How Brands Can Stake Their Claim Early in Virtual Worlds
There’s been a heck of a lot of talk recently about how to create interactive content for digital marketing campaigns—and how to actually use that content. Interactive content might include some of the following:
Keep in mind that we’re not talking about traditional (static) white papers or downloadable ebooks in the form of PDFs. Instead, those types of content might be clickable and even customizable in some ways. These sorts of user actions are at the core of interactive content, which is one reason marketers are starting to take notice.
Content Marketing Institute mentions that 75% of content marketers planned to spend more money and manpower on interactive content. And, with huge content publishers like Netflix experimenting more with interactive content, we’re starting to see all the hype about this content become a reality. (You might remember our “Choose Your Own Adventure” Murder Mystery from last Halloween.)
Here are some ideas for using more interactive content in your content marketing strategy.
People love playing games, especially when the information you’re trying to convey is important to your organization’s everyday operations. Think about what would happen if a company wanted to remind 30,000 employees of their brand promise. How could that company do this effectively? Film a video and hope people would watch it? Create a slide deck? Implement an automated email journey detailing vital parts of the brand promise? All of these ideas could work, but what about rallying internal teams around a common goal with an interactive game?
This is exactly what we did for Indiana University Health. To reinforce their promise of assurance and to show how every employee’s function in the patient journey is vital, we helped them design an interactive, online game. The game guided team members through a series of options, and they could choose exactly where they wanted to go and how they wanted to get to the end. Every moment in the game was a key part in ensuring the patient journey was smooth.
While the above example is a more extensive game that takes a lot of time to produce, you might consider how you can incorporate less time-consuming games on your social channels.
One simple feature on Twitter or Instagram that you can use to your advantage is the pinch/zoom feature. Recently, brands have been hiding words and phrases in images that offer directions to users, like this example from Denny’s on Twitter.
Our suggestion is to consider using this idea and the zoom functionality to create your own I Spy game. First, hide something within an image—in the photograph itself or by using a photo editing platform like Photoshop. Next, simply caption the photo with a clear directive or question, such as: “Can you find the hidden star in the photo?”
This type of I Spy approach using the pinch/zoom feature works great for teasing upcoming product releases or events. It also breaks the mold for how brands normally use Instagram and serves as a fun way to give users a rest from scrolling through tons of static content.
Sometimes, we get caught up in thinking that open rates and click-through rates are the gold mine of email marketing. While there are stark differences in available functionality in email clients (across mobile and desktop versions of Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail and more), there’s still room for adding interactive components to your emails.
One reason to add interactive components to your emails is to keep your audience engaged with your email content right when they open it. While you can have the ultimate goal of guiding subscribers to click a button or link, what if you instead encouraged them to interact with your content inside of the inbox?
As one recent example, we created an email with an interactive "Simon Says"-esque game that asked users to crack the code. (Full disclosure: we borrowed this idea from our friends at Table TR TD.)
By clicking on one color at a time, users could figure out through trial and error what the correct color combination was. Once they got it right, the code uncovered a hidden link that actually led to this blog. (If you’re one of those email subscribers, nice work!)
While it may seem time-consuming or expensive, interactive content doesn’t have to break the bank. As long as you consider what types of functionality are possible within certain platforms (such as email or social media), you can set guardrails around your ideas before you shoot for the moon. Start with possible functionality first, and build ideas within those bounds.
We don’t encourage interactive content for the sake of doing something interactive. Your content marketing efforts should still be focused on achieving specific, measurable objectives which can then be bolstered with interactive content. In other words, don’t do it to be cool. Do it because it will convert more effectively.
You—and your audience—won’t be disappointed.