Where and When to Invest in Interactive Content

We had a great conversation here at ID the other day. Two creatives were talking through a campaign structure and The Tech Guy stopped us in our tracks: “Why is the interactive piece in Lead Generation, not at the third nurture touch, where we have a Decision Tree?”

“An interactive Lead Gen piece provides a more engaging experience,” I replied automatically.

“That’s dumb,” says the guy who’s wearing shorts to work, “A Decision Tree is a much better use case for an interactive experience. You should move it there.”

Keep in mind we’d already had this structure approved and were concepting the offers. Any suggestion of a major change at this point meant a lot of reworking timelines, project plans and resourcing.

“Son of a biscuit. You’re right.”

Interactive Content

Commence much hustling and rearranging, resulting in a much stronger campaign. Thanks, Super Strategic Tech Guy!

Interactive Content Growth

Interactive content isn’t just a buzzy little trend. According to a 2016 Content Marketing Institute survey, 53% of content marketers use interactive content with the primary purpose of educating and engaging the target audience. More seasoned content marketers use more interactive content, 75% of respondents said interactive production would increase in the next year and 81% agree that interactive content grabs attention more effectively than static content. In sum, content that users can play with is here to stay.

Interactive Content Is a Powerful Storytelling Tool

Inheritance by Ken Dornstein

Want an example of an engrossing and immersive interactive content experience? Explore Inheritance, Ken Dornstein’s story of the Lockerbie Bombing for PBS Frontline. Dornstein lost his brother in the 1988 Pan Am bombing and while the story is incredibly personal, it also resonates with universal themes of loss through violence.
Well that story has inherent impact and fascinating angles, you say. It’s lovely, but my goal is to sell more laundry detergent. Good news for you: interactive content is a wonderful tool for in-depth storytelling, but it’s also a very practical tool for consumer education and engagement.

Interactive Content Is a Powerful Fertilizer Selling Tool

PotashCorp, the world’s largest manufacturer of fertilizers by volume, was hit by an 18% decline in sales in 2012. As part of the rebound strategy the corporation and an agency partner developed a set of web-based calculators that employ complex calculus and real-time data analysis to empirically show farmers how much yield they are missing by skipping fertilizer for a season.
The result? Sales have rebounded and more than 120,000 farmers visit the site each year to help them make more informed business decisions. Turns out people who work 18 hours a day are very interested in real-time data that helps them increase efficiency.

Interactive Content is Not for All the Things!

Interactive Content

So yaaaaay for interactive content! It wins the race! Interactive for all!

Not so fast, Slim.

As the conversation at the start of this post illustrates, optimizing interactive content use requires many strategic decisions, especially considering most brands don’t have unlimited interactive development budgets.*

When is an interactive experience a great idea?

Any of the following interactions with a target audience will benefit from interactivity:

  • Rich media storytelling
  • Navigating a complicated decision
  • Games and contests
  • Learning how a complex product works
  • Assessing a current state or a future need
  • Providing a calculator for customized estimates
  • Collecting data without over-relying on forms

When is an interactive experience the wrong idea? 

Don’t get too cute with interactivity at the transactional level. When you simply need someone to provide an email address or fill out the credit card information, that user experience should be as clean and predictable as possible.

“Interactive experiences inherently create friction, but for great reasons: to learn, to start conversations, to give you options. But you don’t want any additional friction at the very top or very bottom of the funnel. Don’t make it difficult for me to opt in, or pay you. Ever,” says Jim Ruberto, Technology Director here at ID.

Does that mean you should never run a lead generation campaign around an interactive piece? Absolutely not. A quality interactive assessment is a great lead gen piece for the right audience. Just make sure your eager new customers can get from the ad to the interactive fun with minimal friction.

Utilizing interactive content is an investment in an engaging, educational experience for your audience. Development costs mean interactivity will always cost more than a static .pdf, but if you find the right topic, channel and funnel position to deploy this content you can make a much bigger impact on buying decisions. Check out a recent example of what ID is doing in the healthcare industry to see how we turned a complex topic into a streamlined interactive experience. What are your favorite use cases for interactive content? Let us know @intelligentdem.

*And if you do have unlimited budgets for interactive development, please contact info[at]intelligentdemand.com immediately.

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