Interactive content is any of type of digital media that creates a two-way “conversation” with the end user. A website visitor may be able to actively participate with your content through:
- Animated infographics
- Interactive curriculum
- Live chats
- Interactive timelines
For example, the BBC created an extremely engaging web page that tries to put the vastness of our universe in perspective. As you scroll down the page, a rocket takes flight throughout our solar system, highlighting landmark distances as you pass them. If you scroll in the opposite the direction, the rocket changes course, and you can view other details or information you may have missed.
By the end of it you might feel a little dizzy – but also exhilarated.
According to data from Playbuzz, 58 percent of marketers say their existing content doesn’t create enough opportunity for engagement. That’s where the power of interactive content comes in – by definition, it’s highly engaging. In contrast, other content types we’ve listed offer an unresponsive experience, no matter how interesting, insightful, or humorous.
Only interactive content allows visitors to turn into users who take action on your website. And it doesn’t need to be a trip through space, either. Calculators, infographics, and quizzes like the one Sophia took to learn more about her career options are much more common.
As Scott Brinker, VP of Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot, notes: “By its very nature, interactive content engages participants in an activity: answering questions, making choices, exploring scenarios. It’s a great way to capture attention right from the start. Individuals have to think and respond; they can’t just snooze through it.”
Why use interactive content?
Done well, interactive content can drastically improve conversion rates across your website. In fact, we’ve had cases where optimizing an existing quiz has improved conversation rates by 130 percent in just one month. In a 2017 study on interactive content from Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the majority of their 20,000 survey respondents agreed that interactive content provides numerous benefits:
Forty-six percent of survey respondents to the CMI study said their organization uses some type of interactive content as part of their overall mix of content marketing tactics to engage users. Usage was higher than average among enterprise organizations with more than 1,000 employees, at 63 percent.
What is the purpose of interactive content?
According to the CMI survey, marketers use interactive content for:
- Engagement (66%)
- Educating the audience (63%)
- Creating brand awareness (58%)
- Lead generation (57%)
- Conversion (50%)
- Sales/sales enablement (33%)
Interactive content can be highly shareable and, when set up correctly, can even provide opportunities for personalization. With this kind of potential, 88 percent of marketers believe interactive content is an effective way to differentiate a brand, according to Ion Interactive.
These results highlight the growing sophistication of content marketing practices and strategies. Interactive content isn’t a direct sales tactic. Rather, it enables organizations to educate their audiences in a way that lets the visitor participate in the experience – a key way to secure engagement and keep people coming back for more.
How to develop interactive content
Upgrade existing content
Everyone cringes at the thought of creating something from scratch. So, try to make it easier! Examine the content you’ve already created – can you repurpose some of those assets so they become interactive? Could your sales team’s product and pricing sheets become online assessments, planners or calculators?
Match interactive content to the customer journey
Determine which types of interactive content will have the greatest impact at specific points in your customer journey:
Start by identifying friction points. Where do users tend to abandon your content or your site? Could interactive content keep them engaged?
If you’re refreshing existing content, pit your old, static version against your new, interactive version. How does behavior and engagement change? Do visitors stay on the page or site longer? Are you earning more authoritative links due to your new, (hopefully) more engaging content?
Use your tests and results to make wise spending decisions. Avoid investing significant time or resources into too many interactive pieces until you’re confident when and how they will drive results. Creating interactive content can be costly, especially if you’re starting from scratch.
Find a vendor or software solution
If you don’t have internal resources or a freelancer who can help create this kind of dynamic content, consider trying some of the many online tools available:
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