Many brands are familiar with interactive content, but they don’t know how to leverage it for success. So how important is interactive content and how can you implement it in your marketing strategy?
Content marketing: the key to online success
Content is king, according to marketing experts, but is all content created equal?
The integral role of content in Internet marketing is indisputable. Today, 86% of B2B marketers are using content marketing, and 70% are creating more content now than they were a year ago. That means online space is more competitive than ever.
Marketers now have to increase their efforts if they want to maintain a user’s attention in what is fast becoming a saturated online market. Cue the evolution of interactive content.
What is “interactive content”?
SnapApp, an award-winning content marketing company that specializes in interactive content, provides the simplest definition of the term:
“Interactive content is content that requires the participant’s active engagement – more than simply reading or watching. In return for that engagement, participants receive real-time, hyper-relevant results they care about.”
Interactive content is a way to converse with your audience using the persuasive power of one-to-one interaction. It creates a “give and take” relationship between your brand and its audience and allows consumers to share their opinions, questions and concerns.
Interactive content includes:
- Interactive Infographics
- Interactive videos
- Live webinars
- Interactive email marketing
- Interactive guides and white papers
- Contests and giveaways
- Q&A sessions
- Interactive image galleries, and more
Why do we need interactive content?
- Changing attention spans
It’s no secret that our attention spans are dwindling. A 2015 Microsoft study reported by Time Magazine found that the average human attention span was just 8 seconds, which is less than that of the average goldfish. This means content creators need to find new ways to engage their audiences, creating what’s sometimes referred to as “snackable” content.
- Tailored information
Interactive content is an active form of advertising that gives the customer tailored solutions and information. Rather than searching through your website to find an answer to their query, they can connect with your brand on their own terms and in real time.
- Visual content
The 2014 DemandGen Report found that just 5% of buyers would provide detailed contact information after reading a white paper. By contrast, that same study found that 91% of buyers wanted to see more visual and interactive content before they would part with their data. In light of these statistics, it’s up to marketers to provide more stimulating content that offers greater value to both the consumer and the brand.
- Too many purchasing choices
There are now several different platforms where you can consume content – phones, computers, iPads, televisions and more. As a result, consumers are bombarded with a high volume of purchasing choices that make it difficult to focus on individual ads.
- The growth of omnichannel marketing
According to Google, 90% of people who own multiple devices switch between three per day to complete a purchase. This knowledge has led to “omnichannel marketing,” which is meant to provide a user experience across all channels. Users don’t want to consume lots of information on multiple devices about the same product. Therefore, certain types of online content have taken on a “touchstone” format to provide a more seamless purchasing journey.
Interactive content: what are the benefits?
A 2017 B2B Content Marketing Report found that 71% of marketers consider engagement to be a top goal for their content marketing programs. Interactive content facilitates a deeper connection between brand and consumer, leading to double the conversions of traditional content.
- The ability to capture more relevant data
Interactive content is a two-way street. As well as educating your audience about your brand, you’re also educating yourself about them. By communicating directly with your audience, you receive detailed and valuable information that you can use to build buyer personas and better tailor your solutions to their needs.
- Encourages sharing and drives leads
Short, interactive content can be updated frequently, allowing you to target a wider audience. What’s more, of the top 5 most shared Facebook content of 2017, 3 are YouTube videos, 1 is an interactive quiz, and the other is a news article. Therefore, there is a distinct preference for stimulating and visual content.
- Works across all marketing channels
Interactive content doesn’t have to be a brand new strategy – it can be implemented into all your existing channels, including social media, email, blogs, paid ads and more.
How to bring interactive content to your marketing strategy
- Interactive guides
You can create an interactive guide that uses images, text and video to convey a message or inform the reader. You can then include questions that help you tailor the content to your specific user and include email opt-ins so you can follow up.
- Hosting competitions/giveaways
Social media channels provide the perfect platform for giveaways and contests. Using hashtags and promotional posts, you can capture more qualified leads to garner interest in your brand. Hosting a competition also gives you an opportunity to collect data or email addresses for your mailing list: ask your followers to answer a quick survey or provide their details in exchange for entry. Remember: if you collect consumer data from the EU, you must adhere to GDPR.
- Q&A sessions
The recent additions of Facebook live and Instagram stories are perfect for live Q&A videos. Here, you hand control back to the consumer and become a tailored sales representative to help them understand your brand or product. You can ask users to submit questions via email, social media comments, or live over video or calling software.
- Interactive Infographics
Infographics are a great way to engage an audience with snapshots of information and images. While users are learning from your infographics, you can layer in questions to help them process the content that’s most applicable to them while you gather data to inform future content.
Is interactive content the key to success?
Interactive content is all about providing more value to the user. The right interactive content for your brand will depend on your audience and marketing proprieties, but, when used effectively, interactive content lays a firm foundation for generating and converting leads. It also makes your marketing materials more engaging, leading to more leads – and ultimately sales – for your business.
Of course, some users will prefer to garner information from a 50-page white paper, whereas others will engage better with a webinar, short video stream or interactive guide. The key is to vary your content across all platforms so your audience can tailor the consumption of your materials to their preferences.
Content is king, but no one type of content wears the crown: the most effective content marketing strategy is one that offers an interactive, omnichannel experience in many different formats.
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