Live Video CTA: Add Clickable Video Overlays

Live Video CTA: Add Clickable Video Overlays

Need an effective CTA (Call To Action) for your live video marketing? Looking to add clickable video overlays?

CTAs are an important element of the overall conversion process. While video marketing can be valuable to build brand recognition, sometimes collateral is created for later in the sales funnel with the desire to convert. For these and other instances, IBM’s streaming video and enterprise video streaming users can now add live CTAs directly into the video player. These clickable video overlays can provide a clear next step for prospects who are watching live streaming content. For more information on using live video as part of your marketing strategy, also be sure to download our How to Increase Conversions with Online Video white paper.

Why are CTAs important?

Very briefly: a CTA is meant to interest an individual to take a specific action. The actual CTA can be a button or line of text while the action can range greatly, with examples including registration to actually purchasing a product.

Now CTAs are important for a variety of reasons. One is that it should make the path toward conversion that much easier for the individual. Clicking a button to purchase is much easier than telling someone how they can go to a different page and do the same action. In addition, these CTAs can offer valuable insight that a campaign or activity is successful. This can be as simple as using a UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) or other methods to tie conversions to these activities.

How live CTAs work for video

Live CTAs are clickable video overlays that can appear inside the player and on-top of the actual video content. Each CTA includes a:

  • Title (up to 30 characters)
  • Description (up to 70 characters)
  • Thumbnail
  • CTA button (up to 15 characters)

Broadcasters and marketers have control over each of these aspects, although space is limited as noted. The thumbnail is a square, so should have a 1:1 aspect ratio, and needs to be at least 200×200 pixels or larger. For the CTA button, it can lead to any desired URL.

The live CTAs are responsive as well. Their appearance will change based on the size of the player. If the player is below 640 pixels in width, but above 480 pixels, the CTA button is hidden. Clicking the overlay will still lead to the desired URL, though. In the scenario that the player is 480 pixels in width or less, the description is hidden while the CTA button becomes a text-like link.

Now content owners can save numerous live CTAs inside their IBM video streaming or enterprise video streaming account. Each channel can have a live CTA associated with it, which can be changed to a different one as needed. Inside the dashboard, inside the Manage CTAs interface, content owners can select to activate a specific CTA as well. Once active, the actual CTA will appear inside the player. It will remain there until the remove button is clicked, or the broadcast is stopped.

To learn more about how to setup a live CTA, read this IBM Watson Media CTA Help Guide.

Live Video CTA: Add Clickable Video Overlays

Creating an effective CTA

There are a number of elements that go into making a CTA particularly successful when combined with live content. Below are some tips to improve the conversion rate for a CTA.

  • Create a sense of urgency:
    A fantastic way to boost conversions is to add an element of urgency to the action. This can range from limited time offers to even limited time products or services. Playing against someone’s fear of missing out (FoMO) falls into this realm as well. If done successfully, a prospect can act much quicker and complete the desired action, removing some of the hesitation that might normally come with their buying journey.
  • Make it exciting:
    “Submit” and “click here” are just a few examples of vague, stale CTAs that don’t present much value. “Download”, “watch”, “register” and “start” in contrast are all exciting. They already tease the benefit and make the path toward being rewarded by doing the CTA seem quick.
  • Relevant:
    It might be hard to sell someone a new video game from a live stream on kitchen improvements. The CTA should be relevant to the content itself. A simple exercise can be to ask yourself who is going to be watching this video and what are their interests? Are they a natural fit for my product or solution, and is the content related in a way that the CTA will feel natural? A slam dunk CTA is to do a live product demo and then direct people to where they can get the item being demoed. If you are interested in learning more on doing product demos, also be sure to watch our How to Make Better Live Product Demos webinar.
  • Concise path to conversion:
    Once a user engages with a CTA, it should be a clear and logical path toward their conversion. The CTA should also line up with a good landing page. Having a CTA that touts downloading a white paper but then drops them on the home page with a different CTA of signing up for a free trial will likely cause confusion and abandonment. It’s also important to align CTAs with where someone might be in the sales cycle. A general event on your industry might be a great time to hit them with a CTA to download marketing collateral, while a live product demo might fit in with just trying to get them to buy the service.
  • Deliver on a clear CTA:
    A CTA should be clear and should lead them on a journey that won’t make a user feel deceived. While a “100% free” message might get more clicks, it might also cause a lot of abandonment if later in the process someone sees an actual price and is told to put in a credit card. So make sure the message and what the user will get in return for completing the CTA is clear and what it’s promising is valid.
  • Test and optimize:
    Tracking is critical for CTAs. One wants to test which messaging and which offers are doing best. After finding a winning combo, that messaging should be used more heavily… but one shouldn’t stop experimenting. Messaging and offers can get stale, so one should look toward what their next winner might be. Plus, just because the CTA was the victor of your current ones doesn’t mean a better one isn’t out there.

Clickable video overlay APIs

Introduced in December of 2020, APIs are offered for the CTA functionality. This allows various functions to be introduced in other platforms and custom built processes. These API functions include:

  • Creating a CTA
  • Uploading an image for a CTA
  • Returning list of CTAs
  • Getting information on an already setup CTA
  • Activating a CTA on a stream
  • Deactivating a CTA on a stream
  • Deleting a CTA
  • Editing a CTA

More information on this is available on our developer website.


Live CTAs are a fantastic way to tie conversions directly toward video marketing activities. As a result, companies can double down on live content that has been most fruitful and learn what type of content is resonating. In addition, an effective CTA can also greatly boost conversions, giving a clear next step direction for users and spelling out the value of that action as well.

Note, the live CTA feature can be used with both the video streaming offering and enterprise video streaming offering from IBM. While a clear use case is video marketing and conversions, it can also be used for internal use cases as well. For example, a training session could use a live CTA as a link to learn more. It could also be used as a “carrot”, a reward that is only activated toward the end of the session as a reward to those who watched the internal content toward completion or almost completion.