With an increasing emphasis on providing users with a personalised experience, interactive content is high on the agenda of many marketers
Most of us are used to interacting with brands online, whether it’s via a simple exchange of messages on social media (on Twitter alone, customer service interactions increased 250% over the last two years), taking part in polls and competitions. Twitter chats and Group discussions on LinkedIn are an established way of increasing engagement and building relationships in B2B markets.
Now, increasingly, businesses are seeing the benefits of developing standalone, branded interactive assets as part of their wider content marketing strategy. They’re realising that flat text (blogs and eBooks, for example) is far from the only way of presenting content to their audience in order to engage, entertain and educate. This type of content includes:
Why should brands use interactive content?
It’s all about engagement.
Providing unique, valuable and shareable content is the backbone of any inbound strategy, where the focus is on building and nurturing relationships, rather than making a direct sale. And what could be more engaging than content which provides an immediate, personalised experience for your audience, especially if it provides a tangible outcome in terms of a score, persona, etc, which the user can share with their friends or connections?
Besides, mobile users have come to expect interactivity – and apps are more engaging than websites.
The phenomenal success of Buzzfeed’s quizzes and polls is compelling evidence that interactive increases likes, shares, reach and traffic (the average number of shares per Buzzfeed post is 7950).
Research by the Content Marketing Institute suggest that marketers who use interactive content are finding a high degree of success…
Source: Content Marketing Institute
What are the benefits?
As well as all of the same benefits of traditional content, interactive content provides an immediate, personalised experience for potential customers/clients – it could be the first touchpoint with your business. For those familiar with your brand, it helps to strengthen brand awareness.
Other key advantages are:
- Allows your brand to stand out amid the glut of content that now confronts people.
- Encourages active participation, because it appeals on an emotional level – most people like the idea of learning more about themselves (again, think Buzzfeed).
- Offers a tangible outcome in terms of a score, persona, etc, which the user could share with their friends or connections, opening the content to a wider audience without any further effort for you (and people are more likely to trust recommendations from peers than from businesses).
- Provides a hook for further communications, ie, face-to-face, email, sales calls, potentially filling a gap in the conversion funnel.
- Drives users towards CTA by asking them to share their results/score, fill in details, download content etc…
- … which allows you to capture qualified leads and build up your database.
- The individualised responses provide valuable customer insight, allowing persona optimisation, and better segmentation and targeting for future marketing activities.
- Can help to strengthen your backlink profile
How does interactive content affect conversion rate?
A conversion rate study by Demand Metric of interactive versus passive content found that interactive blows passive out of the water when it comes to being ‘very effective’:
Source: Demand Metric
At what stage in the buyer’s journey is interactive content most effective?
In Interactive Content & The Buyer’s Journey, Oracle Marketing Cloud and SnapApp mapped interactive content’s place in three stages of the buyer’s journey.
- Awareness stage — A prospect in research mode is likely to engage in polls, self-assessments, and knowledge tests.
- Evaluation stage — When evaluating solutions a buyer will take to benchmark assessments, interactive whitepapers, and persona assessments.
- Decision stage — At the critical buying stage, ROI calculators, galleries, product pickers and surveys will help guide decision-making.
This correlates broadly with research from the Content Marketing Institute that identified:
- Games (77%) were rated most effective in the early stage (awareness/discovery).
- Interactive eBooks (54%) were rated most effective in the middle stage (consideration).
- Configurators and wizards (tied at 33%) were rated most effective in the late stage (decision).
Source: Content Marketing Institute
Who’s doing interactive well?
Dos Equis – Think you’re interesting?
The luxury beer brand’s quiz channels its aspirational ‘personality’ into this interactive assessment (exotic, sophisticated, and even a bit cheeky) which allows users to find out where they rank in the world for ‘interestingness’.
The brand makes good use of compelling CTAs (“prove it,” “see where you rank”), and the content is a great opportunity for consumers to interact with the company on a more fun level.
Dos Equis has also produced even more immersive customer experiences, in the form of 360-degree virtual reality videos. This example allows viewers to use their mobile devices to get involved in The Most Interesting Man’s Halloween party:
Paddy Power – Slap Election
Never one to shy away from a little controversy (this is the brand with an in-house Mischief Team) or miss an opportunity to ride the wave of a social trend, the bookmaker launched the irreverent Slap Election game in the run-up to this year’s General Election:
Could you be the one to give Theresa May her 500,000th slap in the (virtual) face with a kipper?!
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) June 7, 2017
But fun and games is a serious business
The success of innovative marketing techniques is not confined only to the B2C market (see our previous blog on guerrilla marketing). These examples show how encouraging participation can work for even the most seemingly mundane B2B brands.
Unitrends – Data Recovery Jedi
Makers of data backup appliances, drove traffic from Facebook to its website with a personality quiz to determine each participant’s backup and disaster recovery Jedi persona. The brand incentivised participation by entering participants into a prize draw to win a BB-8 Droid. (Unfortunately, the quiz is no longer available online).
Kissmetrics – Which tech entrepreneur are you?
The analytics platform provider shared this simply-formated, eight-question quiz to determine which tech entrepreneur you share the most traits and other similarities. The CTA, which prompts users to download a guide (another form of further engagement and data capture) and to share their results on social media.
Interactive allows storytelling in which the audience can become truly involved. In these days where personalisation is key to engagement, it’s this type of content that’s at the forefront of content marketing.
Click Consult is proud of its strategic approach to search and believes that pushing the boundaries of best practice forward is an important part of what makes it an award winning search marketing agency. To find out what Click Consult can do for your brand, contact us today; or for actionable industry insights, check our blog or resource pages.