Quizzes from media company BuzzFeed are perhaps the best-known examples of interactive content, which Alex Membrillo, CEO of Cardinal SEO Company, said allows user to select their own path to receive information.
If you’re not creating interactive content already, this is a great way to expand marketing strategy, and in this post, we’ll show you how it’s done best. Here are 10 examples of interactive content marketing done right.
But first, let’s talk about why interactive content marketing is and why it can help your strategy.
What is interactive content marketing?
Interactive content is content a user can engage with and manipulate, like those aforementioned quizzes, as well as data visualizations, calculators or infographics, as Mitchell Kelly, digital marketing director of performance marketing company Pathfinder Alliance, put it.
Another common example is the free quotes consumers can receive on insurance company websites, said Greg Heilers, co-founder of SEO and content marketing firm Jolly SEO.
“Interactive content is one of the best ways to engage your audience and enhance the customer experience,” Membrillo added. “Interactive content allows the reader to actively participate, as opposed to passively reading, watching or listening.”
Why is interactive content marketing effective?
Interactive content is indeed more engaging: BuzzFeed said 96% of users who start its sponsored quizzes finish them, for example.
“Since customers engage more with interactive content, this leads to more views, resulting in more brand awareness, which eventually translates to more customers,” Heilers said.
Samantha Moss, editor and content ambassador of relationship blog Romantific, noted it’s a form of content that helps brands target the right consumers.
“Most of the people who will react to your content are people who are likely interested in your brand,” she said.
Kelly said there’s a lot of buzz about interactive content among publishers because of its potential to drive links, shares, and engagement.
“However, I think interactive content is being slept on big time in terms of its potential to skyrocket conversion rates for both lead generation and ecommerce websites,” he added.
That’s in part because interactive content can be used to collect customer information, said Oli Graham, marketing manager for copywriting company RightlyWritten.
“The bonus with interactive content is that the information gleaned from the customer when interacting with the content … can be used to segment your customers into different personas,” he noted. “This will create better-converting funnels in the long term.”
It’s also a channel that enables users to send direct feedback to brands.
“With this feedback, the marketer immediately knows what’s working and what’s not working,” said Tom De Spiegelaere, founder of digital marketing agency Tom Spicky.
It also provides an experience that cannot be cited without a link.
“Say, for example, you write an article based around what a new interactive map shows people,” Graham said. “You cannot create that story without linking to the map itself. Therefore, interactive content is highly linkable and becomes a linkable asset on your website.”
Our 10 favorite examples of awesome interactive content
Now that we’re clear on what interactive content is and why it’s effective, let’s move on to learning from some awesome examples. There are tons out there, but here are 10 favorites among digital marketers, which educate and entertain.
1. CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer
This tool from marketing software CoSchedule analyzes headlines and determines how useful they are with scores based on features like word balance and character length.
“I don’t know a single content marketer that hasn’t heard about this app or used it,” said Malte Scholz, CEO of project management tool Airfocus. “The app just works and it’s probably one of the top lead generation methods for their website because you can’t get your results if you don’t submit your contact information.”
2. HubSpot’s Website Grader
This free website tool from marketing software HubSpot grades sites based on factors like performance, mobile readiness, SEO, and security.
Heilers called it a “quick, free way to evaluate a website,” adding, “It’s a great way for HubSpot to increase their leads, by offering to provide further advice to website owners with poor ratings.”
3. Allbirds: Why Our Future May Depend on Birds
Nate Nead, CEO of SEO firm SEO.co, pointed to DTC shoe brand Allbirds’ paid post with the New York Times on how birds impact the environment, how consumers can help protect birds, and how Allbirds makes “better shoes in a better way.”
The experience includes sounds of various bird calls, as well as visuals of the birds and their environments in motion.
“One of the biggest boons to interactive content marketing is the stickiness factor,” Nead said. “When content is sticky and dwell time significantly increases, so, too, do rankings, conversions, and sales. It tends to have a triple-net effect.”
4. Function of Beauty’s Hair Quiz
For her part, marketing consultant Olga Tsimaraki pointed to the quiz on the website of DTC haircare brand Function of Beauty, which asks visitors for information about their hair, goals, and fragrance and color preferences to come up with a personalized product recommendations.
Tsimaraki said she likes this example because “they’re providing a simpler customer/user experience.”
“What people are looking for today is simple answers and interactive content allows companies to do just that,” she added.
5. Clinique’s Foundation Finder
Makeup brand Clinique’s Foundation Finder offers similar functionality—by answering questions about skin tone, coverage preference, and skin goals, Clinique suggests foundation types and shades.
“You can see images of real women with different skin tones and you just select the closest option to your skin tone,” said Medha Mehta, content marketing specialist at website security firm Sectigo. “It also has images for all the other options to help you choose your preferable coverage, forms, and types of finishes … after that, they suggested not only the closest shade for my skin tone but also the foundation that matched all other criteria.”
6. Nove Bike’s Aero X
Similarly, Nove Bikes offers a customization tool on its website to allow customers to build their ideal high-performance bicycle.
“For any online business selling customizable products, making it easy for your customers to visualize what the final product will look like as well as engage them in the buying process is critical,” Kelly said. “While the upfront cost to build something like this is expensive, the impact can be measured easily in terms of conversion rate on product pages.”
7. Disney’s My Disney Experience
According to Membrillo, Disney’s My Disney Experience app proves it has “mastered the art of interactive content.”
It allows visitors to check in to the Disney Resort, find character greeting locations, make dining reservations, navigate the park, and, of course, shop.
“Users can select locations on their interactive map to view real-time wait times for attractions and plan their day by building an itinerary,” he said. “Utilizing Disney’s Magic Band technology, guests can also use the My Photo feature on the app to view photos that automatically synced from attractions they were on.”
8. Missy Empire’s You vs. the Kardashians
Going for more of the shock factor, clothing brand Missy Empire created a calculator that allows regular Joes and Janes to type in their salaries to see how many minutes it takes members of the Kardashian family to make what they earn in a year.
“To date, the piece has 127 referring domains,” Graham said.
9. BBC’s Will a Robot Take Your Job?
In 2015, as autonomous machines were first being integrated into the workforce and we were starting to see a shift in labor and related anxiety, the BBC published an interactive post that allowed users to type in their job titles to see what the odds are their job will be automated in the next 20 years.
“This is a more creative example for getting readers engaged,” said Vinay Amin, CEO of supplement brand Eu Natural.
10. CNN’s Marvel Cinematic Universe Timeline
In 2018, CNN followed with an interactive timeline for Marvel’s cinematic universe to prepare viewers for the release of the superhero film Avengers: Infinity War.
“Over the last decade, Marvel has been dropping hints—Easter eggs, along with mid-credit and post-credit scenes—to set up one of the biggest showdowns in Marvel comic book history: ‘Infinity War,’” the site says. “It’s hard to remember every semi-hidden tip over 10 years, but we’ve got you covered.”
Per Heilers, in addition to netting backlinks, it increased the amount of time people spent on the website.
Make interactive content work for your business
These examples illustrate the range of possibilities for interactives content that you can create to start accruing back links, attracting site visitors, and more. Take these examples and start thinking what kind of interactive content would attract your audience—then go and get them!