Interactive content has been growing steadily in importance for brands and businesses of all sizes.
Yet many brands continue to believe that they don’t have the resources to produce it consistently, so they are tempted to diminish its value.
In this post, we’ll show you how interactive content helps you achieve your marketing goals. But first, let’s define our terms.
In the context of digital marketing, interactive content is any digital content that requires active participation from its audience: clicking, dragging, tapping, answering, and so forth.
The term is a way to distinguish interactive forms of content from passive or static content that users simply consume, like text and images.
Interactive content, then, is an integral part of a robust digital marketing strategy.
Here are 8 ways that it can help you achieve your marketing goals.
1. Increases Users’ Average Time on Page
One important metric that can show you the relative effectiveness of your site and your marketing strategy as a whole is average time on page.
Increasing average time on page isn’t a silver bullet, but the likelihood of a conversion or sale certainly increases when readers actually consider what you have to say.
If people are clicking away just as fast as they found you, something’s going wrong.
Your content might not be relevant — or it might just not be interesting enough to hold their attention.
There’s also the somewhat paradoxical concern where you attracted a reader through organic search, but then once they have their question answered, they immediately click away.
By embedding interactive content on your page, you give readers a reason to stay.
There’s something else to do, play with, learn from, or otherwise interact with, so some readers will stick around and interact with that content.
Again, average time on page usually isn’t the ultimate objective. But it’s a part of measuring how well you’re capturing readers.
And, with the right interactive content, longer time per page can lead to increased conversions or sales.
2. Boosts Your CTR
Click-through rate, or CTR, is a crucial metric by which you can judge the success of your marketing plan.
In fact, increasing CTR is often one of a company’s marketing goals on an ongoing basis.
As a refresher, CTR is essentially the number of visitors that click through to a target page (such as the CTA link at the end of a post) after first reaching the original page, compared to the total number who reached the original page.
How does interactive content boost CTR? Here’s an illustration.
Say you write a blog post that answers search intent for a common question in your industry. You’re going to end that blog post with a call to action (CTA), right?
That’s a good practice, of course, but some readers will tune out long before they get there.
But what if your CTA wasn’t just a paragraph at the end of a text-based post? What if the CTA was actually tied to a piece of interactive content?
Save that call to some other kind of click until after the reader has interacted with a valuable piece of interactive content.
Once you demonstrate added value, you’ll typically generate more click-throughs, raising your CTR.
3. Optimizes Lead Generation
Interactive content can also optimize lead generation, especially lead gen that starts with paid or organic search.
Say you want to pull in leads via a blog post. Once again, you’ll include a CTA at the end of that post.
But this time, instead of asking readers to click through, you’re asking them to sign up or provide an email address, something like that.
It’s common practice to offer some kind of incentive for that lead generation. If you’re selling retail products, it could be a “sign up now and get a percentage off your first order!” pop-up.
In the B2B space, a more common approach is “download the whitepaper” — offering readers a deeper and more valuable piece of industry content, for the “price” of a sign-up.
But that lead generation can be much more powerful and effective when you tie it to truly interactive content.
Here’s an example.
If the goal is to gather email addresses, you could require an email sign-up to access a valuable interactive piece, just like you would’ve done for accessing an eBook or whitepaper.
Or you could create some kind of quiz, like “Find your ideal flooring type”, and put it where the CTA would’ve gone.
Save the actual CTA for the last step in the quiz, after you’ve pulled in users’ curiosity and interest.
Whatever approach you take, nearly any kind of interactive content can have positive effects on your lead gen efforts.
4. Improves the Customer Experience
Marketers talk plenty about customer experience, and for good reason.
It doesn’t matter how good your product is. If the experience of buying it or getting to it is horrible, some consumers aren’t going to stick with it.
In other words, a great product that can only be purchased through a terrible, outdated, unreliable website is going to have a limited reach.
Apple understands this better than most. Its stores hardly even seem like they’re designed to sell products. No, the company’s stores create experiences and relationships. And those sell products.
(Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the products are items of quality, and their conventional marketing efforts certainly play a role, too.)
So how does this relate to interactive content?
Simple. Your customers like to discover things for themselves.
Given the choice between static product imagery and a 360-degree model they can rotate, zoom, and play with, you know which one they’re going to prefer.
