing? There is a need to offer viewers a way to interact with objects and moments in videos so they can dig deeper into what they’re seeing. Of all those videos, it’s the solo producers, like video bloggers and independent filmmakers, that account for a big share of the content creation. Largely these indies are making and publishing videos for the love of it and not getting paid for their work. Taggled is a new tagging service that allows viewers to interact with existing video content, while giving video creators a way to get paid for promoting products.

The birth of Taggled is a classic entrepreneur’s tale, told by its founder Ian Scott. Back in August 2012, Ian met a friend for coffee, who told him about a frustrating Saturday he had recently spent while his wife and kids were out shopping. The friend had sat down to watch a movie in their absence. Within the first five minutes he saw an item of clothing on-screen that he wanted to buy for himself. He paused the film and jumped online. But knowing nothing about the item – brand name, retailers, etc. – he wasted his Saturday searching for it in vein. When the wife and kids returned, he’d not even finished his movie. This was the genesis of Taggled, a “simple solution to a simple problem”, as Ian puts it – a way to help people who want to buy or know more about things they’ve seen in videos.

Taggled is free to use. Anyone publishing a video online can use Taggled to add a new layer of interactivity over that video, by tagging it. These tags are like bookmarks, referencing not just a specified point on the screen but also a range of time from precise start to end points. Tags can be used to highlight any subject matter, currently covered by six tag types: music, geolocation, information, person, product, and media (the latter being a link to anywhere elsewhere on the web, such as a page, image, video, etc.). Viewers see these tags overlaid on top of the video, with the option to switch them off at any time as they would already be used to doing with YouTube’s overlays.

Taggled is indeed a simple solution for the user, but there are exciting corollaries to its invention that go beyond tagging. Firstly, the tags are designed to be friendly to search engines, with each tag having a unique URL and some optional description text. When you consider that the tag points to a precise range of time in an online video, Taggled could thus be building a whole new directory for the world’s search engines. Users can jump straight to where they want to be in any video that interests them. It’s easy to imagine loads of applications for this, across sport, action, commentary, politics, consumerism, you name it. Another innovation in the system is the automatic generation of a thumbnail for each tag, that can be used for sharing the tag with others. With these thumbnails, content creators have an additional resource for increasing the distribution and varied use of their videos. One way to look at this new toolkit is that it allows creators to share part of a video, when before it was all or nothing. “You wouldn’t share a whole website so why do we share a whole video?” Ian asked. He explained that Taggled is trying to make “video interact with the web, instead of just sitting on it”.

Taggled.tv is not a destination site, and users are encouraged to embed their content on their blog and through their social media feed. Taggled is Twitter approved and videos tagged through it can be viewed and clicked on within Twitter and Facebook Feeds.

Ian and the team come from a software development background, building bespoke business applications, typically operating in the cloud. They brought that experience into the formation of Taggled, keen to build it for scalability and complexity from Day One. This has allowed for rapid and flexible development. When Instagram added videos to its platform, Taggled rolled-out an integrating feature two days later. Also from the start the team stitched metrics and measurement into the heart of the product. Ian is a self-confessed data geek and he realises that the more the creators can learn from their audience through interaction data, the more they can do to improve the quality of their content and services. For instance, the platform can already tell the creator at which points in a video the volume was turned up or down, indicating how viewers react to certain content.

Taggled is currently the only company allowing users to buy directly from video in Twitter. This means Taggled is able to show the true ROI of Twitter follower straight from twitter.

Something striking about a product like Taggled, is the unavoidable question of why this doesn’t already exist, when it seems such an obvious evolution for online media. As usual though, Taggled isn’t alone here. When the team realised they had something valuable they new they needed to move into the market fast and with a strong offering to get ahead of the other products being developed on these lines. That’s the current trajectory. Taggled has released a minimum viable product in the form of its beta site, focused for now on a niche audience of fashion and beauty video bloggers. User feedback so far has shown appeal for the product and high engagement levels. The team has been expanded to strengthen its marketing and business development capabilities. Things are moving for Taggled and it’s not hard to imagine a future where their video tagging service is used widely across many sectors. Perhaps “taggling” will soon become a verb that even your grandma would know.

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