The past few years have witnessed a dramatic shift in the way marketers operate to be successful. Businesses are ditching old school marketing and lead-generation strategies for experiential, interactive techniques. Customers have welcomed this change in methods as they are clearly not impressed by the bombardment of directionless, valueless content. They are moving in the direction of engaging, immersive experiences that add value and are customized to their needs.
Thus, the buzzword is interactive.
In the current marketing scenario, the idea is not only to create content that engages but also connects with the consumers on a human level. Tools like quizzes, calculators, interactive infographics, and other similar experiences give personalized results and keep the audiences hooked, thus, helping brands connect with them better.
What makes interactive marketing successful?
Content fatigue is the harsh reality marketers have to deal with on a regular basis. Almost 27 million pieces of content are shared online daily, and the figure is only skyrocketing. Consumers are tired. They’re not always reading the blogs once read religiously, giving more preference to videos and infographics. Thus, marketers run from pillar to post to find alternates like interactive content.
In fact, 91% buyers prefer interactive and visual content that can be accessed on demand. Interactive content can shine through this noise and hold attention. Creating interactive experiences allow the audience to do things on their own, ensuring that the experience stays in their memory for an extended portion of the time. Interactive formats add value for the user and create a two-way dialogue that is a personalized, user-focused experience from start to finish. And in some cases, using interactive content has resulted in a completion rate of around 80%.
The art of interactive experiences
Success has come to brands that have understood the art of creating interactive experiences. According to Content Marketing Institute, 53% of content marketers are already using interactive as part of their marketing arsenal. Some of highest performing interactive content types include quizzes, calculators, surveys, assessments, videos, infographics and web pages. The same group at Content Marketing Institute also released recent study findings that marketers are using different interactive content forms at various stages of the funnel to influence customers.
Let’s take a look at how some brands have been able to captivate customers and hold their attention through innovative ideas in interactive marketing.
1. Quizzing Success
Did you know? In 2013, the New York Times most read story was not a news item, but a quiz!
Quizzes are simple and easy to create. Several platforms even allow you to create quizzes using a drag and drop editor. They attract people because they challenge them to know how they have fared on an intellectual level. Some brands use this aspect of the human psyche to create fun quizzes that help the audience learn more about the brand. The results are not always 100% telling of the respondents, but as long as the results tell users positive things, there seems to be an abundance of takers, especially when they are short and can serve as an ideal break from the workday.
The Elephant Pants
The Elephant Pants had a small beginning and were supported by fundraising via Kickstarter. They created the “Which Pair of Elephant Pants Are You?” quiz to get the audience to the Kickstarter to fund their launch. After answering five questions of the quiz, the quiz taker was suggested a pair of Elephant Pants that best suited them. After pants recommendations had been in order, the respondent was given a link leading to a Kickstarter page where they could help fund the brand. This highly entertaining quiz helped the brand in two ways. It helped raise money for the launch, and more importantly, made people aware of the brand while established a potential customer base. The $8,500 collected at the end of the campaign ensured a successful launch for the brand.
A similar success story ensued when the second largest hotel brand in the world, Hilton Hotels, chose to incorporate quizzes into their marketing efforts. The hotel mega-brand used a personality quiz called “Which type of weekender are you?” to tell the audience where they should travel next. Like any other personality quiz, the questionnaire was simple and entertaining. Based on the personality results of the quiz taker, there were links to various Hilton Hotels around the world. The group was able to sell more rooms through this fun quiz than any of their previous marketing campaigns.
2. Personalized Marketing
Billboards are boring. Pop-up ads are being blocked. Consumers are looking for ads that speak with and connect with them. Blatant selling is a big no-no. Thus, marketers have started working in a more personalized way. Personalized campaigns target an audience based on their specific preferences, often tying in emotion to connect the audience with the brand at an intimate level.
Lean Cuisine: #WeighThis
Countless commercials promise to ‘improve’ the image of women. From cosmetics to health food, many ads base the message around a personal image or perception that women are far from perfect in their present state. There are so many of the same kind of this ad message that it is a challenge to be heard above the noise. Lean Cuisine tried something different to connect with its audience. The brand started a #weighthis campaign that consisted of a curated gallery of scales. In New York’s Grand Central Station, a group of invited women “weighed in.” The catch was that the women were “weighed” the way they wanted to. Out went the conventional ideas of pounds and kilograms and in came novel ideas, ideas around more important things than an image. Some of the best responses were from candid members who shared things like being back in college at 55, caring for 200 homeless children each day, or being the sole provider to four sons.
During this process, the participants didn’t have to interact with a Lean Cuisine product. There were no product samplings to be done or questionnaire to answer. No one was interrupted, asked to sample something, or stopped to respond to questions. The powerful display ensured that no one had to be called upon to do anything. People stopped, observed, and then voluntarily interacted. Though the experience was branded with the company’s Twitter handle on the display and people associated it with Lean Cuisine, it was not “in your face” advertising.
The brand wanted to convey a healthy lifestyle message, while at the same time, acknowledging that the audience had accomplished things that they should be proud of. The interactive experience helped drive happy customers to share their experience on social media using the campaign hashtag. The campaign was a resounding success with over 204 million impressions.
3. Calculative Moves
The concept of calculators isn’t new. However, interactive calculators that add value to consumers and generate leads are like a newfound treasure for marketers. From valuable ROI calculators for businesses, to savings calculators that give clarity to customers regarding their monetary issues, these tools have helped marketers engage with customers at various stages of the sales funnel. Brands have successfully used calculators and seen results, and a majority of marketers believe that calculators prove quite effective in influencing prospects during the consideration stage.
VenturePact software development marketplace partnered with Outgrow to build a calculator to calculate the cost of creating an app. Within two weeks of launching the calculator, the brand witnessed a 15% boost in the traffic and generated more than 11,000 leads. The interactive calculator asked each customer eight questions related to the app that they want to build. The questions had multiple choice answers, could be shared easily and could be solved in less than three minutes. This innovative idea appealed to not only those who wished to hire VenturePact but those who were working with other companies who were interested in price comparison.
4. Graphic Interactivity
With the proper layout, design and promotion, interactive infographics can get marketers a significant bump of leads and web traffic. Brands that used infographics saw a 12% average growth in traffic for their businesses.
One such success story is that of Kissmetrics.
Kissmetrics was once focused solely on written content but is now well-known as a powerhouse in content marketing and a source of some of the best infographic pieces online. However, as Neil Patel puts it, “Data from Unbounce revealed that in just two years, the search volume for infographics increased by over 800%.” This boost in interest led Kissmetrics to try visual tools for their business, and the results were astounding. Through these infographics, Kissmetrics generated 2,512,596 visitors and 41,142 backlinks from 3,741 unique domains.
Human behavior, which is at the core of all the marketing strategies, is best engaged through interactive content. By adding interactive content to your marketing arsenal, you can efficiently connect with customers at a psychological level. Interactive content offers personalized experiences that make your audience feel special, and most importantly, you’ll see an increase in lead generation and conversion rates numbers.
About the Author
Khyati is the content innovator at Outgrow. When she isn’t helping marketers create some awesome interactive content, you’ll find her in the nearest Starbucks with her latte and a Sidney Sheldon.