Interactive Content: What It Is, Why It’s Important, and How to Use It

Grabbing (and keeping) your audience’s attention can be difficult nowadays. Companies are constantly competing with one another to deliver the boldest, brightest, cleverest, and most engaging content to their consumers. 

In the past, well-written blog posts, eBooks, and white papers may have been enough to dominate certain market sectors. However, good content is no longer good enough. Businesses must jump on the interactive content bandwagon in order to stay relevant now, and in the years to come.

What exactly is “interactive content?” Why is it important? How can you create interactive content, and incorporate it into your overall marketing strategy? These are all excellent questions; and the information below will provide you with detailed answers.

What is interactive content?

First of all, we need to understand the definition of interactive content. Simply put, interactive content is content your audience can actively (instead of passively) engage with.

Whereas most content is “static” (e.g., traditional blog posts, infographics, videos, etc.), interactive content is dynamic, because consumers have to engage with it in order for it to move forward (think polls, quizzes, games, and so forth). 

Why is interactive content important?

There are a ton of reasons why interactive content has become so popular in the world of digital marketing (and in general, for that matter). Here are just a few key reasons why you should consider using interactive content in your own marketing plan:

1. Interactive content helps you understand consumer preferences more clearly.

It’s no secret that selling to someone who’s not ready to buy, or simply not interested in what you’re offering, is a surefire recipe for disaster. However, you could still miss golden opportunities to nurture leads and close sales if you’re not interacting with your consumers the way they want you to interact with them. 

Interactive content provides a gold mine of consumer data that you can leverage into actionable insights regarding your target audience. For example: Do your users have a higher engagement rate with polls or quizzes? Do they interact with your company via mobile apps, your website, or social media accounts?

Even if your interactive content is primarily designed for marketing purposes, it can yield a host of helpful data points about consumer behavior patterns and preferences.

2. Interactive content is a conversion powerhouse.

You can use interactive content to accomplish a wide range of objectives: building brand awareness, educating middle-of-funnel buyers, generating increased engagement, etc. But in the midst of its many use cases, don’t lose sight of interactive content’s power to convert prospects into leads, and leads into buyers. In fact, one study found that interactive content converts buyers a whopping 70% of the time – nearly twice as much as passive content. Why? Simply put, because interactive content demands user engagement – and when users are engaged, they are much more likely to convert.

Companies like Sephora, IKEA, and Facebook have leveraged virtual and augmented reality, along with a variety of other interactive elements, into increased reach and higher click-through rates. These and other companies offer great examples of interactive content as a conversion-generating machine. (For instance, Facebook’s Instant Experience ads show one avenue for leveraging interactive content into optimal business results).

3. Interactive content is an exceptional medium for unleashing creativity.

If you’re operating a smaller business and competing with bigger counterparts, the creative potential of interactive content can provide your brand with a unique advantage. According to Robert Rose, the chief strategy adviser for Content Marketing Institute: “If you’re a small business, know that you can compete with some of your larger competitors [by using interactive content]. However, the only way you will succeed is by creating an interesting experience that could only come from you – not by copying someone else.”

The good news is, opportunities for creativity are virtually limitless. You can add interactive elements to your mobile app, post quizzes to your social media accounts, offer live webinars to educate prospects on the benefits of your product or service… the list could go on and on. In addition, many pieces of interactive content have “reusable value,” meaning that consumers may return to engage with the content multiple times.

How can you incorporate interactive elements into your content?

This is the million-dollar question! As alluded to above, there are several ways to add an interactive “touch” to normally static pieces of content. Then again, there are plenty of opportunities to develop purely interactive content that will surely delight your consumers. Here are just a few examples of interactive web content that you can explore:

Interactive infographics. Static infographics are “a dime a dozen” on the Internet. Even though they may be attractive and helpful, they are still passive pieces of content that many users will skim over or ignore completely. On the other hand, interactive infographics are designed to engage consumers, even if it’s something as simple as clicking a single button to view the complete visual. 

Calculators and quote tools. These pieces of interactive content are simultaneously engaging and practical. For example, many car insurance companies use interactive tools to provide a virtually instantaneous quote for interested prospects. NerdWallet’s mortgage calculator is another great example of interactive content that informs, educates, and drives engagement.

Quizzes. In terms of interactive content, quizzes and assessments are highly effective at engaging prospects in the “awareness stage” of the sales funnel. Why? Because they’re fun, easy to share, and may even encourage participants to refer friends and family members to the brand (via the quiz, or directly). 

Gamification. Of course, games are the apex of interactive content. While it may not be appropriate to publish games as such for your users, even relatively simple gamification elements in non-game contexts can make your brand stand out from the competition. Check out our list of gamification best practices to learn more. 

Interactive video. Perhaps the most intriguing form of interactive content that’s surfaced over the last several years is interactive video – e.g., a “choose your own adventure” narrative that puts the user in the driver’s seat. Although this is typically more suitable for long-form video content, you can use the core principles to inform shorter ads and video series that you publish. For example, live shopping videos (i.e. live streams designed to sell a product or service in an engaging, entertaining way) are a powerful way to grab and keep the attention of interested prospects. (They’ve been especially popular since the pandemic began in 2020.)

How can Storyly help you publish interactive content on mobile apps?

It’s no secret that mobile apps are becoming a more critical marketing channel with each passing year. In fact, one study found that 88% of mobile time is spent on apps; moreover, approximately half of mobile users open apps at least 11 times every day.

What’s the point? In order to take your marketing game to the next level, you need to deliver interactive content to your audience in a way that’s optimized for mobile devices, and mobile apps. Fortunately, Storyly – a platform that can bring mobile stories to any app – is here to help.

For example, Storyly allows you to develop interactive shoppable videos that will engage with and convert your users in the most effective way possible; and publishing these videos through Storyly won’t affect your app speed. You can also use Storyly Studio to incorporate a range of interactive components into your stories, not to mention customized CTA and text fields. Here are some examples of interactive elements you can add to your posts by means of our platform:

CTA button. You can add a customized CTA button to your story post, and position it virtually anywhere on the screen. In addition, you can include a feature that allows users to swipe up and click through to your product page in order to make a purchase.

Emoji reactions. Storyly gives you the option to add an “emoji reaction” bar to your story, so that users can provide some basic feedback on how your ad made them feel. (Hopefully, you’ll get a lot of smiley faces!)

Polls. This feature is typically for “Yes/No” questions, but it’s a great way to get specific feedback from your audience, and get them more engaged with your content. It’s also a great way to hype an upcoming event, or A/B test an aspect of your marketing strategy.

Multiple choice questions. This is similar to the poll feature, but this time you have the option to include three or more answer options for your users. Multiple choice questions are a great way to get your audience’s “wheels turning,” and can even function as fun “micro-quizzes” that will boost engagement.

Countdown. Do you have a limited-time offer for one of your products? Are you counting down to a specific promotion or event? Then add a countdown timer to your post to generate buzz and add a sense of urgency! (FOMO is real, and it’s powerful.) How is this an interactive feature? You can add a bell-shaped icon to your countdown timer, so that when users click the icon, they’ll receive push notifications about the campaign.

Ratings. Ever wonder how excited your users are about a new product release, or an upcoming sale? Storyly’s rating feature empowers each user to let you know on a sliding scale of awesomeness!

The bottom line? Interactive content is what you need to stand out from the crowd – and we can take your interactive content to the next level. If you’d like to learn more about how Storyly can help you deliver engaging interactive content on mobile apps, reach out today!

Read more like this: