Our relationships with customers have evolved in recent years to become increasingly complex. Omnichannel approaches and new communication platforms have become part of everyday business. And as these customer relationships have grown and evolved, greater demands have been placed on us as organizations to provide higher quality and more diverse content.
From dynamic to user-generated content, our customers now demand more exciting and engaging material that can both inform and entertain. Our methods of communication with them are critical, too, whether using synchronous communication or communicating asynchronously.
One of the most significant developments that organizations have been adopting is interactive content that encourages customer participation. But just what is interactive content? And how do we choose and curate it so that it stands out from that of others?
What is interactive content?
As the name suggests, interactive content is any sort of content that encourages customers to engage with it rather than just reading or watching passively. But why do we want customers to interact with content? One key reason is that as the amount of content that demands our attention has dramatically increased, the amount of time and attention we dedicate to it has also decreased.
Let’s look at a few statistics on attention span:
On Facebook, desktop users spend an average of 2.5 seconds per piece of content, while that figure drops to 1.7 seconds via a mobile device.
On Twitter, the amount of time a hashtag remains trending has been gradually decreasing since 2013.
It’s recommended that marketing videos on YouTube should be around 2 minutes in length.
It makes sense that with so much content to choose from, people spend less time per piece. And it follows that by creating content beyond simple facts and that instead encourages interaction, people will spend more time digesting the information contained therein.
But what forms can interactive content take? They can range from a simple poll to one of these types of hybrid events, so there are many choices. Let’s take a quick look at 6 of the most effective of these.
Types of interactive content
Infographics have always been an engaging form of media and a popular one for users to share on their own social media platforms. But infographics have evolved, and an interactive infographic can be both entertaining and informative. Things like maps or diagrams where the user interacts and finds new info by moving their mouse button can be a great way to connect.
Making video interactive can take it to a whole new level. 86% of businesses already use regular video as a marketing tool, and 24% of marketers using video plan to use interactive content in 2021. Interaction can include 360° video where the viewer can change perspective or videos where the viewer can change the narrative.
3 Polls and surveys
A major advantage of polls and surveys is that not only are they interactive and encourage engagement, but they are also an excellent way for companies to collect relevant information. They can help you gather customer views on your products, your customer service, etc., as well as getting contact details from new customers for future campaigns.
Quizzes are a fantastic and fun way of increasing engagement and generating leads. They work well on any channel or platform, from social media to emails and people usually enjoy participating. If you have doubts, look at how BuzzFeed used quizzes to become one of the world’s most shared websites. Use your quizzes to encourage new customers to sign up.
5 Virtual and in-person events
Virtual events were already massive before the pandemic, valued at some $77.98 billion globally in 2019. With the acceleration provided by Covid, that market is estimated to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.2% between now and 2027. With the technology available, live events can include everything from a conference to a live band.
6 White papers and ebooks
While these two formats may not immediately spring to mind as interactive content, both can be a great way of collecting long-form content or a series of related materials in one place. And they can also help generate leads by having customers subscribe to download. The interactive aspect comes from making them easy to navigate with hyperlinked sections, clickable infographics, note sections, etc.
How to choose and curate your interactive content
Knowing what sort of interactive content can be made is one piece of the puzzle but knowing which you should use is another altogether. While interactive content’s common aim is to increase engagement, each can offer different levels of this and different features. Before you dive into creating interactive content, take some time to consider your goals.
You can define your goals and thus be able to make an ongoing plan for your interactive content by asking yourself some simple questions:
What do you want to achieve by posting interactive content? This can help decide which type will benefit you most. Of course, increased engagement is a common goal, but more specific ones will direct you better. Quizzes are a great way to increase your subscriber count, while a poll or survey is a good method of gathering customer feedback.
Are you looking to create one piece of interactive content? The same type of interactive content regularly? Or are you planning to use different kinds of content for different objectives? Knowing how often and how much you want to post can help you see what hurdles may lie ahead. This is an area where online scheduling software can reduce your workload.
Where do you plan on posting your interactive content? On specific platforms or across the whole range of platforms you use? Some content works better on specific platforms. For example, surveys work well with mass email services and on social media, as they can reach a larger audience. Understanding your audience across platforms is a crucial part of planning.
If one of your goals is to collect data, think carefully about what data you want to collect. If you’re looking to build or expand an email list, you want to gather essential personal and contact details: name, age, gender, location, email address. If you’d like to do detailed market research, think about what questions you need to ask to get all the information you require.
5 Tools and abilities
Creating something like a poll, survey, or quiz is relatively simple, and there are many online templates you can utilize. But if you want to do something more complicated, such as a 360° video, are you equipped with the right tools? Do your content creators have the necessary abilities? Does your chosen video software offer screen share options?
It’s also worth remembering that with increased remote working, you may have to look at tools that can encourage online collaboration for your remote workers. Recognizing that there may be some hurdles in this area is a crucial aspect of your planning.
Do your plans include in-person, virtual, or hybrid events? If so, consider what event management software you’ll need. Choose software that’s easy to use, but that will produce a quality video. It has to be accessible by all parties, whether you are hosting a sales conference or a detailed webinar. Consider the question ‘what is teleconferencing’ and decide if the solutions fit.
Do you want to measure specific aspects of how your interactive content has performed? Simple views on a video on social media will not be enough to give you reliable data. You want to look at analytics like engagement and click-through rates. Are you going to measure metrics manually or use robotic process automation to cut down workloads and increase efficiency?
8 Cost and ROI
Of course, you want to be sure you are not just throwing money away on something that doesn’t produce results. This also ties in with your goals and your metrics. Being able to monitor your ROI will help you judge the effectiveness of your content. If you’re on a tight budget, examine different options such as multi-tenant cloud resources.
While our list of content types is not exhaustive, it gives you a starting point about what may best suit your needs. The keyword continues to be engagement; you want your audience hooked on your content. It’s also worth considering if you can adapt and repurpose old content to be part of your new content strategy.
The journey our customers take has multiple stages. Recognizing this and knowing how to create compelling content for each stage of the customer journey must form an integral part of your plan. Interactive content is a fantastic marketing tool, but you have to choose wisely and ensure that it aligns with your goals.