Interactive Marketing 2019: 4 Ways to Grow Your Audience with Innovation

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, AR, and VR technologies have already changed the way we consume content and interact with it. Still, a big part of the promotional digital content we stumble upon resembles poorly adapted former television commercials.

The good news is that even television today is not what we used to watch over a decade ago. Today, it is no longer a channel for passive communication, but rather a fully interactive, internet-powered medium for personalized ‘brand-customer’ interaction. Likewise, technologies are transforming email marketing, social media, and content marketing in order to remove the advertising blindness and reinvent marketing with new depths of user experience.  

What is interactive marketing?

Interactive marketing is dynamic and highly personalized content based on a multi-layered holistic approach to content creation. The aim of it is to make the content of your message interesting and engaging in order to raise the likelihood of conversion or brand awareness.

How does it work?

Interactive content attracts attention because it requires active user participation. Instead of just reading or watching, your potential customers are brought into an experience by clicking, scrolling, or interacting with your marketing message via VR and AR, gaming tech, and other media.

This way, people form an understanding of the essence of your product or service through personal experience. Education and entertainment are the main components of interactive experiences that can quickly differentiate you from your competitors.

Driving conversions two times higher 

There’s no denying that viewers today are fed up with plain advertising. It takes control of their digital activity and keeps them as passive witnesses to whatever is happening on the screen. Today, people expect a certain level of gamification from ads. Otherwise, the unit is typically shut down shortly after the ad begins or gets skipped quickly to the end.

At the same time, interactive content generates conversions two times higher than passive content and four to five times more page views. A survey of various interactive content types paints the picture: ‘assessments’ appeared to be the most cited interactive content units on the web (54%) along with calculators (52%) and contests (50%). In terms of the buyer’s journey, it was apparent that games and contests are more likely to generate engagement at the early awareness/discovery stage, while interactive educational elements like interactive books or infographics work more effectively at the later stages.

AR and VR content is on the rise as well. A Bain & Company study predicts a significant increase in technology adaptation from 13 to 42% in three years.

Around 80% of marketers have agreed that interactive content delivers much higher conversion, retention rates, and engagement. About half of mid-level (100-999 employees) and small (10-99 employees) organizations deploy interactive content (49% and 48% respectively). This means that 51% of mid0level organizations and 52% of small organizations still don’t use interactive marketing. Among those who don’t use interactive marketing, 55% have reported a lack of bandwidth and budget.

In the near future, the availability of cheap sensors and the presence of a large number of potential mobile applications will make costly interactive advertising solutions more affordable. New advertising formats, social media channels, and email marketing tools, however, already feature everything it takes to make affordable interactive content.

1. New advertising formats

Video advertising formats do not have to be a passive, one-way broadcasting track. They can be truly interactive if you incorporate elements of gamification and user incentives. A great example is a playable video, which belongs to the four most popular interactive ad formats. This format invites users to try interactive gameplay fragments. After playing such featured ad fragments, the unit displays a call to action, typically with an encouragement to download the full version of the game. The video is only 15 seconds long, but it drives a significant number of installations, making it perfect for game promotion.

Another example is beloved by gamers: rewarded video. This format balances the game element and the least intrusive kind of in-app advertising. The choice (to watch or not) always belongs to the viewer. Like playable, rewarded ad is an in-app format. It is the average promo video that users watch in exchange for a reward: a game bonus, additional app option, or access to exclusive content for free. 

2. Social media networks

Mobile gadget owners spend 80% of their time online in applications. The lion’s share of this is spent on games and social networking apps. 

Assessments, calculators, infographics, and quizzes are the types of interactive content that are most actively shared in social networks. Social networks and forums help people interact with each other in real time. This gives them a great advantage in competition for the title of “interactive content king.”

3. Connected television

Just several years ago, it was impossible to address a TV audience with traditional digital advertising tools since they only worked for the web ecosystem. Today, in the era of the Smart TV, this medium is internet-connected, which means it finally supports even algorithmic media buying. Currently, CTV represents a high-potential advertising niche that reaches 87% of users that stream video content through OTT devices. In fact, it is predicted that by the end of 2022, 204.1 million viewers will have content accessed through OTT.

The essence of connected television is that it personalizes advertising delivery utilizing big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. While watching the same TV show, users see different advertising offers that match their needs and interests. It’s also reported that CTV platforms will soon be equipped with interactive ad format support, the ones that transfer the users right from the screen to the advertiser’s website.

4. Content marketing

The popularity of content marketing tools is easily explained. You are probably familiar with many resources that help to create and publish e-cards, quizzes, infographics, and polls. The absolute hit of website design is a micro-interaction. Small interactive bites can make your website original and encourage your users to interact.

  • Illustrations with interactive elements. You can write blog posts and liven them up with illustrations that react to certain actions when users interact with them.
  • Configurators. This functionality allows users to assemble the final product individually, by including and excluding some custom details.
  • Polls and quizzes. Everyone wants to know who they are, know that they can make a change with their opinion, or just determine what type of shoes might suit them best.
  • Infographics. When the user is scrolling through interactive infographics or hovers the mouse pointer over it, the new data and elements of animation pop up.
  • Online games. Many companies have placed branded games on their websites. These are typically used to stir the user’s desire to score a certain percentage of a discount or to secure a prize.

In order to create the above mentioned interactive content, you don’t have to invite a programmer and designer. There are many services such as Playbuzz, Thinglink or Mapme, that help to create impressive content even if you have never laid your fingers on the simplest photo editor before.

Instead of conclusion

Interactive content can perform a lot of useful functions apart from entertaining your target audiences. You can collect additional information about your customers, their interests and preferences without having to address them with direct questionnaires or expensive video commercials. Through interactivity, you create a personal experience for your customers to which they are happy to respond. An interactive approach to marketing is an effective way to make communication with your users even more engaging, strengthen relationships, and achieve better ROI as a result.

Irina Kovalenko is a CMO at SmartyAds, a programmatic ad tech company specializing in developing innovative media buying and selling automatization software.

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