Where does content come into an interactive marketing strategy?
Burger King said it best with its slogan of over 40 years: ‘Have it your way’. Putting users in control of the product/service marketed to them is useful in both internal and external marketing.
Interactive marketing was made famous in recent times by streaming platform Netflix with two ‘choose your own fate’ television programs, but it’s has been around for a while – nearly half of respondents to a Content Marketing Institute (CMI) survey report said they have already used it. It’s just that many businesses don’t know where content come into an interactive marketing strategy.
In this guide, we will discuss:
- What is interactive content marketing?
- Common interactive marketing techniques.
- Interactive versus static content and how to use both in a dedicated marketing strategy.
With that in mind, it’s time to make a choice. Learn more or leave now. Choose the light side or the dark side. The blue pill or the red pill. The decision is yours!
What is interactive content marketing?
Interactive content allows users to determine their own personalised outcome to a narrative or question.
Netflix’s “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” weaves interactive elements into the show’s narrative about a mentally ill game developer, Stefan Butler. Stefan loses his grip on reality while obsessively creating a video game with multiple possible story threads based on player choices. The Netflix audience chooses actions for Stefan to take, with each decision affecting the episode’s events and outcome. “Bandersnatch” was a critical success, showing the appeal of interactive content.
This led to another interactive series. “You vs. Wild with Bear Grylls”, being released months later. This time users are partnered with famed survivalist Bear Grylls as he is dropped into a variety of remote environments. Viewers are in full control of how he survives his wild encounters, getting to choose between different scenarios that change the narrative as it goes.
But despite having similar interactive abilities to “Bandersnatch”, “You vs. Wild” hasn’t been met with the same critical acclaim or audience interest. This shows interactive marketing is more than just a gimmick – it needs high quality, engaging content to keep users invested in making decisions.
Interactive content marketing can include:
- Interactive images and videos.
- Opinion polls.
- Drip email campaigns.
Keep this list in mind – we’ll come back to these specific examples later! The common factor uniting this content is active engagement. Users need to involve themselves with the material in front of them to learn more information, progress through a story or fill a curiosity gap.
Common interactive marketing techniques
The list above accounts for both internal and external marketing strategies. Internal interactive content engages those close to your business, like employees or prospects on a mailing list.
External interactive marketing techniques, meanwhile, are targeted at top-of-funnel customers. CMI’s report shows around two-thirds of marketers who use interactive content do so with engagement and education as the main goals.
Interactive images and videos
Interactive videos and images allow users to interact with different onscreen elements to find the information needed. Interactive video content, as seen with Netflix’s successful shows, can be excellent for driving storytelling with the user experience at its heart.
However, interactive images, like maps or a customer review collage, also have a role to play. Images with interactive elements can have as much power as video, giving an online audience the perfect platform to learn more about what your business does.
Everyone has an opinion, and the internet is fertile ground for people sharing them. However, imagine being able to capture your users’ thoughts about your business in a fun online poll? Tools like Apester allow businesses to create online platforms that keeps customers on-page for longer and allows them to share opinions. This data can then be used in future marketing efforts.
Testing online users’ knowledge of a given subject is another good way of engaging attention. This interactive marketing technique is often used alongside static content such as a blog article. Using a strategy tried and tested since the earliest days of schooling means businesses can assess how much information readers obtained and retained from the written blog content, while also keeping these individuals on the blog platform or organisation’s website for longer.
Drip email campaigns
While drip campaigns are most often used once customers have directly interacted with a business, this email marketing is also used to engage with new online users. Here different users will receive different ‘threads’ of information depending on their interactions with an initial email. The different user paths of a drip campaign are illustrated below, indicating how marketers can use different content messages and styles to try re-engage passive audiences.
Below is an example how different responses to the same email would generate a follow up message with two different pieces of content attached.
How to use static and interactive content in holistic marketing
Static and interactive content can be used in both external and internal marketing techniques, in support of one another, to engage and inform as wide an online customer base as possible.
Creating a united strategy comes from meeting three basic principles:
- The written content is valuable and serves a purpose.
- Interactive content is not reliant on interactivity solely for effect.
- All content reflects the values of your customers and brand.
Let’s take a previous example of using a quiz in support of a blog article to demonstrate how important the above points are.
- Articles need value takeaways. If they don’t offer users anything they don’t already know, they won’t read far enough to take the quiz.
- The quiz should ask questions related to your enterprise and products/services.
- While trying to engage readers, you must ensure all engagement is moderated to ensure abusive or offensive content isn’t promoted.
Nearly 80 per cent of content marketers who are using interactive content plan to increase their
use of it in the next 12 months, according to CMI. Is it time to jump on the band(ersnatch) wagon? You choose!