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How to Make Interactive Content Work in Your Marketing

By Casey NewmanFeb 10, 2017

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You’ve probably done it. Late one night, you’re looking for something to watch, and before you know it, you’re staring at your screen taking one of those “Which Bob Ross Painting Are You?” or “What Kind of Garbage are You?” quizzes.

There’s a reason sites like Buzzfeed have entire sections devoted to interactive content like quizzes. People enjoy participating with content. Not only is a quiz fun for the person who’s taking it, marketers feel interactive content is more effective at grabbing a prospect’s attention than static content.

As content marketers, we’ve put a lot of energy into producing staples like eBooks, guides and infographics, but are these tried-and-true pieces making the mark we hope they will?The truth is, our attention spans are dwindling, making the likelihood of holding someone’s attention through an entire guide or eBook unlikely. Don’t believe me? A goldfish now has a longer attention span than a human. (Thanks, multiple streams of media.)

via GIPHY

What is Interactive Content?

As its name suggests, interactive content lets users participate in and sometimes even personalize a brand’s content. When done right, it:

  • Grabs a prospect’s attention better than static content
  • Improves retention of brand messaging when it’s combined with other marketing tactics
  • Creates additional, reusable value that results in multiple exposures and repeat visitors

Interactive Content Marketing Do’s

Keep it Relevant: As fun as a “What Kind of Garbage are You?” quiz might sound, if your brand isn’t in the garbage business, it’s going to confuse — and maybe even turn off — your audience.

Think of the Buyer’s Journey: You know all that great information you uncovered during the persona development process? Use it to create an effective piece of interactive content for your prospects.

For example, as you’ll see below, we created a successful top funnel interactive piece for a medical device manufacturer. Our target persona for this piece was cardiothoracic surgeons. From our research, we knew they were unlikely to interact with content like quizzes or assessments because of their fast-paced and demanding jobs. We also knew they would probably not have enough time to sit through an interactive piece. So we created an interactive visual report full of stats relevant to their profession that they had the option of scrolling through or downloading and reading when it suited them.

For more bottom funnel prospects, you might create a ROI calculator or similar savings calculator that compares your product or service to other offerings.

Have a Realistic Timeline: Depending on the type of interactive content you choose, including interactive features — like those in 360-degree experiences or interactive infographics or guides — is often more time-consuming and technical than creating a quiz or survey.

Types of Interactive Content & When to Use Them

Interactive content is much more than quizzes and calculators. Here are some common forms and when you should use them.

Calculators

Use them when: You want to help your audience compare or estimate the cost of your services or products. Calculators also can help your audience evaluate purchase options.

Polls, Surveys, Quizzes

Use them when: You want to entertain or test the knowledge of your audience. If you’re using a survey or poll, it should create a report at the end to allow the user to share and compare his or her result. A quiz should also produce a shareable result that invites others to take the quiz.

360-Degree Photos or Videos

Use them when: You want to let customers “try before they buy” by giving them a full, interactive view of your product or experience—like an adventure vacation or luxury hotel rental.

Interactive Infographics or Guides

Use them when: You want to make the information you’re presenting more engaging or easier to navigate.

Each kind of content has a place in the buyer’s journey. As you’ll see from the table below, your peers often use interactive content during the awareness and consideration phases of the buyer’s journey. The Content Marketing Institute discovered most marketers feel interactive content is the least effective in the decision stage.

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An Interactive Visual Report: A Case Study

It’s no secret physicians have a lot on their plates. They’re so busy that 80 percent of doctors surveyed said they’re either at capacity or feeling overextended. When our medical device manufacturer client wanted to reach cardiothoracic surgeons in the awareness phase of the buyer’s journey, it turned to Kuno for help.

Through our research, we knew anything clinical, like a news roundup, would be a poor content choice. Most cardiothoracic surgeons stayed up-to-date on clinical news and discoveries, often discussing the latest advancements and stories with their surgical teams while in the OR, rather than reading and sharing the information the way most consumers would.

We decided to try creating a piece featuring cardiothoracic surgeon salary data, but instead of a standard infographic listing salaries by region, we made it an interactive visual report, including other salary-influencing items like certifications and the top cities to work. And because we knew how busy they are, we also gave the reader the option to download the piece to read when they had more time.

Readers could download the piece via a popup when they first came to the page, and via a static link in the upper right corner.

interactivecontentexample.pngIf they chose to go through the page,the reader could scroll to different areas of the graphic that were animated.

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After it was created, we promoted it via email, through CTAs on relevant blog posts and on the blog itself, and through demand generation.

In the email copy—and even the copy on the page’s popup—we spoke to the convenience of viewing the graphic, noting that there were no forms to fill out and how quick and easy it would be to download. We also referred to the piece as an interactive report rather than an infographic.

The Results

Both the batch (initial marketing email) and drip (follow-up campaign) emails were successful; in fact, the batch earned a 45 percent open rate and a 21 percent click rate. Each drip email received a 50 percent open rate and a 50 percent click rate, respectively. Here is the initial batch email copy:

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In its first week on the site, the report received more than 100 views, and our demand generation efforts on Facebook and LinkedIn resulted in 60 new cardiothoracic surgeon contacts.

Interactive Content Must be Engaging

The use of interactive content is on the rise. If you’re looking to dip your toes into the interactive content pool, keep in mind that success means more than a quiz about garbage or a Bob Ross painting. Your interactive content must be engaging, and most importantly, in the format and place in your buyer’s journey that will give your prospects what they need.

Check Out Essential Content Marketing KPI - Interactive Checklist

Additional Topics: Content and Design
Casey Newman
The Author

Casey Newman

A love for writing and her natural curiosity ultimately led Casey to careers in journalism and public relations. Today Casey puts her passion for content to work telling your brand’s story and helping you create the perfect strategy.
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