Interactive content offers a powerful tool to gain and maintain attention and engagement.

Viewers interact with interactive content, as the name implies, rather than passively consume it as they would read a blog post or white paper. Common forms of interactive content include quizzes, games and polls. Ebooks, white papers and infographics can also have interactive elements that allow users to choose how they navigate through the content or participate in interactive elements within the content. Case studies – medical or business – requiring participants to make management choices are a highly immersive form of interactive content and are rated highly by users for their educational value.

Online calculators, especially interesting to people interested in money, answer financial questions. In B2B marketing, assessments can help businesses identify a need, compare their company to benchmarks, or perform some other type of self-diagnosis, points out Barry Feldman of Feldman Creative.

Many also classify the immersive experiences of 360-degree video, augmented reality and virtual reality as interactive content.

Benefits of Interactive Content for Brands

Because Interactive content can win attention and supercharge engagement, it offers a solution to PR and marketing personnel fighting for viewership in a competitive digital landscape overcrowded with content. Mobile users used to engaging with mobile apps have become to expect interactivity. Interactive content also has the benefit of providing PR and marketing professionals an abundance of data about customers.

Many PR and marketing experts see interactive content as the future of content marketing. “Interactive content is transforming the way we see and use content for marketing purposes,” says Taral Patel a PR executive at PRmention, a digital PR agency.

While communications professionals overwhelming appreciate the power of interactive content, relatively take advantage of its full potential, according to a survey of more than 1,000 PR, marketing and design professionals by Ceros.

Ninety percent of survey respondents agree that content designed to create an experience performs better, but most now produce more static than interactive content. Half say they produce blog posts, while only 13% create calculators, and 28% publish PDF e-books, while 16% create quizzes.

Obstacles to Producing Interactive Content

Why don’t more PR and marketing teams produce more interactive content? Among survey participants who called interactive content a low or medium priority, 52% cited a lack of budget, 36% blamed a lack of in-house skills, and 23% cited a lack of support from company leadership.

Only 16% described their organizations as being “very close” to what they perceive as ideal content creation. More so than others, they understand the value of good design, invest in creative talent, and accept risks. Seven out of ten agree that playing it safe is the biggest risk marketers face.

“You have to foster a culture where it’s not only okay to make mistakes; it’s celebrated. If your quarter-end results are all great … it may mean you weren’t aggressive enough with your goals or didn’t take risks,” said survey participant Ashley Karr, vice president of B2B marketing at CarGurus.

“The biggest learning from this report is that today’s marketers know and understand the value of immersive content, but struggle to put a strategy in play because they don’t have the proper tools, resources, or internal buy-in,” said Alex Kelly, director of digital marketing at Ceros in a press release. “Eighty-one percent said they wished their company published more interactive and engaging content — that number makes me cringe! It’s up to the leadership teams to empower marketers and designers with the resources and creative freedom they need to burn those barriers.”

Bottom Line: Interactive content can increase engagement, hold customers attention and collect useful data about audiences. Producing interactive content is more involved than traditional static content. The strategy calls for creative design skills and a commitment from company leadership.

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