Today, more brands than ever are creating high-quality content, fighting to win attention in an increasingly crowded landscape. By 2021, the content marketing industry is expected to be worth more than $400 billion. And with this constant battle to produce more impactful content, customer expectations are rising. They expect more—and to capture their attention—you’ll need to do more.
With the bar set so high for modern marketers (97% believe content will be just as or more important than last year in delivering a positive customer experience) creating great content that actively engages your audience isn’t easy.
That’s where interactive content comes into play.
Interactive content helps bridge the engagement gap by pulling users directly into the content by requiring their engagement and providing them with something valuable in return. With a little creative flair, interactive content can have your users engaging more readily, providing more information, and building bonds with your brand.
For these reasons, and more, we can expect to see interactive content play an increasingly important role in content operations across industries in the coming years.
Top 3 Benefits of Interactive Content
Interactive content will see huge growth in 2019, in part because the majority of companies are growing their content budgets this year.
Note: Interactive content in this sense is defined by content that actively requires the participation of the user. While a channel like video could be considered interactive, for the purposes of this article, we’re only covering content that actively calls for input from users.
Some of the benefits of interactive content include:
1. Higher Engagement Rate
Even mid-quality interactive pieces typically see high levels of engagement due to the very nature of the content itself. Though it dictates how users interact with the content, it also gives the consumer the steering wheel to drive the interaction.
2. Increase Data Captured
Interactive content makes it easier to capture relevant data from their visitors, which has major implications on our ability to personalize marketing campaigns and the sales team’s ability to speak to the prospect’s biggest concerns.
Consumers are often wary about handing over info like their email address, hoping to avoid being flooded with unwanted marketing messages. And they’re right to be choosy with the companies they allow into their inbox.
That’s why interactive content often offers a proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (the results to a quiz, newly requested information, results of a survey or poll), which creates a value exchange between company and consumer. It feels less risky to share your email address with a company that has created something truly engaging.
3. Improve Brand Loyalty
Ordinary content can make your brand seem…well, ordinary. But engaging, interactive content makes your audience a part of the story. They can use and take part in whatever type of content you publish—whether it’s a survey, quiz, assessment, or interactive infographic. It creates a shared experience that will be more noteworthy to your audience and help them to develop a deeper loyalty to your brand.
At its most basic, interactive content is an exercise in trust-building. Consumers will get to know your brand on a deeper level, and the positive experiences that you create will shape their perception of who you are and what you stand for.
Examples of Interactive Content
While there are a few types of content that are more common than others—the great thing about interactive content is that creativity can pay off big. There’s lots of room to be original, particularly if you bring some brand storytelling into the mix.
Let’s dive into some examples to help you get the gears turning.
Let’s take a look at an example from Optum, a health service and technology company that connects health experts with patients through their health management systems. When the company made the switch from a fee-for-service model to fee-for-value, they created an interactive infographic that allowed users to dig deep and download supplemental content throughout the outlined stages.
Instead of delivering all the information in one place, this interactive infographic allowed customers to direct their own educational journeys.
Let’s take another look at an example from Blackbaud, which wanted to make sure new students enrolled in Blackbaud University, a training program for nonprofits, were aware of its benefits from the start.
To do this, they created a microsite that users were directed to during the onboarding process that featured case studies and white papers about their service. They also included four pieces of interactive content—two calculators, a quiz, and a survey—to supplement their static content and inspire new users with results from previous customers.
This is a great example of how delivering important information through a more interactive and personal medium can help users to better understand the benefits of a product or service.
Surveys and Polls
Surveys and polls provide a tried-and-true method for engaging your customers. Typically, this style of content is used to facilitate feedback and capture new user data. They can be a fun and interesting way for consumers to participate in content that your brand has shared while giving your business a proven method for improved data capture and engagement.
In this example, a web design and development firm used a quiz software solution to help walk customers through the process of reaching out to sales.
Source: Venture Harbour
Not only does this make it incredibly simple for the end consumer but it also helps the company to qualify leads that come into their system. If the same questions were presented in a standard web form, you would be certain to see lower engagement rates. By making the process of providing this information more engaging and fun, you increase the likelihood that your users will be willing to provide it.
Personalized Assessments and Quizzes
Kapost recently used this method in the form of our Content Operations Self-Assessment, a short quiz that helps prospects benchmark the strength of their content operations against industry standards. In addition to earning a score, those who complete the quiz also receive a set of in-depth resources and recommendations based on their results.
Taking the quiz allows a prospect to begin thinking about their content operation in a constructive way, while simultaneously allowing our marketing and sales teams to better understand the maturity of a particular account. In the end, both sides have developed a better understanding of how they might work together, which allows us to start more productive conversations as accounts move into a deal cycle.
Interactive White Papers, Reports, and eBooks
Interactive eBooks are a content type we have seen really take hold in 2018. Any information that could be released as a full-fledged white paper, report, or eBook can—with a little creativity—be turned into something more engaging. eBooks and whitepapers remain some of the most effective forms of content used in B2B campaigns:
An interactive form takes these pieces of content to the next level. A great example of an interactive eBook comes from the book Do or Die by Clark Kokich.
The eBook is specifically built for the web and contains a number of supplementary materials including links to video interviews, case studies that flesh out key concepts, and links to supplemental information.
Consider how you could apply this concept to the whitepapers, reports, and studies that your company has released already. There is no reason why you can’t release both a static version of an eBook and an interactive version.
Tools and Calculators
Another popular form of interactive content comes in the way of calculators and tools. Practical tools that help users to perform complicated equations or evaluate their standing in some way can be a solid way to catch the eye of your ideal customers.
Let’s take a look at an example from Kaufman Rossin, a CPA and financial advisory firm. They created a US tax calculator for foreign-owned corporations that allowed users to compare federal taxes and those in states with heavy foreign capital investment.
Users who answer a series of questions related to their gross revenue and expenses are given the projected tax rates in the four states:
Let’s look at a more basic example from MTNOnline, a Nigerian telecom company. They faced a fundamental problem: They had no simple way to know how much data subscribers would need when they signed up for a plan.
In response, the company released a simple data usage calculator that allowed customers to input a number of variables (video hours watched, social media usage, web surfing) to give them a rough estimate of how much data they used each month. Consumers used this information to choose a plan that would be best for them.
The result? This simple data usage calculator was shared more than 65,000 times and became a viable part of the company’s new customer onboarding process. This simple investment provided a huge benefit to this small telecom.
More Interaction Means More Leads and Better Customers
Creating interactive content leads to more engagement, more leads, and more loyalty from your customers. Customers are more willing to share their information with companies that go the extra mile to produce content that is genuinely helpful and engaging. The examples outlined in this article should help you to get the gears turning on how you can take existing content and data and turn it into something that will catch the eyes of your ideal customers.
It’s safe to assume that we will see consistent growth in interactive content in 2019 and beyond—so what are you waiting for?