Content marketing is becoming less about the words you put on a page, and more about the experiences you create for the consumer.
As more brands realize this, they’re working with tools that foster real interaction from page visitors. Interactive content doesn’t just encourage action from visitors — it responds to them.
What is Interactive Content?
Interactive content is anything that requires participants’ active engagement – something more than simply reading or watching. In return for their engagement, participants receive real-time responses and information.
Early adopters of interactive content marketing have used online quizzes, calculators, surveys, white papers and infographics. The power of interactive content marketing lies in its ability to engage and involve the consumer — and leave them wanting more. According to SnapApp’s white paper, What Is Interactive Content and Why It Works, interactive content is proven to generate leads, build prospect profiles and drive more sales. It’s a tactic both B2Bs and B2Cs can employ.
Types of Interactive Content
The goal of interactive content is to deliver a unique personal experience, Nicolette Beard explains in Content Marketing with Interactive Tools: Pros, Cons, Examples & Best Practices. Content that enables user input and produces customized output can be very effective — as can content that simply answers questions or facilitates a process.
Consider the following types of interactive content and determine which may be most effective for your brand’s audience and budget:
Allowing prospects to calculate the value of using your products can help them move to the next step of the buyers’ journey. Calculators can also capture important customer data that contributes to your target audience’s profile. They’re a tool that keeps customers coming back to your website.
One of the earliest custom calculators was a handheld Oncology Dosage Calculator, developed by UltiTech, Inc. for Burroughs Welcome Co. in 1993. (Full disclosure: CyberAlert Blog editor William J. Comcowich is CEO of UltiTech, Inc. as well as CyberAlert.)
The calculator enabled physicians to select an oncology regimen and then easily calculate the dosages of individual drugs in the multidrug protocols based on the individual patient’s height, weight and body mass. The physician could also store the regimen for future reference. Similar medical calculators are now available online or in smartphone apps.
The financial services company Bankrate developed a refinancing calculator to help consumers determine whether they should refinance their mortgage (and use Bankrate’s services down the line to help them do so).
Brackets pit consumers against each other in a set of rounds until a winner is announced. They competitive games build long periods of engagement — and motivate customers to “beat” the other teams.
While brackets are most effective during major sporting events, brands can use them at any time of the year. Tools like Brackify enable brands to create interactive voting brackets and customize other voting details. Here’s an example from BostInno, a local tech news site in Boston, which encouraged Bostonians to vote for the company they thought would be the most valuable in five years:
Tests and quizzes both educate and entertain your audiences. They also provide information about your target audience and encourage the audience to share their results with friends and family.
Quizzes are becoming increasingly popular on viral sites like BuzzFeed — in fact, “Quizzes” now have their own category on the listicle website. Check out this quiz from BuzzFeed that enables visitors to find out which X-Men villain they are most related to:
The key to an effective quiz is to relate the content to a timely topic, well-known places or celebrities. For more tips on creating quizzes, visit Marketing Tips for Creating Quizzes That Engage Your Audience.
Gamifying content requires a larger marketing investment, but the engagement and attention it gains is usually worth it. Consider Magnum Ice Cream’s Magnum Pleasure Hunt, a flash-based interactive game that went viral. More than 7 million people visited Magnum’s website to play the game, prompting two sequels and tons of reach.
Tip: keeping track of gamers’ scores and allowing them to share scores with friends can help the simplest of games drive extraordinary reach.
Infographics are always effective — even more so when they respond to the users viewing them. One of our favorite examples is The Scale of the Universe, which illustrates the vastly different dimensions of animals and objects in the universe. Visitors can scroll in and out to see how the size of a grain of salt compares to an ant, to a human, to a Boeing 747, to the State of California, to the Earth, to the Milky Way…and so on.
One of the most difficult challenges for content marketers is to attract — and keep — consumers’ attention. Interactive content stands out from “passive content” and transforms content into a memorable experience.
This article originally appeared on the CyberAlert Blog.