A guide to ‘hotspotting’ video content

Hotspotting allows viewers to engage directly with your video content by introducing clickable areas (hotspots) that link through to further product information or even directly to a shopping basket to purchase the item. Hotspotting delivers a two-tier benefit. Firstly, it creates a richer experience for viewers – if they see something they like in a video, one click of the mouse delivers more detailed product information, which they might otherwise have spent hours trying to track down. Secondly, the video itself, if well produced, optimised and marketed supports natural search objectives. The content has the potential to feature in ‘blended’ search results and garner all-important links.

We recently hotspotted the launch video for a new luxury fragrance from Penhaligon’s called Juniper Sling. We linked two hotspotted product sections to the Juniper Sling e-commerce page on the Penhaligon’s website to ensure any coverage of the video would provide a purchase opportunity. Other uses for which hotspotting works well are catwalk show videos, lifestyle footage with product placement or bespoke hotspotted campaign videos like Cartier’s Winter Tale for Christmas last year.

The hotspotting process

In hotspotting video content, we use a piece of software called LinkTo provided by Markettiers4DC. You have two upload options:  using a mov video file which is hosted by the LinkTo domain (costs apply) or you can use an existing Youtube link to the video from a brand’s YouTube channel (this is a cheaper option). However, unless a brand has a paid for ‘brand channel’ on YouTube, unfortunately the final hotspotted content will not appear on the YouTube channel itself.

Your video can be any duration, so long as the file size does not exceed 500MB. Once you have uploaded your video, you can also upload a preview image which will appear at the start of the video before your viewer presses play.

To create the hotspots, play your video and pause it when you want to add a hotspot. The hotspot will appear on your video with white corner markers and an associated hotspot timeline will appear below the video timeline.  You now resize your hotspot to cover the area you want to link and drag your hotspot timeline to where the feature (a product, for example) moves off screen. To test your hotspot is appearing and tracking correctly at any time, just play the video on this page.

You can now create as many hotspots with different associated interactive landing pages as you like. You can associate the hotspot with an interactive landing page with further product information or link directly to an e-commerce page.

Finally, you can choose from a range of skins for your video player and preview the final hotspotted video. Once payment is authorised, you will be supplied with embed codes for your final video.

How to work with hotspotted videos

Hotspotted videos are best used for online media press kits and across a brand’s own website and marketing channels. For Penhaligon’s, we sold in the video, fragrance samples and backstory of the perfume creation to key lifestyle, cocktail and fashion blogs. The Penhaligon’s website and Facebook pages used the LinkTo generated video code for the hotspotted video.


Our objective for this activity was online PR coverage and over a two week period we secured twelve mentions on our targeted blogs with an audience reach of 750,989. We achieved additional mentions in social networks reaching an additional 50,489 followers – including a Tweet by Sunday Times Style.

Hotspotting works well for securing creative coverage and links but it’s still a relatively new content tactic and needs to be further tested for concrete e-commerce effectiveness.

See our hotspotted Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling launch video below:

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