What is Interactive content? What is not? Find out the Definitive Answer

Interactive content is the key to getting what you really want out of your digital marketing strategy, but a thorough understanding of what it is or isn’t is crucial. Here’s the skinny on what you need to know.

What is Interactive content? What is not? Find out the Definitive Answer

Here in the digital age, consumers are looking for something more than the typical one-way experience. 

They prefer having ongoing conversations with the brands they buy from. They like unique, stimulating content they can really engage with, as well. 

That’s where making a move to interactive content comes in.

Traditional content marketing tactics attempt to get through to consumers by educating, informing, or directly selling to them. 

Interactive content genuinely reaches them by inviting them to be part of the experience they’re having. 

When your target audience feels included and involved, everyone wins, so interactive content is well worth understanding and integrating into your content strategy.

However, there are still many myths and misconceptions out there regarding what makes a given piece of content genuinely interactive. 

Here’s a closer look at what you need to know. We’ll go over what interactive content really is, as well as what it’s not. 

And we’ll go into more detail about how putting the interactive approach into play benefits your company.

    What Everyone’s Still Getting Wrong About Interactive Content

    Interactive content isn’t just informative, entertaining, and engaging.

    It embodies these qualities in a way that gets the customer involved by encouraging their active participation. 

    Such content tends to be a lot more fun for people to consume, setting it apart from the alternatives in a powerful way that yields tangible results. 

    It’s also an excellent way for the business behind the content to collect valuable data about their clientele.

    But there’s still a lot nearly everyone’s getting wrong about what types of content are genuinely interactive. 

    So let’s get to the bottom of a few of the most persistent misconceptions.

    #1: “All videos are interactive content”

    Videos are red hot right now when it comes to content marketing, and with good reason. 

    They appeal to the modern consumer’s desire to be visually stimulated on a level plain text just can’t deliver. 

    They also tend to be more engaging and raise a person’s likelihood of absorbing or acting on a particular message. 

    Simply putting information into video format isn’t enough to make it interactive, though.

    Traditional linear videos do allow the viewer to control their experience to some extent. For instance, they can pause it, adjust the playback speed, or jump back and forth to various points of interest. 

    But for a video to be interactive, it must allow them to be more than a simple spectator. 

    Truly interactive videos actually let viewers change the outcome, direction, or continuity of the content via the decisions they make.

    #2: “All animated media is interactive”

    Like videos, animated elements are terrific ways to attract and hold a customer’s attention. 

    Animation is colorful, exciting, and highly engaging. 

    It practically begs the viewer to stop a moment and see what it’s all about, and it gets its way often enough to make it a popular marketing tactic on blogs, social media channels, and more. 

    But again, your content has to do more than simply include animation to be considered interactive.

    • Does the content also require the user’s active participation? 
    • Does it ask them to make choices, input unique information, or otherwise engage in a bit of “back-and-forth”? 

    If so, you can consider your animated content interactive. 

    Some great examples include online quizzes that may include attractive animated elements or valuable tools like interactive calculators that help customers estimate potential costs and make decisions.

    #3: “Interactive content is a type of heat map”

    A heat map is a helpful visual representation that gives a website owner an at-a-glance picture of how their users navigate their way through the content. 

    For example, the hotter portions of a particular article or page are those where users clicked more often, interacted more intensely, or perhaps lingered longer with the content. 

    Conversely, cooler to intermediate portions saw less activity.

    A piece of interactive content is not the same thing as a heat map. 

    However, it can provide extremely valuable data about the customers or web visitors that interact with it. 

    Examples include behavioral stats, potential pain points, or personal information like profession, name, or email address.

    #4: “Interactive content is all about looks”

    An appearance that’s pleasing to the eye is beneficial no matter what type of content you’re talking about. 

    Even text-only content is more likely to capture a consumer’s attention if it’s well-organized, attractively arranged, and laid out with easy readability in mind. 

    The positive impact of interactive content doesn’t start and stop with good looks, though.

    A successful infographic is undoubtedly a highly attractive piece of visual content, but unless it requires the viewer to actively engage with it, it’s not interactive. 

    Interactive content positively impacts your business’s in many different ways. When it comes to SEO, for example, it:

    • Raises user engagement rates.
    • Supports higher click-through rates.
    • Optimizes the gathering of valuable data.

    What Interactive Content Is Really All About

    So what is interactive content, really? 

    We’ve discussed how it’s innovative, engaging content that allows the consumer to become an active participant instead of a passive spectator. 

    The result is a customer who leaves their experience feeling entertained and well-informed. They’re more likely to have genuinely absorbed your target message, as well.

    But there’s still more to the equation than that. 

    So here’s a closer look at the real deal — the essential qualities that set interactive content apart and make it such a valuable part of any well-rounded content marketing strategy.

    #1: Interactive content is incredibly valuable

    A good content marketing strategy successfully reaches your existing and potential customers where they live on many different levels. 

    It gives them what they’re looking for, whether that’s simple entertainment or crucial information they need to make an important decision. 

