Interactive Content: What Is It? And Why Do You Need It Now?

Gone are the days where visitors are content to cozy up to your blog with a big mug of tea and read everything you have to say. In an age where we can swipe, tap, and click to find everything we need, you need more than just a blog to stand out.

In fact, the most recent State of Inbound report listed “interactive content creation” as a top-five priority for marketing teams in North America – with 38% of respondents saying it’s a priority for the coming year. This ranked higher than other seemingly-important priorities like marketing automation (37%), webinars (21%), and product how-to videos (16%).

The moral of the story? Interactive content is here to stay. Let’s review what interactive marketing content is, why it matters to your business, and some tools you can use to try out interactive content this month.

What is interactive content?

According to SnapApp, a leader in interactive content creation and management, interactive content is:

Content that requires the participants’ active engagement – more than simply reading or watching. In return for that engagement, participants receive real-time, hyper-relevant results they care about.

In other words, interactive content is content that draws your visitor into your content by requiring their physical engagement. Whether they answer questions, select preferences, or have to scroll over and click content to reveal it, the content becomes an active participant as much as the visitor.

Why does interactive content matter?

Well, besides the fact that many leading organizations are already implementing interactive content, research shows that many people, especially millennials, prefer to engage with interactive content rather than simply read a blog post or watch a webinar. According to a recent survey, 45% of people said that interactive content was a top-three preferred content type.

Additionally, many organizations are struggling with creative and new content development. As a result, they pull topics out of thin air in order to target primary keywords. But that’s just not the way SEO works anymore. It matters more that you’re providing visitors with quality content that encourages them to stay on your page.

But the biggest value interactive content can bring to your organization is lead generation. Contacts that engage directly with your content will usually derive a higher value from it, and will be more likely to share their information in order to use the content, or see the results of the actions they took to use it.

Interactive content is a strategic, forward-thinking, and revolutionary way to engage with prospects and customers. For industries where the content may feel “boring” or “stagnant”, interactive content can be the key to re-engaging cold leads and obtaining new ones.

What types of interactive content are there?

There are several types of interactive content that your company can use. Here are some standard interactive content types:

1. Calculators: Interactive calculators take numeric information from your visitors and convert it into data that they can use to guide or support them with a particular initiative. Some examples of calculators you can use are:

  • ROI Calculators: Help your prospects see the value of your product or service.
  • Cost Calculators: Outline how much a product, service, or choice will cost, like tuition, hiring a new employee, or a mortgage.
  • Revenue Generation Calculators: Keep track of how much revenue can be gained by comparing costs, profit, and time.
  • Time Saving Calculators: Help your users see how much time they can save by using your product or service with this type of calculator.
2. Assessments: Save your users a lot of time, research, and money by creating a free assessment for them to take on your website. Assessments are usually in the form of a quiz – requiring the user to answer a series of questions and providing them with a result at the end. Common types of assessments are:
  • Personality Tests: Help your users see what type of personality they have by having them answer a series of personal preference questions.
  • Quizzes: Highlight a user’s knowledge – or lack thereof – with a quiz. Quizzes can help your users identify gaps in their knowledge. The best part about using interactive content is that you can provide avenues to educate them as they move through the quiz.

3. Polls and Surveys: There’s no better way to get a pulse on the preferences or opinions of your users than with a poll or survey. Services like Hotjar enable you to add polls to website pages and emails. Ask your contact database what they’d like to read about in your upcoming blog, and then tailor your content to their responses.

4. Interactive White Papers, Infographics, and eBooks: Interactive white papers are an incredible investment, especially if you have an older piece of content that’s already performing well on your website. Take your content to the next level by incorporating a quiz, poll, survey, or calculator within your downloadable content. Where static, long-form content can become tedious to read, interactive content keeps the reader engaged for much longer.

5. Brackets and Contests: There’s no better way to ignite fresh engagement than with some friendly competition. Brackets enable you to place users against each other and track their progress in real-time.

6. Interactive Video: Interactive video takes the power of visual footage and transforms it into a user-experience. Where traditional video is simply a monologue of text, speech, and visual content, interactive video invites the user to participate.

  • Webinars: Give your webinars a fresh, live feel by making them interactive. Invite viewers to answer survey questions, take quizzes, and answer questions during the webinar to tailor your focus and messaging to your audience.
  • Tutorials and Product Demos: Nothing says “buy our product or service” like an interactive tutorial or product demo. You can enable visitors to select areas of your service or product they’d like to see, and then be taken directly there.

7. Lookbooks: A big trend in the fashion industry, interactive lookbooks allow the user to select and scroll though combinations of clothing, accessories, and styles to find the perfect look. However, there is opportunity for other industries to use this feature, as well. Any product that can be customized is a good fit for a lookbook-style piece of content.

8. Interactive Press Releases: Goodbye boring newspaper article, hello videos, resource centers, and survey polls. When your announcement invites engagement, your press release becomes more memorable and more likely to be shared. 

Tools your company can use to try interactive content today:

  • Hotjar – Hotjar is one of our favorite tools to use. In addition to website visitor heat mapping, Hotjar also makes it easy for you to incorporate polls, surveys, and incoming feedback from website visitors.
  • SnapApp – As we previously mentioned, SnapApp is thought to be a leader and innovator in interactive content creation and management. Check out some of their tools and offerings – you’ll be impressed.
  • Ceros – An interactive content platform that allows you to create visually stunning interactive content without needing a developer. Perfect for companies that rely on a strong visual brand.
  • Engageform – Creating interactive quizzes and assessments has never been easier with Engageform. And this tool can help you generate leads.
  • WebyClip – Harnessing the power of AI and video, WebyClip allows anyone that watches your video to engage directly with products shown in the video.
  • Ion Interactive – Create an interactive white paper, eBook, infographic, and more with Ion Interactive’s platform. They even have a really cool example on the site of what an interactive guide can look and fee like.

What should you do next?

The reality is that creating interactive content can be expensive. Why? Well, quite frankly, because it works. Interactive content is here to stay. But if you’re not ready to break the bank for new leads, consider subscribing to content published by several of the companies above. Sometimes, these platforms offer the opportunity to create a piece of interactive content for free. Not only is this a great way for you try out the platform, but you can give interactive content a try on your site. If you get a handful of incredibly qualified leads, it may be more of an investment in your marketing than an expense.

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Kate Moore | Content Strategy & SEO Director
About the Author
Kate Moore, Content Strategy & SEO Director

Kate Moore is a Content Strategist by day, HubSpot expert by night. When she’s not getting distracted by her many fans (ahem – work emails and phone calls), she’s hunkered down, plugged into Spotify and writing about stuff that will make your work with HubSpot smooth and simple.