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Why Interactive Content is the Future of Digital Marketing

It is clear now that there’s no stopping the avalanche of interactive content that consumers experience. But with attention spans getting shorter — just eight seconds on average — and consumers craving engagement and personalized experiences, marketers are competing with each other to devise the most innovative and entertaining ways to capture their audiences’ attention. 

And it’s no wonder why: Various sources confirm that interactive content drives better results and generates up to twice as many conversions than passive content. With interaction on the rise, how can marketers reap the benefits of this phenomenon to fuel consumer satisfaction and boost the ROI of their campaigns? 

Uncovering consumer preferences

Today is all about interacting with your audience and leading meaningful conversations. Consumers are confident in the driver’s seat, and scan the overcrowded digital space to find the right personalized and engaging exchanges. Marketers now need to dance to their tune. However, this is no easy task, especially considering that standards are getting higher, as audiences become accustomed to interaction and automatically expect it go even further.

The key to success lies in understanding what the modern consumer wants, where they want to access it, and how to approach them most effectively. This means that apart from tailoring the finest experience, we also need to account for general behavior patterns. For example, when interacting with customer support, 78 percent of consumers use mobile devices. This number reaches 90 percent among millennials, suggesting that these segments would enjoy simple interactive experiences, including chatbots, video Q&As, and polls. 

Diverse monetization opportunities

Interactive content offers a myriad of benefits, cultivating brand awareness, promoting stronger connections with existing customers, filling the gaps in marketing strategies, and serving as a collection tool for customer data. It’s widely used to educate buyers, with 93 percent of marketers seeing interactive content as effective for this purpose. But beyond that, it works wonders for increased engagement and valuable consumer data acquisition. The hard numbers show that it converts buyers 70 percent of the time compared to just 36 percent for passive content.

Companies, such as Sephora, have become the uncrowned kings of interactive experiences. Using virtual and augmented reality setups both online and in-store, the cosmetics brand is never without a new innovation up its sleeve. The beauty giant has also collaborated with Facebook to bring new features to its holiday catalog. Using tabs for Canvas, the brand was able to showcase product collections from the advertiser’s catalog to the right people. The strategy increased reach by 30 percent and generated a 41 percent higher click-through rate than previous campaigns, resulting in a 32 percent increase return on ad spend.

No stranger to disrupting the digital space, Facebook recently introduced the concept of Instant Experience ads. With diverse templates, brands can utilize interactive storefront, lookbooks, storytelling, and other features to deploy a customized lead form within the app to collect information from users. The social media platform states that this tool can load up to 15 times faster than standard mobile websites, having the potential to catch the eyes of users more effectively. 

The space for creativity

With interaction on the rise, we have seen something as traditionally rigid as the humble email become more user-friendly and engaging. Companies have been experimenting with buttons, memes, GIFs, videos, giveaways, links, and even simple games. Also, by directly including a form or symbols that redirect to further questions, companies discover that utilizing interactive content doesn’t only improve consumer experience but also forms a great asset for feedback collection. 

Quizzes have also earned an indispensable role. Due to their versatility, sites like BuzzFeed use them to skyrocket engagement, with 96 percent of users who start a quiz continuing through to the end result. Quizzes can even serve as a great consumer education tool, as seen on websites like slaveryfootprint.org that went viral by raising awareness of an important social issue.

There are now countless opportunities, whether through polls, webinars, videos and tutorials, live streams, or even QR codes incorporated in documents like white papers. Some brands are even taking interactive content to another level: for example, the car giant Toyota has been praised for developing an augmented reality feature allowing anyone to see exactly what is going on in the engine, bringing entertaining and educative value into its efforts to promote hybrid engines. On the other hand, voice activation is another area to be explored, with companies like LEGO using it to promote interactive storytelling service to spark children’s imaginations.

Whether companies are looking to catch attention on landing pages or social media, interactive content is something businesses of all sizes can experiment with. With its endless possibilities, interactive content could quickly give companies an important competitive advantage, allowing them to cultivate closer consumer relationships, all the while generating revenue through monetization. 

— Colin Peter O’Riordan is digital strategist at Brandwidth

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