*And 5 ways to fully immerse your audience.
I’m lucky. I’m part of a generation that experienced the transformation of traditional media—putting it right in the palm of my hand. What does this mean for brands? They’re no longer untouchable.
Gone is the one-way street towards customers. Today, that street has a new lane where customers can engage with brands for one very important reason: they want experiences.
That’s right; a big-budget commercial during the Super Bowl no longer cuts it. Unless you’re Oreo.
Every day, content sails through the vast sea of the Internet where only the most remarkable survives. Expectations are high. To succeed, you have to live up to your customers’ new content needs.
And a big part of that need is interactive content—a unique way to create memorable experiences for specific audiences. Get this: in 2016, interactive content is on pace to increase by 75%.
Types of interactive content
All content marketing trends point to one common concept: interaction. It’s at the core of every single trend. Here’s the main interactive tools you need to know about, and when and why to use them.
Take a look at the top 5 best-ranking podcasts. What’s the common thread? Compelling narratives.
Podcasts are no longer a niche labor of love. They’re gateways to bigger audiences. So what happens when podcast producers ask their their audience to become part of the story? Authentic interaction begins.
One way of creating a channel of genuine audience engagement is to source stories from listeners. A great example is the Freakanomics podcast. They do this by asking their listeners one simple question: “Would you mind sharing with us a story about how we might have changed your life?”
After that simple question, a swarm of emails comes in. Some of the stories get played on the podcast, but only the most interesting idea gets discussed during an entire episode.
Let’s face it. Facebook and YouTube dictate a big part of today’s main marketing trends. Every time there’s a slight algorithm change, we’re all sent on a wild goose chase to see what works best.
Just take a look at Facebook Live. A few twitches in the Facebook newsfeed algorithm, and live video streaming has a favored spot in newsfeeds—achieving the highest ranking spots in the Facebook news feed.
- User-generated content
Right now, user-generated content is the cornerstone of social media. It assures direct interaction from consumer-to-brand or consumer-to-product. User-generated content is also one of the highest-ranking and most constant trends in content marketing. And according to a study by CrowdTap, it’s 20% more influential, 35% more memorable, and 50% more trustworthy.
It’s true that finding authentic content for consumers can be time consuming, but the payback is gratifying. Take Amazon and Yelp for example. Their reviews are all user-generated. Plus, building real relationships with your users is scalable, affordable, and engaging.
One of my favorite use cases is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Maybe the videos got a little annoying after a while, but they managed to help the ALS Association raise over $100M in the USA alone.
This is due to the large interest, the experiences lived through video, and the added value of the challenge itself. In a nutshell, people’s videos became part of a greater movement. It’s a great example of why interactive content has the power to create the experiences we need to meet today’s marketing needs.
Creating stunning experiences
So why aren’t more companies using interactive content as a tactic? Perhaps it’s because most brands still think it’s about choosing one type of marketing over another. When really, it’s about using a combination of traditional and interactive marketing strategies to improve the retention of your users.
And how do you create these combinations?
5 ways to create your interactive content
- Annotate image and videos
Imagine a tool that lets you annotate images and videos, making your content really pop. That’s ThingLink. It’s fully customizable, easy to use, and provides metrics to measurement your performance. You can create infographics, make interactive 360° video tours, maps, even enhance your ecommerce website. It’s an interactive content gold mine!
- Enhance content with triggered ads
Every day there seems to be a new way to advertise. Whether it’s targeted ads or triggered emails. To say the truth, who doesn’t like having their needs anticipated?
That’s exactly what InText by Infolinks does. Triggered by intent, ads are displayed only when a used hovers over a highlighted keyword. Native in the text and highly effective.
- Create surveys, quizzes, and forms
A great way of creating conversational surveys, quizzes and forms is by using Typeform. Using its special powers allows you to personalize the same survey to thousands of people giving everyone a customized experience.
This makes it 10x easier to start a virtual conversation with just about anyone. It’s a versatile tool for doing engaging research, generating leads, and so much more.
- Take your audience on a geospatial adventure
Take your audience on an adventure through a narrative enhanced by wonderful locations with Carto. This open, multi-dimensional platform lets you discover and predict key insights through location mapping—all around the world.
For example, you can visualize how far birds fly in a single night, or the entire tree database of a city.
- Allow people to visualize and interact with your data
Let’s be honest, pulling data can be really tedious. Perhaps you’re more of a visual person rather than a numbers nerd. With Tableau, you can create beautiful dashboards to visualize all of your data in a single place.
Remember: experience matters. Use these tactics and tools to expand on your existing content. And follow trends, not fads. In no time, you’ll start to stand apart from the noise—creating more engaging experiences for your users through content that really comes alive.
About the author:
Joanne Torres is an online & outreach marketer at Typeform. Compared to the industry average, Typeform has 4x higher completion rates due to their human-first design approach—keeping people’s attention from start to submit.