Article

Gillian Ivory
Gillian Ivory 6 May 2015

Interactive Content: Why You Need It

First there was passive, then there was interactive - in the evolution of content marketing, things are moving on.

Move From Passive to Interactive.

 

 

First there was passive, then there was interactive – in the evolution of content marketing, things are moving on.
 

Just when you think you’re ahead of the crowd, producing content stacked with stunning visuals and laced with fast-moving video, you realise the crowd has shifted.

 

What does it take to be on top of your game these days?
 

Getting interactive with your content, it seems.

 

What Is Interactive Content?

It’s a sort of ‘not just viewing, but getting up and doing’ approach to content. A type of ‘we’ve moved past reading and need in-on-the-action’ attitude to life.

In practical terms we’re talking quizzes, polls, calculators, games and contests, but there are also the more sophisticated items like interactive video, graphs and infographics.

 

Quizzes, polls and online tools

Let’s start with the classics and jump straight to the quintessential quiz.
 

Anyone with a Facebook account knows what we’re getting at – the ‘What Type Of Canine Are You?’ or ‘Which Career Should You Actually Have?’ type of quiz.

 

And let’s not forget the ‘Which City Should You Live In?’, one of the great viral masters. All of these are from news and entertainment company Buzzfeed (the king of the quiz world), and this one has been shared millions of times just on Facebook alone.

 

Incidentally, a visit to the Buzzfeed website and today’s quiz “Should You Just Give Up and Marry Your Cat?” also produces some interesting results :-).

 

 

Closer to home, Tourism Ireland ran a successful quiz-based social media campaign last year to promote Dublin and Belfast cities.
 

According to Mashable there’s just one reason why online quizzes are so popular. It’s because we’re all narcissists at heart. That one’s hard to argue, but there are also good commercial reasons why organisations use quizzes so freely.
 

Online tools and calculators (from the usual mortgage and body fat calculators to the more zany Heartbeat Counts Since Birth tool) are shown to consistently increase web traffic.
 

The simple makeover tool at Sofeminine fashion and beauty site attracts visitors who share their makeover results across social networks.

 

Shareable quizzes, tools and trending polls are a great way to:

  • engage an audience, increase traffic and build a following
  • gather useful data and generate leads, driving visitors through the marketing funnel
  • share results of interest to social media followers

Throw in the bevy of software tools available for creating them (from Survey Gizmo to Easy Polls) and it’s a doddle.
 

Remember where possible to gather email addresses for follow-up, or use the data for cookies and personalisation.

 

Interactive video – moving from message to experience

As far back as 2012, Canadian fashion brand Ssense used interactive music video to sell its clothes online, teaming up with rappers FKI, Iggy Azalea, and Diplo. At the time, the clothes the stars wore were clickable and shoppable from within the video, with commentators hailing it as the introduction of V-commerce.

 

 

As far back as 2012, Canadian fashion brand Ssense used interactive music video to sell its clothes online, teaming up with rappers FKI, Iggy Azalea, and Diplo. At the time, the clothes the stars wore were clickable and shoppable from within the video, with commentators hailing it as the introduction of V-commerce.

 

While this hasn’t gone very far as a trend, interactive videos where you can dictate your own storyline are fast gaining traction, handing the power directly to the user.

 

While mostly still in the big-brand and big-budget department, it won’t be long before they spread across a wider net.
 

This one from Phillips shifts the dynamic from a straight ad campaign to a multi-option storyline and entertainment slot.
 

(Follow the ‘What A Night’ option and you get a different plot depending on the beard you’ve chosen to click).
 

 

 

Or check out this original take from Coke Light, allowing you to create a personalised video greeting. Actor James Franco stars in this spot created by Ogilvy in Berlin.

 

Enter a name on the pre-video screen, and hey presto, hear it emanate from the lips of Hollywood’s latest heart-throb (this one’s in German but you get the gist). That’s your cue to share it across social.

 

 

Interactive infographics and charts
Infographics are also expected to morph from one form to another these days. Designers are shifting from static images to option-driven graphics, where the user can actively choose which information they want to see.

Have a glance at this simple example from Avalaunch Media, the complete history of social media. (Bet you never knew the postal service dates from 550 BC). You need flash for this one.

 

 

Scroll-activated animations like this example on the coffee growing process developed by Now Sourcing also offer something way beyond the static informational page we normally see. (Note: animations are turned off on mobile).

 

 

Or take a peek at an interactive chart on population figures from the UK government. Most static charts show large amounts of often overwhelming information. But this one gives lots of data in a user-friendly way by showing a breakdown of specifics only as the user hovers over the main statistic.

 

 

Takeaway
With the deluge of content out there, staying fresh and original is no small feat. If you want to keep ahead, it may be time to go experiential.

Everyone from publishers to commercial brands and non-profit organisations is looking for new and exciting ways to attract audiences online.

Consider interactive content for your website, social media and digital marketing tactics. It may be the key you need to:

  • boost engagement
  • reduce bounce rate
  • differentiate from the pack.

 

Originally posted here
 

Follow Gillian on Twitter @givory and LinkedIn

 

 

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