Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Marketing, regardless of era or technology, relies on simple fundamental principles. One of the most important of these principles lies in finding ways to engage your customer through a “hook.” This means gaining his or her attention, and then figuring out how to keep it for as long as possible through entertaining, informing, or otherwise adding value to the experience.

Interactive content in online marketing represents the latest way that businesses and other organisations engage the public, while also informing them about the product or service.

What Interactive Content Is

Most traditional marketing, such as television, radio, and print advertising, expects the audience to serve as passive receivers. In this instance getting and keeping attention became something of a hit and miss proposition.

Interactive content, on the other hand, garners attention through direct engagement of participants. The target audience gets to answer questions, choose from different options to explore, play an entertaining game, or educate themselves in a topic of interestor fun.

Why Content Marketers Should Use It

Competition for the online audience has grown fierce. In terms of B2B marketing, 70 percent of businesses create more content now than they did one year ago. You must realise that your competition for the attention of your target lies not only in other sites, but literally anything else that the person could be doing, from streaming movies to using social media.

Attention spans have shrunkamong many in the internet age, making interactive content more valuable now than ever before. People may see your content, but do they engage it? If not, most may as well have not seen it at all. Interaction creates engagement, which stimulates memory. When this happens, your marketing has won most of the battle.

Content that gets questions answered also can provide valuable data for your company to better hone its marketing and sales efforts.

Different Ways to Use Interaction to Engage

Interactive content allows for a variety of ways to engage customers, keep their attention, and get them to willingly provide key information.

Interactive emails serve as one of the oldest, but still most effective, means of interactive content marketing. Businesses and others, including political candidates or parties, offer value in the form of deals, insider access, or other services in exchange for receiving your email address. Whether or not you decide to open the email usually rests on the perceived value for time spent.

Quizzes represent an easy way for online sites to keep a customer or user interested. In this case, the target is the data that users willingly give up for an entertaining experience, even if they do not necessarily decide to buy a product. Many times, these quizzes appear on Facebook as silly propositions, such as “What James Bond Villain Are You?” You will then answer a few seemingly innocuous questions that are in fact designed to capture your data. At the end of the quiz, you share the result with friends, and the data capture net is cast even wider.

Calculators both educate and add value for the user. Examples include tools that demonstrate cost of living differences between cities, or rates of return on different investments. Providing this value for the user keeps their attention more effectively.

Many marketers have started using brackets based on those traditionally crafted for sports playoff scenarios. The brackets show which products, services, or other items would “win” in competition with each other. Customers get intrigued by this competitive element, and their attention is secured.

These examples are only a few of the many ways that interactive content engages a target audience. As marketers grow more sophisticated in providing stimulating contests, quizzes, articles, and other ways to engage, it is essential that your company find unique and fun ways to get your target audience’s attention.