Oh, those Facebook quizzes. Who can resist them? What kind of an animal are you?
What 70’s sitcom parent are you? We take them because they are fun and entertaining, and we can then share the quiz with our results.
These are wildly popular and content spreads virally through these shares.
When you take these quizzes or participate in a poll during which you are given the results as you answer the questions, you have also engaged in interactive content.
And what content marketers are now realizing is that these types of interaction capture visitors for longer periods of time and get a much higher percentage of click-throughs than standard content with just basic media.
So, if you are not investigating all of the possibilities for interactive content in your strategy, be prepared to be ignored.
Defining Interactive Content
Anytime a visitor is asked to respond in some way to content that is presented, that content is interactive. Some interactive content simply records the user’s responses; other interactive content takes user responses and calculates a result.
This is the type of content you most commonly encounter on social media.
Finally, there is the content that you are consuming when you use interactive infographics or complex calculators.
As a content marketer, you can use a large variety of interactions – here are 7 types to explore and consider.
Interactive Video Marketing
Rather than just show a video to your visitor, allow that visitor to have fun by interacting in some way.
There are a few ways to do this – the visitor can click on a specific spot in the video to get more information about something (interactive hot spots).
Or, as in the case of Philips Razors below, the video can be a story and the visitor gets to finish the story by clicking on one of the beards at the bottom.
Publisher’s Clearing House was perhaps one of the first companies to use this.
Visitors could come to the site and play a scratch-off game to determine what discount they would get on a magazine purchase.
Other forms of interactive content can involve drawing a picture or building a puzzle to get a discount.
Motion interactions require that a user shake or tilt the tablet or phone to reveal the promotion.
Macy’s recently used a reveal-based banner ad, and its analytics showed that the average person spent 3 minutes interacting with the unit.
This is a simple and effective way to get your visitors involved. Instead of just giving feedback, however, the audience should be able to see the total results as s/he adds a vote.
Users want to see how their responses compared to others, and if poll them about a product or service, you tell them that their opinion is important.
There are several great tools you can use to set up an interactive poll, including Polidaddy, Wedgies, and Poptip.
Hugely popular as Facebook and Buzzfeed have shown. These should be a part of your repertoire, and posting them on Facebook and Twitter is a must.
While most are fun and entertaining, there are serious and educational uses as well.
Here is a quiz developed by the American Heart Association in an attempt to educate visitors on what they know about heart disease risk.
Interactive White Paper
The old white paper is a boring, boring document. Yes, people download them, but after that, you have no idea if they are ever read.
A lot of work without a lot of data to demonstrate their effectiveness, whether they are called a “guide,” and “e-guide,” and “e-book,” or a “workbook.”
They are horribly overused now and definitely need a facelift. Enter the interactive white paper with lots of features and elements and filled with media. You can ask questions and then individualize the experience based upon their answers.
You can include videos, a calculator and more. Use an app like “SnapApp” to create them easily.
Infographics are another overused and, frankly, boring piece of media, unless they are very creatively designed. And again, there is no way to know whether people are really studying them for the information you want them to have.
If the make the infographic interactive, however, you will know, and you can get information that will allow you to personalize experiences, just as you can with new white paper designs.
Traditionally, calculators have been used by mortgage brokers and lenders, so that visitors can calculate their potential mortgage payments. Usually, to access the calculator, the visitor is asked to provide contact information.
The reason calculators have not been used more up until now is that they were horribly expensive to create – it literally took about 6 months of coding. This is no longer the case, and calculators are now being used for a wide variety of purposes.
Benefits of Interactive Content Marketing – Giving Users an Experience, not a Message
There is so much content floating around, users are almost overwhelmed. And, they are getting a bit smarter in their understanding that a business has the ultimate goal of sales.
So, in order to attract that visitor and in order to gain more engagement so that you can establish the relationships and trust that you need, you first need to get that visitor involved in some way.
Audience participation has long been a highly successful tactic during face-to-face presentations, in entertainment venues, and in the classroom. And all of these venues are engaged in sales of some sort. The classroom teacher, for example, is selling his/her subject to an audience that can be quite tough.
