When you think of interactive content, you probably start thinking about clickable maps and vibrant websites created by large businesses and organisations with huge budgets. Or maybe, you think of that game or BuzzFeed quiz that you did last night that spits out some fandabidozi result.
No, not that kind of fandabidozi.
One which tells you which Disney character you are, or guesses your age based on the food you eat.
And, what about this…
(I’ve lost a lot of hours to this interactive silk drawing site.)
Interactive content is everywhere, but what you might not know, is that it doesn’t need to cost the earth to create.
No matter the size of your business, you can create interactive content that will provide several benefits.
First off… What is interactive content?
Essentially, it’s when content requires some participation or engagement directly from a user. This could be the movement of a mouse cursor, the click of a button, and much more. Often, interactive content is created to provide the user with some kind of personal experience.
Interactive content comes in a variety of forms, including, but not limited to surveys, quizzes, calculators, games, assessments, polls, chatbots, Augmented Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR) experiences, and interactive videos or eBooks.
Ok, now we’ve got that covered let’s dig a little deeper.
What are the benefits of creating interactive content?
Here are just some of the benefits:
- It shows you care about what your customers think and builds loyalty.
- It allows people to have better insight into how you think, along with what your products and services are like, essentially building trust.
- Interactive content gains two times more engagement than static content, so you’ll get noticed more and gain exposure.
- It’s great for getting PR coverage and links, which results in improved SEO, traffic, and customers.
And, it’s on the rise. 62% of B2B marketers are already using interactive content and 81% of marketers agree that interactive content grabs attention more efficiently, while 79% believe it enhances the retention of brand messaging. As such, it’s no surprise that we’re expecting to see more and more interactive content as we move into 2023 and beyond.
Interactive content is everywhere if you think about it.
In 2018, Netflix took interactive video content to a whole new level. Bandersnatch was a huge success. Not only did it kinda break the internet, but it allowed Netflix to delve into the minds of its viewers.
For example, 60% of Netflix viewers chose Frosties over Sugar Puffs. I mean… That’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?
So, another benefit, is that creating interactive content can allow you to collect unique data, enabling you to delve into the minds of your customers and better understand them. Calculators, surveys, and polls are great interactive content pieces for this.
One brand in particular that is absolutely nailing it and seeing significant growth is Charlotte Tilbury. They encourage customers to interact with their website in a variety of ways – through their lipstick finder, for example, or you can even try before you buy with their virtual try-on tool.
What do you think of my lippy? 😀
So, there are lots of ways to create interactive content, but where do you start?
Identify your goals
As with anything to do with marketing, you’ve got to understand what your goals are when creating a piece of content. Do you want to build loyalty?
- Do you want to create something for link-building purposes?
- Do you want access to unique customer data?
- Also, are you creating something that will be useful or just a bit of fun?
- Once you’ve outlined this, you can consider your budget.
Budget-friendly interactive content
Social media contests – If you’re looking for entry-level interactive content, look no further than your own social media channels. Run a simple contest to ask followers to like and share your content or tag their friends and family. It’ll help build your online community, build trust, and gain buy-in. But don’t fall into the trap of running competitions for the sake of running competitions, as you’ll just attract the prize hunters.
Quizzes & polls – These are a great way to encourage your audience to engage with you, they also provide you with unique data and insights. You can run polls on social media, and there’s a variety of tools you can use for quizzes and questionnaires, including Google Forms, QuizMaker, and SurveyMonkey.
Quizzes can be as simple or creative as you want. If your budget allows, you can also create interactive infographics which include quizzes, like this one from Expedia.
Calculators – If you have a little more time and budget available, you could create a useful calculator for your customers. And, to make it, even more, budget-friendly, you could also get a little help from an AI tool you may have heard about called ChatGPT. I’m sorry. I had to go there.
This tool is being spoken about everywhere, and rightly so. I’m not saying it’s the answer to all your hopes and dreams, but it can help streamline your workload and reduce your costs when it comes to developing interactive content (among other things).