    And it gives you what you’re looking for as a business owner by helping people successfully complete their journey down the sales funnel.

    But a given content strategy is only going to be as good as the content itself. 

    Going interactive with your content is an incredible way to reinvent your material and take your results to the next level. 

    Here are some terrific examples of how.

    Interactive videos 

    They support popular top-of-the-funnel pieces like blog posts and webinars by answering key questions and getting the customer actively involved in the decision-making process.

    Interactive ebooks 

    They streamline the process of converting highly interested consumers by collecting priceless data that’s a lot more specific than you might get otherwise. Think behavioral habits, geographic location, and demographic details.

    Interactive infographics

    They take organized, visually appealing information to the next level by preventing distraction and making the consumer feel involved in their experience.

    White papers 

    They build on their highly informative nature by adding beautiful interactive graphics, polls, and more to the mix, and are even better at converting customers. Your audience gets the highly technical information they need in a format that makes it easier for them to retain it.

    Interactive resource libraries and solution finders

    They can help guide customers who are still shopping around through the decision-making process. They’re the perfect tools for showing what sets your company, products, and services apart from everything else available out there.

    #2: Interactive content strategically helps you reach your goals

    Not all marketing tactics are created equally when it comes to progressively moving you forward toward your business goals. 

    On the other hand, interactive content is an intensely powerful way to add impact to your digital marketing strategies. 

    That’s because it does more than simply convey your message to a target audience.

    By encouraging the customer to click, drag, answer, and otherwise communicate, it gives you, the strategist, something to work with further. 

    Here’s another look at how interactive content helps you make consistent progress toward your prime objectives.

    • It encourages users to spend more time with your content than they otherwise would by giving them a compelling reason to stay.
    • It invites consumers to click through to your target page by promising them an irresistible experience if they do.
    • It actively supports better brand awareness by delivering satisfying customer experiences.
    • It generates high-value leads and more of them.
    • It takes the guesswork out of collecting crucial data and receiving essential user feedback.

    The more information you have at your disposal when it comes to your consumers and their wants and needs, the easier it becomes to tailor future marketing efforts so that they hit the mark the first time.

    #3: Interactive content is easier than you think to create

    When a business owner or marketing professional isn’t yet on board with interactive content creation, it’s common for them to worry changing things will be prohibitively difficult. 

    Incredible interactive experiences just look so darned smooth, so it’s only natural to assume they’re tough to create. 

    In actuality, it’s really pretty easy.

    For starters, you don’t have to create an entirely fresh piece of content every single time. 

    Instead, you can repurpose your best static content into interactive masterpieces that wow your customers all over again. 

    Get more out of popular pieces that hit the mark the first time by transforming them into information-gathering powerhouses.

    There are also some truly incredible tools out there on the market that take all the guesswork out of creating compelling interactive experiences. 

    For instance, Ion is a user-friendly interface that offers digital marketers complete control over their ongoing content strategy from start to finish. 

    Create, configure, calibrate, launch, and analyze each effort via one convenient, streamlined interface.

    #4: Interactive content boosts your bottom line

    The digital world — from websites to social media and more — generates an incredible amount of data. 

    Each one of your customers is positively bombarded with it every single day, so you’ve got your work cut out for you if you’re serious about getting through to them.

    It’s not just about attracting their attention in the first place, either. 

    It’s about holding it long enough to get your message across and convert them from curious consumers to satisfied paying customers.

    Interactive content is the game-changer for modern companies that want to stand apart from the rest of the crowd.

    Going interactive will help just about any brand:

    • Grab the attention of a target audience, especially as compared to static content.
    • Bring a particular user back to the same page in the future for further interaction.
    • Deliver brand messaging in a format that helps the viewer retain it, contemplate it, and ultimately act on it.
    • Encourage social proof-driven visits when satisfied consumers share and recommend your content.

    The aspects of interactive content that make it unique are the same fundamental factors that help it make you money. 

    Your bottom line gets healthier and more robust in just about every way, as you’ll close more sales and help more of your customers become loyal repeat users who genuinely count on your services and products.

    Wrap Up: The Right Content Solutions Can Supercharge Your Marketing Strategy

    Understanding what interactive content isn’t is just as important as knowing what it is. And now that you’re in the loop, you’re ready to put the interactive approach to work for you. 

    To recap, interactive content is your ticket to marketing material that:

    • Stops your potential customer in their tracks, compelling them to sit up and take notice.
    • Successfully delivers your marketing message without making the person feel “sold to”.
    • Genuinely entertains and informs your customer on the level they’re seeking.
    • Helps you get to know your customers by collecting key data in a non-intrusive way.
    • Encourages your customer to complete actions like social sharing and repeat visits.

    Take the next step by learning how to successfully leverage the power of interactive content with our comprehensive guide. 

    You’ll discover which interactive formats are the best fit for your business goals and how you can use interactivity to upgrade your existing content strategy!

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    Shannon Hilson Rock author vector
    Rock Content Writer

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