And one of the most effective means of “selling” that subject is to get the students actively involved in their learning. So, too, must content marketers involve their visitors and users.
Getting More Useful Information and data about a visitor. When polls, quizzes, surveys, and infographics are interactive, the business can pick up lots of information regarding issues and pain points of customers. When that happens, personalized treatment can occur that better meets the needs of that user. The user gets more tailored results.
Using Much More Detailed Information and Data to Drive Future Marketing. When a business has the demographic information, the educational needs and the pain points of its visitors, marketing efforts can be far more targeted.
Being Much More Competitive. You can be certain that your competitors are implementing an interactive content marketing strategy right now. They will leave you “in the dust” if you do not get on board with this.
Increased Social Shares: You know how important sharing is in terms of spreading your brand. If you do interactive content marketing right, you will certainly increase the “shares” of that content.
You Can Repurpose Old Content in New Ways. This is huge because there is stuff you want to bring up again, that you want to remind users of.
When you add interactive elements, you can tell your story in a new way, you can promote your products in new ways, and you can get more chances to get conversions from those users you did not convert before. Additionally, updating old content with new data improves its SEO. A good way to get your content refreshed without breaking the bank is to look at the list of academic help websites and choose best paper writing site for your needs. They work fast and know how to research and verify information online.
Other Considerations as You Move into Interactive Content
The decision to move into this arena is not without its challenges.
- It requires discipline. You must focus on the user experience first and foremost and on conversions second.
- Don’t pop up CTA’s or subtle sales pitches. Your users are getting smarter all the time
- It requires solid expertise in design and development. While there are some amazing tools out there that help you design and imbed interaction experiences, it takes a skilled designer to really do it well. If you are a small business and do not have this kind of staff, you obviously have to contract this out. It, therefore, becomes more expensive than blogging and adding a photo or a short video. You have to weigh the extra cost against the ROI you expect. The best method to do this is an experiment and use analytics to determine interaction, click-through, and shares. If you are getting good results that more than pay for the cost, you are in great shape. But be patient. You cannot make a “yay” or “nay” decision after one attempt.
- Users will come to expect a great experience more and more often. This will tax even the most creative person, so, again, it is conceivable that you will need to contract out with creative idea-generators who can work with your designers.
- Be selective about the interactive elements you choose to use. A B2B campaign will use certain elements well (white papers e.g.) and B2C campaigns will use other elements well. (motion interaction, scratch-offs, e.g.).
Interactive marketing is a strategy that is truly the next level of content strategies. Those companies that can afford to do it often, to do it well, and to saturate social media and their landing pages with these experiences will clearly have the advantage.
Small businesses with limited resources will need to use the tools and apps that are available and keep design costs to a minimum. One suggestion would be to use college interns and students who are highly skilled in the latest design techniques and will come in at a much cheaper cost.
The one consolation is that other small businesses tend to be just a limited, and that’s where the competition really is for you.
Don’t abandon all other content strategies.
There is still plenty of room for inexpensive interactions – contests, fan clubs, supporting a cause and inviting users to get involved, publicizing your team and telling great stories about them, using inexpensive methods of setting up surveys and polls (e.g. Survey Monkey), and so on. The most important thing is that you do keep your users engaged.
Select a few interactive experiences and test their effectiveness. All audiences are different, and yours may prefer certain types of interactions. When you figure this out, you know which ones to include in your strategies.
Consider re-purposing content that was quite popular several months to a few years ago, if it is still relevant. This will save you from having to come up with topic ideas as well as interactive experiences.
Just as with other types of content, the focus is not on you – it is on your audience. Do not attempt to put your sales pitch, your CTA, etc. within the initial interactive experience. This comes later, and you know this.
What have been your experiences with interactive marketing? Do you have some great ideas for its use? Please share!
Daniela McVicker is a passionate digital marketer. Daniela is interested in everything related to SEO and blogging. She collaborates with Essayguard where she shares her experience and helps marketers make their names in the online world.