In the deluge of content flooding websites, email inboxes and social media feeds, it is harder and harder to stand out or make an impression. Readers are fatigued in many cases, and simply don’t stay engaged with content that seems to have little to differentiate it from all the rest they see.
Passive consumption allows readers and viewers to zone out and quickly forget what they just watched or read. But if you give your audience something to do, a way to be actively engaged in what they are learning or being entertained by, you are more likely to capture their attention, bring them back and encourage them to share your content. That is the power of interactive content.
What is interactive content?
Interactive marketing content can take many different forms, but all involve some kind of active engagement by the user, reader or viewer. It can range from calculators, which some businesses like financial institutions have used for years to draw traffic to their websites, to multimedia presentations and ebooks, infographics that sort and present data, and even user-controlled product demo walk-throughs.
Interactive content can be an effective way of portraying stories with multiple layers and elements in a user-friendly format.
It can be deployed through dedicated website pages, included in blog posts, used in virtual event presentations and shared on social media. The possibilities are basically as wide as your imagination.
Why is the use of interactive content on the rise?
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down in-person events, and in many cases, all in-person selling, interactive content was finding its way into a majority of marketers’ arsenals, with 85 percent telling DemandGen that they were already using or planning to use interactive infographics as part of their marketing strategy.
That lack of in-person events, though, has made the need for interactive content more urgent, as marketers and buyers seek to replace the physical, tactile experiences in which audiences were often able to see, touch and test products and learn about new technologies in ways that were immersive and engaging. With more B2B purchase research moving online, interactive content on company websites is one way of giving decision-makers the kind of autonomous access to information they are seeking.
Beyond necessity as a means of replacing the engagement that in-person events used to provide, interactive content simply performs. According to Demand Metric:
- Visual interactive content has a 70 percent conversion rate, compared to just 36 percent for passive content.
- Interactive content is ranked at 93 percent effective at educating buyers, compared to 70 percent for passive content.
- Interactive content is 88 percent effective in differentiating from competitors, vs. 55 percent for passive content.
- Interactive content is more than twice as likely to be shared.
It’s no wonder B2B marketers and B2B audiences are embracing the possibilities of interactive content.
Examples we love and why:
If you need a few ideas to get your creative juices running, here are a few favorites that have caught my eye recently.
This product demo concept fits with our philosophy of “if you’re curious, you can make anything interesting”. Even shipping containers can tell a visual virtual story when you allow the viewer to walk through and around, open the doors, and access specs and other information with the click of a mouse.
Visme packs a huge amount of information into a small space by turning a comparison of design tools into an interactive infographic that breaks down their scoring of the various tools on nine different criteria, using a chart that readers can hover over to activate a set of information for each of seven different tools.
Rather than create 50 individual infographics to detail the renewable energy futures of each state in the nation, Killer Visual Strategies helped The Solutions Project create a multilevel easily-searched, clickable infographic with two different layers of information. By simply hovering the mouse over a state, that state’s projected energy mix would be quickly represented in graphic format. Click on the state, and a new more detailed infographic pops up, taking the reader deeper into the information.
This ebook from Prophix adds audio files and animated graphics into what would normally be a static visual asset that users would simply read. With options to activate the audio or simply read the text and to either page through the content sequentially or use a menu to easily find the content they want, the interactive nature of the ebook puts the user in control of how he or she chooses to access the information. The audio aspect adds accessibility and lends even more authority to the content by featuring the voices of the experts rather than just their words, names and faces.
Social media content still may not be as complex as other interactive options, but posts like this, with embedded audio and an eye-catching animation help a tweet capture users’ attention in the fast-moving platform. It also allows more information to be presented beyond the 280-character limit, even if the user has sound turned off, as the animation shares the same statements as the audio file.
Interactive content, just like every other element of your integrated marketing strategy, should be designed to work as a whole, complementing the rest of your strategy with similar messaging and maximizing ROI by finding ways to repurpose information across multiple channels, buyer personas and levels of the sales funnel. Use our Campaign Planning Calendar Template to develop each campaign for the year, including the interactive content you are ready to create alongside the other formats that have also proven successful for you in the past.
If developing interactive content, or any of the content in your marketing campaigns, requires additional experienced staff and resources, I’d be glad to chat about how JONES can help you bring your latest campaign ideas to life. Schedule a no-obligation consultation here.