By Damon Yerian

If you’ve ever taken a quiz like “What should my next job be?,” done an online assessment to figure out which Friends character you’re most like, or used a calculator to determine what a monthly mortgage on your dream home would be, you’re already familiar with interactive content

Interactive content stimulates engagement and evokes a reaction from the end user using responsive digital media to create a two-way conversation with your brand. Different types of interactive content include: animated infographics, assessments, calculators, contests, games, live chats, polls, surveys, quizzes, interactive video, interactive timelines, interactive whitepapers, and e-books.  

Marketers using these types of content are creating interactive lead capture tools that are highly engaging, offering a ton of value to end users and drastically increasing ROI.  

By breaking the mold of traditional form fills for content downloads, marketers are seeking creative ways to gather information about prospects’ pains, challenges, goals, and thought processes to vastly improve lead scoring, buyer persona alignment, prospect qualification, and buyer’s journey strategy.

According to a recent survey of 20,000 marketers by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) on interactive content: 

  • 87 percent agreed that interactive content grabs attention
  • 73 percent agreed that it enhances retention of branding
  • 77 percent agreed that it provides elevated value through multiple engagements resulting in repeat visitors
  • 46 percent of total respondents said that they have used some type of interactive content in their marketing mix.

Why is interactive content effective? 

From calculators to interactive infographics to taking quizzes to learning about career options, only interactive content will turn a website visitor into a website user by answering questions, making choices, and exploring scenarios. Interactive content enables organizations to educate their audiences in a way that allows them to participate in the experience—a key to securing engagement and encouraging folks to come back for more.

One of the reasons interactive content is so powerful are the tailored results they provide to end users. By actively participating, users are given specific results in real-time that address their problems, challenges, or ideas. These results  can range anywhere from how to lower monthly payments on a mortgage to how to utilize your artistic side in your future career to comparing insurance policies based on your personal needs.  

Why should you use interactive content? 

It all comes down to those conversion rates—and interactive content will drastically improve conversion rates across your website. According to the same CMI survey mentioned above, 66 percent of marketers use interactive marketing for engagement, 63 percent for educating the audience, 58 percent for creating brand awareness, 57 percent for lead generation, 50 percent for conversion, and 33 percent for sales / sales enablement.

What are the benefits of using interactive content? 

Interactive content is more appealing than static content in that it has the ability to attract and educate folks who might become future buyers. In addition, interactive content encourages people to engage with and share content with friends on social media, (which brings with it the mighty power of word-of-mouth), it increases website traffic and page views, it cuts through the “noise” of the vast amounts of stagnant content marketing already out there (thus offering a huge competitive advantage), and it provides valuable data to optimize your buyer persona as well as your sales funnel.

What are the three main advantages of using interactive content?

  1. By engaging with customers and starting conversations, interactive content helps to pinpoint the exact challenges and objectives of customers, thus assisting organizations with how to best present the products and solutions to meet a buyer’s needs.
     
  2. It provides better data metrics, allowing organizations to quickly and easily identify which leads are ready for conversion and which require more nurturing.

  3. Interactive content provides immediate value with personalized experiences and clients more willing to divulge even more information, thus completely removing the friction associated with lead forms.

Why interactive content works. 

Interactive content works for many of the same reasons social media is so popular. People love to share their opinion, have fun, compare, compete, and test themselves. Did you know that 96 percent of people that start a Buzzfeed-sponsored quiz finish it? Why? Because folks love getting personalized answers.

As the landscape of traditional content marketing becomes increasingly crowded, and the preferences of buyers have changed as technology has evolved—no longer is it OK to simply inform buyers. It’s imperative to connect with them on an emotional level by providing content that engages rather than serves out information on a one-way street. And that is exactly why interactive marketing is so effective. Just look at some of these statistics:

The top four most effective types of interactive content. 

According to CIM, the top four most effective types of interactive content are assessments, calculators, contests, and quizzes.

1. Assessments

Assessments are great evaluation tools that usually include questions about a particular topic, behavior, or a simple test of knowledge on a particular subject. Orion HR has a “Test Your Emotional Intelligence” assessment that they claim provides users with an accurate assessment of emotional intelligence, as well as recommendations on how to manage emotions and connect with others while under pressure. Assessments are a fantastic way to acquire new leads and increase your email database list.

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2. Calculators

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone not interested in money—which may be why online calculators are so popular. From mortgages to taxes to insurance to student loan debt payoff and everything in between, calculators are an extremely helpful and succinct way to show your prospects what they’ll gain by using your product or service. Check out Hubspot’s ROI calculator for an example of what folks can expect to receive based on their initial investment.

3. Contests

Contests have been around even before the dawn of the internet and have continued over the years to be a “go-to” tactic of many marketers for many reasons. Prize-driven contests incentivize many folks to participate, and they’re a great way to increase brand awareness and social engagement and grow the size of your email lists exponentially. The various types of contests include giveaways, video, refer-a-friend, vote-to-win, and quiz contests, amongst others.

4. Quizzes

If you’ve ever had a terribly long commute or a particularly dull day, you may have run across an online quiz or two that helped you pass the time. Interactive quizzes are a great way to collect an immense amount of information and convert prospects into leads. Much more entertaining than a web form, quizzes offer interactive, personalized, and relevant content that build strong relationships with prospects and give them something of value before you ever ask for anything in return. 

One type of quiz is the “product recommender” that asks a bunch of questions and, based on the user’s replies, makes a product recommendation that will fulfill that user’s needs. Warby Parker, for example, cleverly exchanges the word “questionnaire” for “quiz” to encourage customers to take part in its “Home Try-On” program, which involves having five pairs of glasses sent to your home for five days to try on for free. Topshop uses a “Style Quiz” to recommend different items of clothing. Airbnb’s “Trip Matcher” quiz tells you what kind of traveler you are and then recommends the perfect destination, including accommodations, activities, and places to visit. 

Is interactive content worth it? 

If you aren’t currently utilizing interactive content, you most definitely are engaging in traditional content marketing and probably have a team member adept at developing blogs and other forms of one-way content. So, you may be asking yourself, is it worth it? While creating interactive content does require a bit more work and additional resources,  we’d encourage you to go back to the statistics we listed earlier: 88 percent of marketers felt interactive marketing helped differentiate their brand from their competitors, 66 percent claimed higher engagement, and 81 percent stated it was an effective tool at grabbing a prospect’s attention. 

If cutting through the noise of all the content that is already out there, jumping ahead of your competition, and engaging on a personal level with your prospects are listed anywhere on your marketing goals for 2020, then we’d say: yes, it’s absolutely worth the investment.

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Damon Yerian

About the author

Damon Yerian As the VP of Creative at SmartBug Media, Damon Yerian leads SmartBug's content development, design, and UX strategy. An award-winning creative director and strategic account manager, Damon spent nearly 20 years in Houston, Texas leading a team in traditional advertising, B2B marketing, and social awareness marketing. Damon has worked with Fortune 100 clients, government entities, start-ups, and not-for-profits. Away from work, he is an avid fan of live theater and is the proud papa of a Yorkie-Chihuahua mix named Zimba. Read more articles by Damon Yerian.

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