Most marketers have heard about the rise of interactive content. Interactive content includes anything that your consumers click on, swipe, or interact with. According to Martech Advisor, “interactive email content increases the click-to-open rate by 73% and adding videos to your email content can boost click rates up to 300%.”

But why do customers and subscribers prefer interactive content? And if they do, how do we as an industry rise to meet their demands?

As interactive content permeates the marketing sphere, brands are jumping on the bandwagon to experiment, especially when it comes to email. Many of those brands are already finding that their subscribers love interactive content in email.

What is interactive content in email?

Interactive content is anything that requires a viewer to actively engage and participate with the content to access the full experience, usually by tapping, swiping, or interacting with the piece of content. Interactive email just incorporates that premise into an email campaign.

Due to technical challenges, email is still playing catch-up when it comes to adding interactivity. However, there are a few ways to give your emails an interactive edge right now. Soon though, we expect emails to be on par with other web properties. Gmail seems to already be laying the groundwork for this to happen.

GIFS are probably the most prevalent example of interactive content in email, but linking to videos or other interactive experiences is becoming more common. This great holiday GIF from Fundbox, for example, uses motion to capture the eye and lead it down the page towards a CTA.

Consumers want to be entertained

According to an interactive email survey, consumers, above anything else, want to have fun. More than they want to be informed, or made to feel curious, customers are looking for their favorite brands to entertain them with cutting-edge interactive content. In fact, according to DemandGen, 91% of B2B buyers prefer to consume interactive and visual content.

Since interactive content requires the recipient to act in order to get the full message, the recipient then becomes part of your marketing, which boosts engagement and feelings of brand loyalty. So why does interactive content convert so consistently? (Interactive content generates 2x more conversions than passive content, according to Kapost).

The survey revealed that interactive content is rated as more engaging than static content, as the respondents rated it even more enticing than images and videos, with 69% of them preferring GIFs, 65% preferring video, and 82% preferring interactivity in any form over traditional static emails.

Survey results readers want entertainment

How you can entertain your email recipients:

You can also provide your customers entertainment in the form of curiosity by utilizing proven psychological principles to motivate interaction. Interactive content is perfect for fostering curiosity through creating tension. Experiences that require an action to uncover part of the marketing message, like a digital scratch-it, are more likely to convert than traditional text or image-based campaigns.

Finally, you can boost your marketing message further by offering a deal or discount, which encourages consumers to share with their friends and family. Combine your existing deal or discount content with an added boost of interactivity to get better results.

Personalization rules the interactive content world

Interactive content also gives brands the ability to take their email personalization to the next level. The modern consumer expects brands to speak directly to them, and personalization continues to grow in popularity among marketers as the years pass.

Why is personalization so important? Well, mostly because a personalized marketing message allows the user to feel like they’re building a reciprocal relationship with your brand. This increases feelings of loyalty and brand affinity. In the survey mentioned above, 69% of respondents stated they were more likely to buy from a brand that uses personalization techniques over brands that don’t offer any personal connection in their content.

Survey results email personalization interactive content

Still not convinced that personalization and interactive content is the way to succeed with your next email campaign? Just read these real responses from survey participants about why they’re more motivated to open and engage with personalized, interactive emails:

  1. I love interactive websites and emails. It says the business has invested in me, their products and my opinions.
  2. It makes me remember the brand.
  3. I love emails that really POP! Having something interactive engages me more and hold my attention.

How you can personalize interactive emails:
Personalized interactive emails are fairly easy to create, especially if you’re using GIFs. Nearly every ESP plays nicely with GIFs used as images (just look at our example below!).

Using personalization tokens is another easy way to sneak in some personalization to your emails in general. If you pair this with interactivity, you will find it creates a more one-to-one feel for the recipient. This is because they have to participate in your offer.

Segmentation can also help you personalize your content. If you can segment your lists properly you can send different types of interactive experiences to each of those lists. This will make their experience with your brand very relevant and enjoyable.

Consumers want interactive content above all else

For years, marketers have known that images, GIFs and video improve email KPIs. Not only do these visual elements drive more conversions, but the also ensure more of your marketing message is retained by your target audience.

In fact, when people simply hear information they retain about 10% of what they learned 3 days later. However, pair a relevant image with that information and customers remember 65% of the same information three days out! If images and video are so effective in driving conversions and creating brand stickiness, how does interactive content stack up?

It turns out the staggering consumer preference for images and visual content continues as marketers incorporate dynamic, interactive content in our emails. In fact, interactive content outperformed every other type of content in a survey done by Zembula.

When survey participants were shown two different emails and asked which one they were more likely to engage with, interactive content beat out static content by a landslide. Only 18% of survey respondents preferred traditional static email campaigns, while a whopping 82% were more likely to respond to the interactive message.

Consumer Survey - Content Preference

Wrap up

We feel strongly that Interactive content will continue to grow in 2018, as consumers come to expect even more entertainment, personalization, and engagement from brands. Not only do potential customers overwhelmingly prefer interactivity in their email, it makes them more likely to read, remember, share, and convert. These trends in email are only going to grow as companies shift away from mass marketing to something more personalized and engaging.