“Engagement” is a popular buzzword in digital marketing circles. We all want to keep our audience engaged, especially with core brand assets like our website and content marketing efforts.
Content Marketing is a trend that continues to enjoy ongoing success – the practice of publishing shareable content like blog posts, infographics, and e-books to raise an organisation’s profile online.
However checking out a blog post or video will always be a relatively passive experience, no matter how riveting the contents. As a reader or viewer, you’re still not overly involved in the information transfer process.
Thankfully, there is a new, highly engaging alternative on the horizon: interactive content.
What is Interactive Content?
Interactive content is designed to make the reader an active participant rather than a passive observer. Creating content that is dependent on user input and exploration is likely to provide a more memorable, personalised, and useful experience, compared to static content that’s somewhat homogenised to appeal to everyone.
Why Use Interactive Web Content?
Interactive content types may seem like nothing more than a fun diversion from more static blogs or podcasts, but it actually makes good marketing sense to encourage active participation. The more opportunities you give for your audience to interact in novel and interesting ways, the longer they’re likely to spend on your website, focused on your brand.
Encouraging users to stick around can provide significant SEO benefits as well. Google favours websites where users spend a lot of time with a site before leaving – it shows that users find it engaging and useful. So as the average time people spend with your website (called “dwell time”) increases, you may well see an uptick in search rankings.
If your content is well-crafted, you may even earn a steady flow of social media shares which are understandably great for visibility. An increase in social shares can help your search visibility too; the number of times a page has been shared over social media also serves as a positive ranking signal.
So without further ado, let’s look at 7 highly engaging examples of interactive website content.
7 Kinds of Interactive Website Content
Quizzes that test a user’s knowledge on a certain subject are a particularly captivating way to encourage interaction with your brand. Getting your audience’s grey matter firing is a great way to make them feel involved and to embed learning. We’re naturally curious beings, so seeing how our knowledge of a given topic stacks up innately appeals to this inquisitive nature.
Online quizzes have a bit of a reputation as being a frivolous, even silly pursuit, but carefully thought out quizzes can totally be applicable to businesses too. Business insurer Hiscox have an excellent small business quiz which is totally on-brand for their SME audience – it’s also far more challenging than you might think!
2. Interactive Infographics and Data Visualisations
Sometimes it’s difficult to convey raw data through text, tables, or even static graphs and diagrams. Thankfully, with a little ingenuity, most data can be presented in an interactive way that enhances understanding.
Information is Beautiful’s World’s Biggest Data Breaches & Hacks is a good example of how interactive data visualisations can convey large amounts of top-level data effectively whilst letting the reader be led by their own curiosity. Alternatively, The Bright Future of Car Sharing from Collaborative Consumption involves a really ingenious way of scrolling through the information that almost feels like a video game.
Even adding vibrant animation can make a non-interactive piece feel more engaging, as shown in NeoMam Studios’ 13 Reasons Why your Brain Craves Infographics.
3. Polls & Questionnaires
If you regularly use Facebook or Twitter, you’ve most likely seen their poll functionalities in action. Users can publish multiple choice polls which aggregate the results into an easily digestible format. Polls are a great way of carrying out quick market research and gauging follower opinion; they’re just one question, one click – done!
Questionnaires are usually a little more in-depth, consisting of two or more questions. They’re a great way to gather more in-depth information from your audience whilst subtly keeping their minds focused on your brand. SurveyMonkey is a useful, free solution for publishing polls and questionnaires, collecting data, and analysing the results.
4. Tools & Calculators
Aside from marketing, the main aim of publishing content is to provide genuinely valuable answers and information. How better to provide value than by offering handy tools designed to help your audience solve a common problem? If your audience find your tool particularly useful, they may well come to use it time and time again. In terms of brand awareness, that’s a great position to be in!
There are handy tools like this all over the web, so let’s look at a couple of examples. Coolors.co is an excellent little tool to help you formulate and play around with colour palettes. If you’re more the wordy kind, Spotibo’s Google SERP Preview Tool is a handy way to preview how a page’s title tag and meta description will display in search results before you hit “publish”. Or if numbers are more your thing, Experian have an excellent Return on Investment Calculator. As evidenced here, interactive tools don’t have to be overly complex – creating a quick shortcut for visitors is often enough.
5. Interactive Video
Video is already a highly engaging medium as-is, but watching a video is still quite a passive activity. However, interactive video turns viewers into active participants by seamlessly presenting different options for the viewer to select, opening up further video content in line with their selections.
The Guardian’s Seven Digital Deadly Sins is a great specimen of interactive video – the reader’s own curiosity naturally takes them around the various chapters. The only limits are the viewer’s own curiosity! Maybelline New York provide an excellent example of how to use interactive video when presenting a visual product.
In a way, 360-degree videos are also interactive. Thanks to VR headsets, the viewer can immerse themselves in the content and look around at will. This video taken of Tokyo’s busy Akihabara district is a particularly fascinating instance.
6. Kinetic Emails
Historically, email has been a pretty static format. But thanks to some smart CSS coding, a new trend in email marketing has arisen: kinetic emails.
Kinetic email effects allow for simple animation, including recipient interaction. This example from Pret a Manger shows how different images can be presented within the email following a recipient’s selection. And these emails from Nest contain an interactive visual carousel for the recipient to browse at will.
Though they’re presented as web links here, this interactivity would have been present within the recipient’s email software.
Webinars are live, online video presentations which are generally delivered at a predetermined time. Because they’re presented live, participants can ask questions and have them answered live by the person (or people) giving the talk – either on the fly or at set times within the presentation.
The benefits of webinars – short for “web seminars” – are two-fold. Firstly, anyone who wants to tune in and participate is generally asked to register, usually by providing an email address. This makes webinars great for lead generation. Secondly, there’s the interactive aspect; participants are granted direct access to the person or company in question. All in all, webinars enable companies to come together with avid prospects through an exclusive, interactive online event.
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