[Guest Post] A Short Guide to Interactive Content in 2019
The concept of consumer engagement has come of age with the internet. It provides a more personal and direct way of communicating with the users. Consequently, it has opened the floodgates for creative content marketing. Interactive content happens to be an important part of that. It offers a very entertaining and fun way to engage users. When used for marketing, interactive content creates a greater impact and a better impression than static content. Hence, it improves lead acquisitions, engagements, and conversions. Looking for a guide to interactive content in 2019?
How Marketers are Using Interactive Content
Interactive content has become a gold mine for the marketers. They are using it to gather information and data about the users. Interestingly, interactive content data is given voluntarily which makes it very valuable. This is because there are more emotions involved in it and the data is given to fulfill a perceived value.
When creating future marketing strategies, the quantity as well as the quality of the data matters. Hence, data collected through interactive content provides an insight into the user’s psyche. Moreover, content marketers now recognize the value of interactive content. They use it not only to engage but also to educate and entertain the audience. This, eventually, helps in creating brand awareness and loyalty.
A vast majority of marketers use it for:
1) Educating the users
2) Creating brand differentiation and identity.
3) Grabbing attention and retaining it.
4) Conveying brand message.
5) Engaging - interactive content generates 4 – 5 times more page views than static content.
6) Lead conversions- Some sources say it is twice as effective as static content.
7) Measuring metric and data collection.
The above list makes it clear just how useful interactive content is for marketers. Its importance can be gauged by the statistics given below.
Statistics for Interactive Content
Presently, interactive content has a 35% stake of the $200 Billion advertising industry. It is inclusive, exciting, disruptive and profitable. It makes the buyer feel a part of the process, hence its growing popularity. Looking at the statistics, it is pretty clear that marketers believe in its potential as a marketing channel.
Visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared on the social media and is twice as effective in conversions, especially in the early funnel stages.
1) 93% of the marketers believe that Interactive content is more effective in educating consumer than static content.
2) 88% marketers agree that it helps in brand differentiation and advocated that up to 30% of all content should be interactive.
3) 81% agreed that it is more effective in grabbing and retaining attention.
4) 79% agreed that it improved retention of brand messaging. Also, the content can be reused for multiple exposures and repeat visitors.
The figures clearly state the importance of interactive content and marketing. Businesses that ignore this growing trend may find themselves lagging behind competitors. Whereas, marketers can use it to improve acquisitions and reduce ROI.
Interactive Content For Lead Generation
1) Awareness stage:
As we know, marketing is no longer only about generating leads for the sales team. The sales team no longer needs to educate the buyers. Most buyers perform research online before they approach the sales team. Hence, they are already qualified and informed. One research indicates that more than half of a buyer’s journey is completed online. They only approach the sales team when they are ready to buy. Hence, the role of the marketing team has changed.
Now, the marketers must optimize every stage of a customer’s journey through the funnel to deliver results. This is where interactive content can play a very important role. Since it creates a two-way interaction, interactive content can help in all three stages of a consumer’s path but has the greatest advantage in the early stages.
Here the consumer is likely to research and educate himself/herself. This is the first stage where the consumers discover a need that has to be fulfilled. They search around and learn about products that can provide a solution. At this stage, brand awareness does not matter. They just want to find a suitable solution to the problem.
Information is crucial at this stage. Marketers should aim to provide as much information as possible. Also, this is the stage where it is most easy to gather information about the users. At this stage, use interactive content like quizzes, polls, assessments, interactive infographics, contests, polls, and eBooks, etc. to provide as much information to the customers as possible. At the same time, create content that will help to collect information about consumer needs and expectations. Consumers are likely to give the information happily at this stage as they believe they are getting real value out of the exercise.
Have a look at this graded quiz by Outgrow. This interests the prospects and informs them about a problem that may not be apparent to them. Moreover, you can collect leads by putting your lead generation form before the results page.