For example, I asked it to provide me with some code for a calculator. This is a snapshot of what it provided me with:
It then proceeded to give me the calculations etc. It’s a great start. The only thing you need to work on then is styling, implementation, and promotion.
I was inspired by this rather unusual song, which is also featured in a pretty good horror film.
You can give this tool a lot more detailed information and it’ll give you a much better result. But this gives you an idea of how you can at least get started with streamlining the process of developing an interactive piece of content while reducing the cost implications.
Intermediate interactive content
If you’ve got a little more budget available, not only could you create enhanced versions of any of the above – just like the Expedia quiz, for example, you could create the following:
Interactive infographics – These are a great way of displaying insights, putting a particular point across, and encouraging engagement. Plus, infographics are shared three times more than regular content!
There are various ways to create interactive infographics, but you’ll need to go through a full ideation phase to begin with, maybe do a couple of surveys, and even do further research into your chosen topic. But once you’ve got all the information you need, you can get a designer to create something truly amazing. You could use something like Ceros, Figma, or any number of coding languages to embed something into your site. Here’s a great example of an interactive infographic >
Maps – Creating an interactive map is another great way of displaying content and making it relatable. Again, I refer you to the Expedia piece above. These can be as simple or as detailed as you want.
Storybooks – Want to create an eBook, but not your bog-standard, plain white paper or guide? Create an interactive storybook on Ceros, like this one here.
Scrolly telling – Moving on slightly from storytelling, why not look at scrolly telling? It’s another way of telling a story in an even more immersive way. Take a look at this >
Unlike standard websites, scrolly telling allows users to be in control of their own experience. They can scroll up and down, left and right, along with clicking on different elements to reveal further information at their own pace.
Top-tier interactive content
If you’ve got plenty of cash to spend on interactive content, the world is your oyster! Why not try one of the following…
Games – Not only are games fun, but they can also be informational, eye-opening, and really sharable! Just check out this emergency stop game. It’s actually pretty accurate. It’s a simple idea that has been executed well.
Image sliders –Again, you can create something simple or go one step further. For example, in this piece, you can see what the sky would look like in different cities if there were no pollution. Or you could do a time-lapse and allow people to see even more, like this graphic where you see across London over 24 hours.
Interactive film – Probably one of the more costly pieces of interactive content is film. Just like Netflix’s Bandersnatch, you can create a film that your audience can interact with to decide outcomes and build their own narrative all within the confines of the world you create.
Tools – If you have a product, creating tools to allow customers to virtually try on clothes or makeup (like Charlotte Tilbury), or plan where to put your furniture is a great way to get buy-in. Nike nailed this when they created their interactive customisation platform, allowing customers to create their very own unique pair of trainers.
Other tips & tools for creating interactive content
Utilise free tools such as Canva. It can be used for so much, including budget-friendly interactive pieces.
Repurpose existing content! Take existing content, such as blog posts or infographics, and turn them into interactive content such as quizzes or assessments. And vice versa. Run quizzes and surveys and create infographics, videos, and other pieces off the back of them.
Leverage user-generated content. Ask customers to submit their own photos, videos, or other content that you can then use – They’ll feel involved and valued. Plus, they’re more likely to follow you and share your content in the future.
Partner with influencers on social media, along with bloggers to create co-branded interactive content that can be shared across various channels.
Above all else… Keep it simple! Interactive content does not have to be complex to be effective. Keep it simple and focused on the user experience.
Promote your content to get noticed
If you’re taking the time and effort to create interactive content, be sure to promote it. Promoting your content is the only way you’ll get noticed. Share it in blogs, email newsletters, and on social, and share it with partners, customers, colleagues, and friends. And don’t forget to send it to journalists and other relevant publications!
Plus, if you can make it evergreen, your content will never go out of date, and you can share it again and again, and it’ll continue to organically pull in links!
Then all you need to do… is celebrate.