By Ryan Gillespie, Senior Copywriter, Blue Fountain Media
The great thing about responsive web design is it allows a webpage to quickly adjust its sizing and content based on the device someone is using. And that’s probably why it’s become popular as a cost-effective alternative to designing a separate mobile site for many brands.
But you didn’t come here to read about responsive web design, did you? You came here to explore interactive content. We’re almost there.
The reason I bring up responsive sites is this: adaptability. This, of course, makes the perfect segue to what interactive content is offering brands: the ability to entertain, enlighten and engage customers, with the added potential of adapting to their needs and interests at the same time.
Put into practice, here’s what this looks like.
What is Interactive Content?
Plain and simple, interactive content is any content that users can interact with, enables users to alter the way content is being presented or requires user input (e.g. clicking, scrolling, etc.) to display an effect or outcome.
Common examples of interactive content include:
- Polls and surveys
- Product/solution finders
From webpages and infographics to white papers and eBooks, interactive content is changing the relationship between users and information, and in turn, giving companies a meaningful advantage in their content marketing efforts.
The Benefits of Going Interactive
As much as the phrase “Content is King” has been eliminated from marketer vocabulary, interactive content is making a case for maintaining its relevancy. Why? Because it takes something that’s already an effective marketing tool and makes it even more powerful and insightful. Here’s how.
Real User Data
Analytics are great for developing personas, but there’s still a lot of guesswork that goes into creating a profile on a target audience when the only thing you know about them are a few basic demographic details. Interactive content, on the other hand, allows you to dig further into their reasons for visiting your site and learn more about their specific interests, tastes and opinions as they interact.
Interaction and engagement are the same in many ways, and it’s a metric both businesses and marketers use to present how well a site’s content is performing. When a visitor reads an article or watches a video, engagement is measured by the length of time they spend on that particular piece of content.
When interactive content becomes part of the equation, engagement naturally improves, which generates a better connection between the brand and customer, boosts brand affinity, and increases the potential for conversion.
Remarketing to customers is a common marketing practice. However, adding the power of user data to your remarketing efforts makes it much more effective. If someone has visited and interacted with content on your site, you can then deliver personalized content, based on their interactions, in your remarketing efforts. Doing this will improve your chances of building interest in your brand, and as a result, give you another opportunity to secure a new customer.
Now let’s take a look at how these concepts are put into action.
The Interactive Infographic
The Internet is filled with great examples of interactive infographics. But one of the stronger examples is The Guardian’s interactive global flight map from 2014 as it celebrated 100 years of aviation.
What sets it apart from other interactive infographics is its use of live data (again, from 2014) that shows the flight patterns of every major airline around the world. More than this, however, is the fact that you can click on various buttons for even more insights, including how aviation got started, how it’s grown over the past century, and where the industry is headed – all of which is accompanied by useful narration and captivating animation.
Not only was the infographic shared thousands of times just from their Facebook account alone, it also sparked dozens of interviews and articles about the infographic from other press outlets. The real payoff, though, was the increase in traffic the site had after its release, not to mention the amount of time users spent interacting with the map. A fine example of engagement at its best.
The Interactive Website
For anyone not familiar with gamification, the simplest way to describe it is this: when a brand uses a gaming or rewards system to attract deeper and more frequent interaction with a website, application or online community. And there’s no better example than LinkedIn.
Just the phrase “professional networking” elicits feelings of dread and boredom in most people. LinkedIn, however, has discovered a way to keep it fairly entertaining by integrating a few simple game mechanics.
Whether it’s through your profile’s progress bar, which measures how well you’ve maintained your LinkedIn profile (shown above), or the “Skills & Endorsements” section, where your connections can vouch for your skills in certain areas, LinkedIn injects a bit of fun into the tedium of networking.
As a reward for participating, LinkedIn will actually improve your profile’s visibility on the site, meaning recruiters and connections will see your profile first, and you also won’t feel like you’re taking part in a pointless exercise.
The Interactive Whitepaper
Interactive whitepapers aren’t all that common, but their potential as a highly valuable marketing tool is undeniable, especially when you take a look at this impressive example from Hyatt Legal Plans.
Known for being educational and informative, most customers find whitepapers to be extremely useful, even in their static format. What Hyatt Legal Plans does, however, is take something that’s already an effective way to enlighten readers, and gives it a big dose of marketing steroids.
From quizzes and calculators to videos and supplementary calls-to-action, users can interact with numerous elements throughout this beautifully designed whitepaper.
The appeal doesn’t end on the user side either, because it enables Hyatt to know the sections users viewed, the widgets they interacted with, and any information they entered while they were engaged. Comparing this to a static whitepaper, where you only know the content was downloaded and by whom, the advantages of the interactive whitepaper are crystal clear.
Interested in learning more about interactive content and its potential for your business? Get in touch with our team to explore opportunities that will have the greatest impact on your brand’s marketing efforts.
About the Author
Ryan Gillespie is a senior copywriter at Blue Fountain Media with a professional background in small business operations and management. Beyond content marketing, Ryan enjoys drawing, gaming, spending time with his fiancée and spoiling his dog.