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Why interactive content marketing is the future of marketing

Why Interactive Content Marketing is the Future of Marketing

You wake up and start scrolling on Instagram before getting out of bed, liking a friend’s picture of her new Vans. While driving to work, Taylor Swift plays on the radio. Bored at your desk, you open up Tumblr and reblog a bunch of memes that only the most internet-literate people would understand. After walking by a mirror, you wonder if it’s time for a new hair color. So, you pull up a hair dye color quiz online to think it through.

No, this is not a flashback to 2014. This is the present day.

As the age-old saying goes, history repeats itself. The same things that mesmerized us back in the day are bouncing back—and they’re coming back in the form of interactive content. These days, brands like Instacart and Turbotax are embracing interactive content as a marketing strategy, creating BuzzFeed-like content to keep their customers engaged.

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What the heck is interactive content?

Unlike a static advertisement or social media post, interactive content requires active participation from the audience. Interactive content creates a more memorable and immersive experience, making the message more likely to hit home with its viewers . From quizzes and polls to games and augmented reality experiences, interactive content offers a unique way to communicate with customers and drive engagement.

Types of interactive content

Here are some content ideas to keep in mind when building your interactive content marketing strategy:

  • Games: You can create games to promote a product or service in an engaging way. For example, a restaurant could create a game where users have to complete different challenges related to cooking or preparing food, with the restaurant's brand and menu items prominently displayed throughout the game.

  • Quizzes: Quizzes offer a fun and engaging way to educate potential customers about your business, products or services. By asking questions related to your industry or product, you can engage your audience while collecting valuable data about their interests that can help you personalize your marketing efforts.

  • Calculators: Calculators can be particularly useful for businesses that sell products or services with complex pricing structures. For instance, if your business sells solar panels, you could create an online calculator that helps buyers estimate their potential savings based on their location, energy usage and other factors.

  • Polls: Polls are a simple but effective way to engage customers while gathering information about their preferences. By asking multiple-choice questions, you can quickly gather insights about your audience's opinions and tailor your marketing efforts accordingly. This is arguably the easiest interactive content to create, because several social media platforms have polling tools.

  • Virtual reality: Virtual reality experiences allow customers to interact with a brand in a unique and immersive way. By creating a virtual environment that showcases your products or services, your business can create a memorable experience that helps differentiate your brand from competitors.

  • Surveys: Surveys can help you understand your customers' needs and preferences in greater detail. By asking open-ended questions, you can gain deeper insights into your customers’ motivations and tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.

  • Dynamic presentations: Dynamic presentations, such as webinars and live streams, can be useful for educating customers about a product or service. By offering valuable insights and expertise, your business can position itself as a thought leader in the industry and build trust with your audience.

  • Simulations: Simulations offer customers an interactive and realistic experience of a product or service. By allowing customers to try out your product or service in a simulated environment, you can help them picture themselves using your product or service every day.

  • Product demos: Interactive product demos allow customers to see your product in action rather than just reading about its features or benefits. This can be especially helpful for software businesses, where the features and functionality of a product may be more difficult to convey through traditional marketing materials.

  • Image sliders: Image sliders are a great tool for comparing images. If you’re selling a cleaning product, you could use a before-and-after image slider to display the transformative effects of your product.

  • Interactive maps: Interactive maps are a popular content format for visualizing locations or routes. Simply embedding Google Maps in your footer can be helpful. Users can zoom in and out, click on markers and input their location for directions. Interactive maps can improve local SEO and provide a personalized user experience, making it easier for customers to interact with your business.

  • Interactive infographics: Interactive infographics can provide customers with an engaging way to learn about your business or something related to it. You can use them to present complex data or concepts in a way that is easy to understand. For example, if you’re in the business of selling organic produce, you could create an interactive infographic that shows the benefits of organic farming and how it differs from traditional farming methods.

Types of interactive content marketing are games, quizzes, calculators, polls, virtual reality, surveys, dynamic presentations, simulations, software demos, image slider, interactive maps and interactive infographics.

What are the benefits of interactive content marketing?

Keeping up with the latest trends isn’t the only reason you should try interactive content marketing—far from it. Let’s discuss a few of the benefits of interactive content marketing to help you decide whether it’s a fit for your small business marketing goals.

Virality potential

There is a good reason why BuzzFeed-esque quizzes and polls are viable options for marketers: the statistics are there to prove their potential to massively scale. Back in 2014, the quiz “What City Should You Actually Live In?” from BuzzFeed reportedly earned more than 18 million views and more than 2.5 million Facebook likes. The most-read story from The New York Times in 2013 wasn’t a profile or an investigation, but a quiz called “How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk.”

Interactive content marketing could have even more potential in the years to come. Looking at data from the last two years, Mediafly customers who used interactive content saw a 94% higher increase in content views than static content.

It’s no surprise that this sort of content performs so well—it’s compelling not only to consume but also to share. Just think back to how many of your Facebook friends used to share what Disney princess they were according to a BuzzFeed quiz or their Sporcle results on how many country flags they could identify. “You can keep [results like these] to yourself, but most people want to brag about it, and they share it,” says Shachaf Rodberg, Wix's marketing trend analyst.

Data collection

Upcoming cookie bans may be playing a role in the trend of businesses embracing interactive content as a marketing strategy. Advertisers, social media platforms and other third-party websites have long used cookies to track consumer behavior and collect their browsing data.