And that’s just one example.
Here’s another: If you sell a range of similar products, you could certainly create a long-form blog post describing which of your products is right for which types of consumers.
Some customers would even read it and make a purchasing decision based on it.
But how much easier would it be (for the customer, not necessarily for you) if that long-form blog post was also an interactive quiz?
Your users love the idea of being in control of the experience. If they’d rather read it, let them. If they’d rather answer a series of questions (points you already made in the blog post, by the way) and have a quiz tell them what to buy, that’s great, too!
Again, these are just two examples. The real-world possibilities for improving customer experience through interactive content are nearly endless.
5. Builds Engagement and Brand Awareness
Engagement is another metric that can be difficult to define and, depending on how you define it, difficult to measure.
Definitions can vary, but typically, engagement means some kind of visible, public interaction, whether as a comment on a post itself or an interaction via social.
Not every business relies equally on social engagement. It’s much less important in B2B than for direct-to-consumer brands, for example.
Engagement can be very hard to build naturally, and some businesses just aren’t going to get much traction here.
Personally, I may be thankful for my local water treatment facility or the construction company that built the office building I’m in, but I have no reason to follow them on social and would practically never like or share a social post from either.
That said, if engagement is a relevant metric for your business, you need to build it — whether doing so is natural or seems next to impossible.
Creating a highly interesting and socially valuable piece of interactive content is one great way to do this.
An interesting survey, a fun quiz, or an insightful infographic are all options that could make sense in your context.
Again, doing this perfectly is hard.
You’ll need to create a piece of content that is interesting, highly sharable, and tied closely enough to your business to make a difference.
But if you can nail all three, interactive content can be an impressive way to build engagement and brand awareness.
6. Boosts Sales
Interactive content can boost sales in two ways, one direct and one indirect.
First, we’ll cover the direct boost. Go back to the example of an interactive quiz paired with a long-form blog post.
Let’s say the topic is “which [pair of shoes/plates/phone case/sweatshirt] is right for your style?”. Don’t stop with answering that question for a user.
Keep the sales funnel going by providing a link directly to the item that the person landed on with their quiz results.
You can even double down by providing a discount code on the results page.
So interactive content can be used as part of a sales funnel in this way.
It can also provide indirect boosts to sales, especially for businesses with more complex sales processes. Here’s how.
Interactive content isn’t always a straight-up sales play. Sometimes it’s a data-gathering tool. (More on this in the next point, by the way.)
As users mess around with your interactive content, they offer useful data about where they are in the sales journey and what their needs or pain points are.
Their current interaction on your site may not lead to a sale. It may not even be designed to do so.
But if you can gather valuable data on what your customers’ struggles and needs are, you can route that data to your sales teams. They can be more effective as a result.
7. Helps You Collect First-Party Data
As we alluded to above, your interactive content pieces don’t have to be purely for your customers’ education or entertainment.
They can also be tools for data collection.
By gathering data on what your leads, prospects and customers think about issues or what items they tend to prefer, you can make better data-driven decisions about products you release or features you add.
How do you actually execute this kind of strategy?
The area of data collection through interactive content is a bit more complex, and we don’t have the space here to get into the specifics.
We’ve put together a more detailed post on how interactive content can help your data collection efforts, so be sure to check it out to learn more about this strategic approach.
Also of note: depending on where you’re located and where you do business, you may face additional regulations on data collection.
We get into some of those in the post linked just above.
8. Makes It Simpler to Collect Feedback
One piece of interactive content that many larger businesses have had in place for many years is the humble feedback survey.
Businesses know the value of collecting user feedback, and this kind of pop-up survey is one effective way to do so.
Feedback surveys can make users feel a measure of control and independence, giving them a chance to speak their minds about what is or isn’t working on your site.
And, most crucially, they do provide genuine customer feedback you can use to improve your business.
Wrap Up: Marketing Goals are Easier to Reach with Interactive Content
Whatever your current marketing goals may look like, there’s an excellent chance that adding more interactive content to your site will help you achieve one or more of those goals.
It may take a little more effort (or a strategic partnership with a content experience company like ours), but it’s an investment that will reap dividends both now and for years to come.
If you’d like to learn more about interactive content and how it can transform your marketing efforts and meet your marketing goals, check out our full guide to interactive content!