Tap into the power of interactive content

The impact of interactive content for social media marketing is being felt across the web as users are increasingly being invited to engage with videos, images, and features – from quizzes, polls, and online calculators to interactive infographics and videos. It also creates a new marketing avenue for brands that want to grab and hold their target market’s attention.

The Content Marketing Institute, a global content marketing education and training organisation based in the United States, describes interactive content as “material that enables viewers to actively participate and effectively contribute to the meaning and the value of the content”.

“Text, video, graphics, animation – every other kind of web content is ultimately a passive experience, no matter how interesting, engaging, or amusing,” the institute writes in its white paper Deliver peak experiences with interactive content. It explains that only interactive content allows website visitors to turn from passive users into doers and actors.

Statistics show this type of content is still in its infancy. The June 2016 Interactivity Index from ion, which surveyed marketers from across the web, indicated only 28.75% of the content is interactive. However, many experts believe interactive features are not just a nice-to-have, but an absolute necessity.

Perfect for business

Barry Feldman points out on Kissmetrics’ blog that “nearly every” marketing research study has proven engaging target audiences is one of the toughest challenges in content marketing. “Marketers succeed when their audience not only consumes content, but also enjoys and acts upon it. Understanding this principle, more and more content marketers are stepping-up their static content to create content customers can interact with.”

In a social media environment crowded by content and messaging, interactive information cuts through the noise to give audiences something they can use. It also speaks to the expectations of mobile users, who are accustomed to the interactivity of apps.

Interactive features can also play a major role in moving buyers and prospects along their journey towards making a purchase. SnapApp, the developer of an interactive marketing platform, indicates that interactive experiences encourage prospects to answer questions and share information that helps marketers better define and clarify particular pains, challenges, and priorities.

“By adding interactive content into the marketing mix, modern marketers are creating new, engaging, and educational experiences at each stage of the buyer’s journey. They are turning their information monologues into dialogues as they replace static content with dynamic exchanges,” it notes in its white paper titled Interactive content & the buyers journey.

A mutually beneficial relationship with social

Interactive content is, in many instances, reliant on the power of social media. Without social platforms, interactive collateral will struggle to reach a wider audience. In the same breath, your social media accounts need interactive material to make your content offering unique.

Marketing manager at ion, Shaun Williams, explains that sharing interactive collateral on multiple platforms is a key step in accelerating content marketing. He notes in a post on Medium that people typically forget certain types of content can earn more shares in certain channels. “Interactive content such as quizzes and infographics in particular are a natural fit for social sharing, engagement, and distribution.”

An interactive video on Taylors of Harrogate, a tea and coffee supplier based in Harrogate, United Kingdom’s Facebook page is a good example of this. The 30-second long video allows users to click on a button in the corner of the screen. A quiz opens up on top of the screen, where users can calculate their perfect coffee flavour. At the time of publishing, the video had more than 4 400 views, 444 shares, and 278 comments. Facebook users shared their favourite flavours in the comments section and complimented the brand on its latest product launches.

Consider your audience

Before you get started, however, consider that not all material works well with every audience type, writer and editor Anna Sonnenberg warns in a blog post for CopyPress. While the excitement around interactive content might make you want to jump right in, it is vital to ensure the collateral you plan to create matches your current or potential user base.

She explains content like quizzes, for instance, appeal to younger audiences, while infographics might apply to a greater variety of users interested in an intriguing topic.

The key is to create useful and unique material that speaks to your users on a personal level, as Elliot Sedegah, senior product marketing manager for the Adobe Experience Manager, points out in a post on the company’s Digital Marketing blog: “The proper use of interactive content, combined with personalisation, ensures that your potential customer sees only what appeals to her – and in an engaging manner that moves her along to the next stage in the sales funnel.”

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