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How to Increase Employee 401(k) Contribution and Participation with Interactive Video

by Max Alex

Tapping into an innate desire

Crucial to the success of any employee benefit plan is the cooperation and participation of a company’s employees. This applies in particular to the success of a company’s 401(k) plan. So how can you increase employee 401(k) contribution?

At Magnet Media, we regularly work with companies that are trying to drive engagement and participation when it comes to 401(k) plans. What we’ve learned is that the majority of employees are not maximizing defined contribution plans in ways that set them up for prosperous and sustainable retirement. And this even includes highly educated employees.

A key insight is people have an innate desire for a secure future. So how do you tap into that natural desire, capturing their attention long enough to drive the behavior that leads to increased participation and contribution?

Cutting through the clutter

It’s no surprise that we’re seeing shorter attention spans in an age where “always on,” “real-time information” is constantly at our fingertips. Cutting through the clutter is not an easy challenge to overcome, even within the workplace. The slew of content that bombards us today causes us to question everything.

In our fast-paced world of snaps and swiping, it’s hard to connect with viewers due to the sheer amount of content they are exposed to each day. Part of the reason viewers feel overwhelmed is that most of the content they see is irrelevant to their daily life and a waste of their time.

Statistics on information overload

The power of video

So what about video as a means to get your message across and engage your audience? At Magnet Media, we eat, sleep, and breathe all things video, so we are huge believers. But we are far from the only ones.

According to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “video is a mega trend.” In his keynote at Facebook’s F8 developer conference last year, Zuckerberg said that in the next decade “video will look like as big a shift in the way we share and communicate as mobile has been.”

Zuckerberg’s observations are already being proved true. In 2016 alone, Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube saw more than 20 billion video views per day. This shift is most definitely changing expectations as it relates to all of our online experiences, whether as an employee or consumer. But most video is a one-size-fits-all experience. What if tapping into the innate desire of having a secure future requires a more personalized approach?

Why personalization matters

Every organization consists of different types of people at various stages of their careers. In general, we know that targeted, personalized communications work better than those that are generic. Watson Wyatt’s latest 401(k) Value Index research shows that personalized statements have participants contributing 85 percent more of their salary to their 401(k) plans. Additionally, companies that offer personalized statements see 6 percent more of their staff contributing overall, compared to those businesses that don’t offer personalized statements.

What if you were able to create a video experience that was able to successfully identify and segment each group and guide them down a path of relevant content? How does one marry personalization with the power of video?

User experience + video = branching interactive video

Branching video is a user experience made up of multiple videos being stitched together to create different paths. Think of it as a user-controlled, navigable, response-provoking video experience that’s akin to navigating a website. It allows a diverse audience to self-identify and begin to choose the content that is most relevant to them.

This invites the user to lean in and participate. The act of participation deepens engagement, enhances learning, and accelerates behavior change. It also generates data. With every click of a button, you gain useful insights about your audience.

map of branching interactive video paths

The proof is in the pudding

The results are real. According to digital agency Rm214, “interactive videos are engaging viewers longer than standard videos, with completion rates around 90 percent compared to 50 percent to 85 percent for linear videos—and interactive videos often have repeat videos. Click-through rates for interactive video are also higher at 5 percent to 12 percent compared to 1 percent to 2 percent for typical video advertising. A well-done interactive video will stand out and provide a memorable experience, one viewers will be motivated to share.”

We at Magnet Media have experienced similar success rates when employing this solution to drive 401(k) participation and increased contribution. We’ve seen unprecedented engagement and conversion rates (linking out to check on current contributions in addition to increasing their amounts) in comparison to results from traditional communication efforts.

How we did it

Every project begins with the production plan, but interactive video is a hybrid: part video production, part user experience, so we had to develop a new approach. Unlike linear video scripting and development, which at its core has a beginning, middle, and end, interactive video gives us the ability to place viewers at different points in the video by creating diagnostic checkpoints based on their responses.

Using interactive video to get people to participate in 401K

We began by establishing basic milestones that any potential 401(k) participant might meet—from something as basic as enrollment in their company plan to more advanced steps like contributing the maximum amount allowed by the government. From there, we outlined scripts that would guide each viewer through those milestones, changing their course depending on how they responded to our prompts.

This allowed us to shape the audience experience around the choices they made and gave us the opportunity to provide them with information and guidance that was unique to their specific needs, as well as appropriate actions they might take to improve their 401(k).

Scripting and animation were then carefully crafted following an “action and reward” model, where each response from the viewer was rewarded with either an engaging animation or relevant information, ensuring that viewers would be more likely to continue the video through to the end. This model also gave viewers a more active, conversational experience.

We’re thrilled to welcome Magnet Media’s Director of Motion & Interactive, Max Alex, as our featured guest writer. Max has developed original design concepts, marketing campaigns, and digital media for the past 10 years and is armed with a comprehensive awareness and love of new platforms, tech, and trends.

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