Why interactive storytelling is the future of content

John Crossley

15 Jun 2022

The medium in which we deliver stories matters, more so now than ever before.

Marketers are fighting for attention in an ever-expanding multiverse of content, while audience’s attention spans are draining through the floor.

To standout, brands need to go beyond creating content which is memorable.

A deeper level of engagement is required, and one which challenges traditionally held storytelling norms.

Step in interactive content, a format which has been bubbling away for years, but is now having its moment in the sun.

What is interactive content?

We define interactive content as content which requires active engagement from its consumers. More than being a passive viewer or reader, the individual becomes an integral part of a dynamic, two-way experience.

It’s this interaction which makes this form of content more engaging, memorable, and useful for audiences, as well as creating the potential for building a much deeper connection between customer and brand.

You are probably already familiar with many of the formats: quizzes, calculators, and assessment tools, have been a mainstay in content marketing in recent years, and we’re starting to see more examples emerging of interactive e-books and infographics.

When compared with ‘traditional’ static content, 81% of marketers agree interactive content grabs attention more effectively, and a further 66% agree audience engagement has gone up since implementing interactive content.

While there have been several early innovators, it’s clear why that adoption curve is steepening. On top of finding ways to stand out in the raging battle for attention, the barriers to access for interactive content are lowering.

Previously you would need to hire a third-party developer to create an interactive experience online, but today no-to-low-code platforms that away for creating certain formats. A technical gap has been bridged for marketing professionals not versed in code themselves.

And while budgetary pressure on CMOs has eased slightly this year, the technology which supports this form of content can actually allow a better focussing of resources, with a stronger emphasis on ROI.

Exploring the benefits of interactive content

‘Active’ engagement with your audience comes from capturing user attention and getting them to act in some form.

One example could be creating an interactive quiz, where the user answers questions about themselves to reveal a hidden personality trait, character, or persona.

Based on the inputs, the experience then surfaces content and insights most relevant to that user – such as a detailed persona report, which shares challenges and practical tips to help the customer.

It is this element of personalisation which can support stronger levels of conversion in the marketing funnel. There’s also the opportunity for marketers to capture much deeper insights about their audience at the source.

Furthermore, the performance of content can be measured in much greater detail, such as where viewers are spending their scroll time, or how individual page elements have performed. It’s this approach which allows for iterative improvements to optimise performance.

Demonstrating the ROI of content therefore becomes much easier when compared with traditional ‘static’ content. Interactive content blows the humble PDF out of the water in terms of effectiveness and measurability.

Does this mean we will see a sudden switch? Probably not today. The estimated trillions of PDFs globally (growing by the billions, daily) means its portability and familiarity from B2B audiences will secure its role for years to come.

However, the opportunity which interactive creates for those who want to stand out cannot be ignored.

If you’re looking to explore what interactive content can do for you, get in touch for a more detailed chat about what is possible.