The phrase “interactive content” is probably not new to you. If it is, then here is a brief description: unlike other content that a reader or viewer would simply read or watch or listen to, interactive content requires actual engagement to push the story or the content along.
A simple example would be a quiz along the lines of “Which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle would you be?”
“What Disney Princess are you?”
The reader clicks through a fun little personality quiz and it gives them an answer at the end, along with a shareable button. When they click the button, it’s posted on their social media sites that they are a “Michelangelo” or “Cinderella.”
These types of interactive pieces have viral juice running through them because the friends and followers that see the results of the quiz will have their interest piqued. They want to see what Ninja Turtle or Disney Princess they would be so they click on the quiz, take it for themselves and then post the results. Rinse and repeat, and that quiz can take off pretty quickly.
By the way, just a note here. You may have noticed that creators of interactive content can (and usually do) design the pieces to where the result is guaranteed to stroke the user’s ego. For example, if I take a quiz to find out what Marvel superhero I am and my result is the Incredible Hulk well then that makes me feel good, so I share it.
A recent survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute showed us that 51% of content marketers are using interactive. And what’s more interesting is why. 75% of those surveyed said that they use interactive content to educate the audience. That’s an interesting metric to consider if you have a new product or service that depends on educating the viewer in order to drive acquisition.
Big companies have been using interactive content for a while now. Things like surveys, personality quizzes, reaction or opinion polls and interactive stories have proven to be solid models. They provide engagement. The results are measurable. And these pieces can also be easily branded with a company’s logos and links built in.
In a moment, I am going to show you how small to medium businesses, startups and even solopreneurs can create and distribute interactive content at the push of a button. But first, let’s look at a couple of fresh examples from some of the big guys.
Let’s talk about Netflix for a moment. They are continuing to exceed performance expectations. Their last quarterly report, for Q4 of 2016, beat expectations by over 15%. They brought on 7 million new subscribers in the final fiscal quarter of the year, and their stock prices surged 8–9%.
Now that can be attributed to Netflix’s prescient ability to seem to always be at the right place at the right time, but there is probably a bigger factor in play: they have an unprecedented level of access to user data that none of their competitors have.
Think about it. If I open Netflix on my account, and you open Netflix on yours, and we put them side by side? Well the recommendations they give me are going to be different than the ones they give you, because they have a tightly orchestrated algorithm that informs the content choices that are provided to each one of their users.
So it would stand to reason that Netflix might be a passable arbiter when it comes to deciphering consumer choices and trends.
Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Netflix is working on producing original, interactive content. Kind of like those old choose your own adventure stories, where you (as the viewer) get to make decisions about where the narrative goes.
That’s a big move. When a company as well informed in user data has decided to make that play, it should be noted and perhaps followed.
Remember Shazam? The audio recognition app that you could use to hold up to a speaker to find out the title and artist of a song? Well, they haven’t gone anywhere.
By the way, when Shazam first started out in 2002, smartphones were a thing of the future. At that time, their model was based on their users calling up a number and holding a cellphone to a speaker. Then the user would wait to get a text from Shazam with the artist and the track title. Can you imagine living in such barbaric times?
Flash forward to today, and not only have they incorporated photo and video recognition, they have 100 million active users via their smartphone app. Disney, Target and the Wall Street Journal have partnered with them. And get ready for this: users implement the app 20 million times per day, worldwide.
Regarding interactive content? Here’s what Shazam decided to do. Earlier this month they announced that they are launching a new program called Shazam Codes. This is a platform that will allow companies to integrate QR codes with user experiences. The users will be able to interact with content on business cards, posters, and in-store collateral.
Their first guinea pig is Beam Suntory, one of the world’s largest spirit manufacturers. (To be clear, Beam Suntory doesn’t make ghosts. They make liquor). Beam Suntory makes Sauza and Hornito’s premium tequilas and in the Shazam Code rollout, they are placing interactive QR codes on in-store mechandise. The codes can be activated using the Shazam app.
By scanning the code, users will be able to interact with an in-store memory quiz. The campaign is scheduled to launch in late April and lead up to a big Cinco de Mayo denouement.
This is the beta stage of Shazam codes, and if all goes well, then they will be able to roll it out for wider usage that will include access for smaller brands. The end game has the technology being made available for marketers across all industries and company sizes.
The Little Guy
That’s all great, right? And even though it might be a little Bladerunnery, advancing technology is creating interactive content platforms that can be leveraged by SMBs and startups.
Maybe you have a medium sized business that specializes in providing HR software solutions. Maybe you are a startup cyber security firm. Or maybe you are a mom and pop BBQ restaurant that just openend and you want to engage with your community.
You realize how effective shareable interactive content can be, but it’s not in the budget or scope of your marketing plan to incorporate a team of code captains to put quizzes and surveys together for your target market.
I have you covered.
The good news is that interactive content creation is very quickly going mainstream. The bad news is that because of its accessibility, we may see saturation within a couple of years. Early adopters will prevail and I have the resources for you to jump on the train before it gets too crowded.
Wow. I love these guys. Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with them apart from being a big fan.
Riddle allows super simple interactive content creation that can be embedded within your site, shared in social media (both from creator and user perspectives), and branded with your own logos and calls to action.
The formats they offer are surveys, interactive stories, quizzes, personality tests, opinion polls and reaction polls.
It’s very easy to use. No coding or HTML or anything. You just pick your format and enter your information. You could make an interactive piece of content about anything you want.
Here’s the best part. They offer a free 2 week trial. And even better, it’s not some bullshit trial meant to fish hook you for a hefty charge after the trial period (which they know you will forget to cancel). You can use the full functionality of the program for two weeks without the need to provide any payment information.
I have only had a chance to play around with it a little bit, but already I love it. Here is a Chicago Cubs trivia quiz that I made just for fun, to test it out.
Brackify is a tool that allows you to create interactive voting brackets. Think of March Madness but the winners are determined by engaged voting from your users. The nice thing about this model is that it keeps users coming back to your site to keep an eye on the results even after their initial engagement.
Are you sick and tired of hearing about how content is all about video these days? Well me too, but they may be right. I won’t inundate you with stats about video content because I’m sure you have already read them.
That being said, even straight video is not necessarily interactive. It’s just another form of output/input. If you are implementing video in your campaigns then here is a way to make things interactive.
Vizia has a great tagline: “The end of passive viewing.”
With Vizia, you can add questions and quizzes to your video content for people to engage with while they watch your video content.
They make it easy to add things like multiple choice questions and polls into your videos and the best part is that you can push the interaction to capture leads along the way.
Interactive content is not going anywhere but up. Instead of moping around and thinking that your company does not have the resources to develop IC, take a look at these tools and start throwing some interactive material into the mix. Interactive content is no longer outside of the reach of smaller brands, and with these tools you are only limited by your imagination.