Third-party cookies are extremely useful for marketers but quite invasive for everyone else. Cookies can record years of your web history without you knowing, and it’s all too easy for ill-intentioned parties to access all that sensitive data. Safari and Firefox have blocked third-party cookies to protect their users, and Google plans to do the same by 2024. Because interactive content marketing often asks participants to answer personal questions anonymously in exchange for entertainment and education, it offers the perfect alternative to invasive cookies that may become obsolete in the coming years.

Brand recall and loyalty

Interactive content marketing can also be highly effective for building brand recall and loyalty, especially if the experience is memorable and engaging. For example, a well-designed interactive game can leave a lasting impression on a viewer. The viewer, in turn, will associate your brand with a fun experience. Similarly, interactive content that encourages user participation, such as polls or quizzes, can create a sense of community, building brand loyalty in the process.

The key to interactive content marketing? Putting the customer first

So, how can you create your own interactive content marketing strategy? Rodberg suggests thinking about it from the consumer’s perspective. “From a marketers perspective, it's all about gathering valuable first-party data about your customers and non-customers alike,” says Rodberg. “The magic happens when you actually focus on the type of questions and content that actually enrich the lives of the reader.”

It’s important that you’re offering something of value rather than just creating clickbait. “The battle for our attention is already taking its toll,” said Rodberg. “This type of content can just add to the noise.” Think about ways to use personalization to tailor the content to your target audience’s interest. How can you use your expertise to provide them with valuable insights and data that can enhance their knowledge or decision-making processes?

As long as you keep that in mind, using interactive content to market your business is a promising strategy for engaging customers and driving loyalty. It might make it seem like the internet is so 2014 again, but rest assured, interactive content marketing is a step toward the future.

Check out this blog of content marketing tips for more ideas.

8 examples of interactive content marketing

When it comes to interactive content, the possibilities are endless. To get your creative juices flowing, check out the content marketing examples below.

01. Spotify

If you need help finding the perfect playlist to match your vibe for the day, Spotify can help. The music streaming service’s mood quiz features five quick questions, including queries like “How did you start your morning?” and “How do you like to relax at home?” If your responses suggest that you’re on the chiller end of the spectrum, the quiz may point you to a playlist of acoustic covers. If you’re getting ready for a night out, it might suggest a playlist of dance jams.

02. Sephora

With the explosion of the beauty industry over the last couple of years, it can feel overwhelming to sift through all the skincare options out there. With its skincare finder quiz, Sephora helps customers find a good fit for what they’re looking for. The quiz basically functions as a Sephora salesperson would, pointing out a few product options based on the customer’s needs, age and priorities. What’s particularly clever about this quiz is users can simply click “add to basket” on the result they like best.

03. Mint’s Grocery Budget Calculator

Mint's Grocery Budget Calculator is an engaging piece of interactive content that helps users figure out how much to spend on groceries. By inputting a few data points about family size, projected number of meals eaten out and dietary needs, users can receive a recommended total budget. Users can also toggle on a spectrum of spending habits, ranging from thrifty to generous. This interactive content ties nicely to Mint's personal finance product, recognizing a common need for their customers and providing an evergreen tool that provides noticeable value.

04. Adobe

The Creative Types quiz cleverly weaves in its promotion of Adobe Creative Cloud with the opportunity for designers and users to discover more about themselves. Rather than bombarding users with a product link at the end of the quiz, Adobe enhances the experience by showcasing eye-catching 3D graphics between each question, fueling creativity and inspiring users to start designing.

But the benefits don't stop there. Upon receiving their quiz results, users are provided with digital assets that they can easily share on social media. This not only encourages users to engage with Adobe's products and services, but also amplifies brand awareness through social sharing. By taking a user-centric approach and providing value beyond just the promotion of its products, Adobe effectively connects with its audience and establishes a positive brand image.

05. Marriott

Marriott uses this visually stimulating, interactive infographic to offer families travel destinations in Scottsdale, Arizona. It functions like a “choose your adventure” game with a dotted line that leads through your responses to the results. What’s special about this piece of interactive content marketing is that you don’t have to restart it if you want a different answer. Once you’ve clicked on every answer, the page becomes a static infographic that you can save for later.

06. Wendy’s

By using a poll to deliver a joke about Elon Musk asking followers if he should resign as CEO, Wendy’s manages to make its followers feel like they’re in on the joke. It worked—over 60,000 people weighed in and over 5,000 people liked the poll. The social media manager took things a step further by responding to comments, keeping the tone sarcastic and witty. This approach helped Wendy's build a stronger connection with its audience and created a memorable interaction that could potentially lead to increased brand loyalty.

07. Bloom Energy

Bloom Energy’s power outage map provides valuable information to potential customers, helping them assess their risk and inform their energy resiliency strategy. The map allows businesses in California to quickly see the number of blackouts and customers impacted in their area, and understand the potential impact on their operations. By providing this information in an interactive and engaging way, Bloom Energy can showcase its expertise and position itself as a solution provider for businesses looking to safeguard their operations from power outages.

08. Lacoste

Located on the inside of a crocodile’s mouth and decked out in green, Lacoste’s virtual store is a unique and memorable piece of branding. Instead of simply scrolling through endless pages of apparel, customers can now immerse themselves in a hidden world and discover their next favorite t-shirt. The virtual store provides a new level of engagement and interactivity, allowing customers to explore the products in a fun and playful way. By creating a unique and immersive shopping experience, Lacoste is able to stand out from the competition and create a lasting impression with their customers.

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