Interactive Content, the ultimate guide

Visuals and interactive content are the new strategies dominating engagement results, through captivating imagery and attention-grabbing design.  Because of the way that our brain is wired, we’re bound to pay more attention to visuals and dynamic content. A recent MIT study shows that it takes our brain only 13 milliseconds to process an image, as opposed to processing text, which can take twice as much time.

Let’s look at some of the most successful visual and interactive content strategies that have resulted in better engagement rates:

1. Adding images to your static content

Blog posts, for example, can fail to attract a reader’s attention long enough for them to land on your page and digest the full message of the text. Images are what bring visitors to your blog posts, oftentimes. In fact, articles with images can receive up to 94 % more views. (Source: Jeff Bullas) Not to mention the SEO value of having relevant imagery with proper ALT data.

This network marketing post ranks the top MLM companies, and starts with a sly 11-minute video trailer. It scoops up leads all day.

OpenView Marketing Lab research shows that company Facebook pages who post status updates with visuals in the form of videos and photo albums create up to 180 percent stronger engagement.

The truth is images are essential to the buying process, as research from Canva shows, where 93% of buyers say images are the no.1 deciding factor when buying products.

Actionable tip: When creating images, make sure that they are consistent with your brand and that they are effective for your industry. Test several designs and use different creative approaches, to see which images convert best. Use this step-by-step process for creating recognizable visual content as a template to use across platforms.

2. Using interactive videos that drive user actions

Videos are great to generate conversations. They make your audience feel like a part of your story, appealing to their broader interests.

2015 is the year of video. HubSpot research shows 78% of people watch videos online every week, while 55% watch videos every day. eMarketer estimates that this year, US digital video ad spending will reach $7.77 billion, up 33.8% year over year. To maximize the impact of these videos, marketers have started using animated videos that link to a certain product or next step, at a particular point during the video, called a hotspot.

Animated videos are also great conversion-drivers for your landing pages. According to Unbounce, using video on landing pages can increase conversions by over 80%. Other marketing experiments put this number at 130%. What’s clear is that engagement and conversion is strongly impacted by this type of content, with which viewers connect the most.

Actionable tip: Keep your videos fairly short, to make sure that you keep viewer’s attention. Depending on the channel where you’ll be using it that can mean 2-4 minutes or micro-videos of 6-10 seconds. Take a look at these best practices on the optimal length for video content.

3. Making data attractive with interactives

Similar to an infographic but more effective, an interactive is a visualization of data or concepts that viewers can play with. This type of content invites visitors to explore, click and enjoy the information, leading to more time spent on site, better conversion rates, lower bounce rates and higher rates of social sharing.

A great example is The New York Times’ multi-chapter series entitled “Snow Fall,” that integrated videos, images and graphics in a way that maximized the content’s flow. This strategy resulted in 2.9 million visits for more than 3.5 million page views, leading to a massive increase in user time on site.

Interactive infographics are a great type of content to drive engagement and conversion, making it easy and fun for visitors to absorb information and click on the interactive elements leading to the next step of the funnel. Research from PR Newswire shows a 29% increase in online views when interactive media, charts, and graphics are included in press releases featuring photos and video.

Actionable tip: One of the most important things with interactives and infographics is that you make sure your data is well-researched and documented. This type of content is first and foremost designed to educate and inform. Design your interactive to engage users in key points of the narrative, that link to what you want them to do next. Craft a journey for them to take, along your conversion funnel.

4. Creating visual and interactive How-to content

Buying habits have changed significantly in the digital age. Before they make a purchasing decision most users will research their options online and look for as much information as possible before settling on a final product.

In fact, 91% of prospective buyers turn to their devices for ideas while completing a task. The same research shows that  67% of Millennials believe they can find instructions for any task by searching on YouTube. Google refers to this trend as “micro-moments” where visual how-to content comes as the perfect solution.

How-to content has become a popular marketing tactic, offering audiences help with the real problems they’re struggling with, according to Host Authority, which ranks the best web hosting companies. They used real-world hosting content to teach people how to host their own websites. Visual and interactive how-to content is much more easy to digest and can lead to much better user engagement, as opposed to static educational content that can be hard to digest sometimes.

Here’s a great example from Home Depot – notice the number of views on this video and the clickable call-to-action in the bottom-left corner.

Actionable tip: Include product screenshots and combine them with live-action video, to make help users make their informed decision. Use voiceovers that guide viewers through the narrative, making it easy-to-digest and effective. Also, it’s always helpful to have a script before you start filming. Make sure to include hyperlinked calls-to-action that can give you an engagement and ROI overview.

Takeaway

There are a number of visual and interactive content strategies that can help you engage audiences better and drive conversions. It’s always great to see good case practices, but what’s most important is that you test your own creative ideas and strategies, because only you know your audience best.

Give us a shout with some of the visual strategies you’ve used in your marketing campaigns and how they performed.

 

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