2) Evaluation Stage:
At this stage, the consumers evaluate the products available to decide whether it fulfills their needs or not. By now, the users know what will help to solve their problem. They have already shortlisted a list of brands that can provide what they are looking for. They are evaluating the shortlisted products and comparing them for greater clarity on pricing, approaches, and options.
At this stage of the consumer’s path, the content needs to be product-centric. The content should throw light on the understanding of the problem while providing the best solution through the product. The type of interactive content that works best at this stage includes calculators, interactive eBooks, white papers, wizards, etc. This type of content helps to explain the product, its uses, features, and its cost. Also, it presents an opportunity for the consumer to make comparisons between the products.
Have a look at this quiz by Outgrow. Such quizzes are perfect for the evaluation stage because it is product-centric and provides the prospect with a solution/suggestion in real time.
3) Decision stage:
This is the last and perhaps, the most critical stage of a consumer’s journey. This is the time when they commit to buying the product. They have studied the solutions available to them. Also, they know which solution will work best.
At this stage, they need reassurance and convincing that they are taking the right decision. They are, literally, sitting on the fence and just need a little nudge to make them commit. Now is the time to produce hard facts to support your claims. The interactive content that is most likely to work at this stage includes configurators, cost analysis, testimonials, etc.
Here is an example of an interactive calculator that is a perfect fit for this stage. This product-centric calculator is fun, fast and super friendly. It highlights what the prospect has to gain if s/he chooses that particular product.
Based on the feedback from marketers and what we can see above, interactive content is most effective in the first stage of the funnel. It has proven to be an invaluable resource at educating and qualifying the leads. It is the least effective at the last stage, where human factor or static content may work best. Despite its limitations at the later stages of the funnel, it still provides great value to marketers in pulling them into the funnel.
Interactive Content Best Practices
Now, that we can see how interactive content can make a difference to a consumer’s journey, it is time to start creating content and practicing what we have learned here. But, before we do that, we need to be familiar with the best practices for creating interactive content. Introducing the following practices in your interactive marketing will help you build a more effective campaign.
There are three golden rules for interactive content creation. These should be followed to create content that is effective, relevant and attractive. These golden rules are:
1) Avoid sales pitch, provide value: Create content that adds value to the users rather than making a sales pitch. Do not use marketing tools in the content. Rather, it should entertain, engage and provide value so that the users can learn about your brand. The focus should be on shareable media that users can share with their friends and create brand awareness.
2) Educate and qualify your audience: Identify your audience and gather as much information about them as possible. Then, create content that is aligned with their interests and outlook. There are certain tools available that can provide the required information and BuzzSumo is a good source. Create content that provides information and showcases your expertise in the area.
3) Make your content attractive and visually pleasing: Appearances do matter sometimes. Since interactive content relies on visuals, the content needs to be well presented and visually pleasing. It makes the posts more attractive and eye-catching.
The main idea behind creating great content is to listen to the audience, give them the right information, and share your knowledge. You must provide enough value to the audience so they share the content with their friends to create the brand authority you are seeking.
Besides these three golden rules, there are other points you need to keep in mind while creating content:
1) Understanding your customer’s drive and expectations
2) Follow your content strategy and brand message
3) Create an immersive experience
4) Use metrics to measure the efficiency of your interactive content
5) Create content for all digital devices
6) Reaching out to the audience at regular intervals.
7) Diversify the content
8) Aim for personalization
9) Use multimedia
10) When it comes to lead generation, the statistics clearly indicate that interactive content has a distinct edge over all other forms of content. The entire concept behind interactive content is to connect with the audience in a more intimate and entertaining way thus making a deeper connection and greater retention of the brand and its messages. The advantage derived from any content can only be determined after careful testing and studying of the metrics and user engagements. For that, you will have to begin using interactive content.
Koushik Marka is the founder and CEO of an explainer video production company titled Studiotale. With strong entrepreneurship and professional skills, his qualities do not end there. With expertise in Vector Illustration, 2D Animation, Motion Graphics, and Digital Marketing, he loves what he does. Apart from being a work enthusiast, his off-work preferences are playing video games and traveling.