Ideation for interactive content is arguably the most difficult aspect of the creation process. The reason for this is because a lot of brands don’t even know what types of interactive content their audience would actually enjoy or find useful.
Luckily, many brands have already executed successful interactive content promotions, and therefore have taken a lot of the guesswork out of the equation. Here are some conclusions marketers can draw from other brands’ interactive content promotions:
Self-evaluation tools are, by far, one of the most popular forms of interactive content around. In fact, it’s safe to say that self-evaluators are among the earliest forms of interactive content. They’re popular because they tend to provide answers to questions that consumers frequently ask.
Sites like WebMD have been around for as long as many of us can remember, and one of the main reasons why the site continues to get significant traffic is because of their never-ending list of self-evaluators and quizzes. Although it isn’t necessarily ideal for hypochondriacs (like my daughter), WebMD is a great resource for folks who are curious about treatments or what additional steps to take with their doctor.
Aside from being a valuable resource, self-evaluation tools are often also used as a platform to expound upon how fabulous a brand’s own products and services are. One notable example is Blue Buffalo’s True Blue challenge, which gives pet owners the opportunity to compare the food they currently feed their pets to Blue Buffalo brand dog or cat food.
Once a consumer selects the type of food they feed their pet, Blue Buffalo breaks down the ingredients in competing brands and explains why their brand is more nutritious and beneficial. This isn’t to say that Blue Buffalo’s food is necessarily any better, but the way in which they present the information is, no doubt, convincing to the consumer.
Another thing marketers will likely notice (if they haven’t already) is that consumers love to create, especially if it involves self-expression or providing some sort of input about a product or service they’re using. While we’ve only really started to see incentivized feedback as a type of interactive content en-mass over the past two to three years, interactive content for the sole purpose of brand awareness and entertainment spans back as far as the early to mid-2000’s.
Remember when “The Simpsons” movie released in 2007? Of course, you do! Billboards, television, magazines, radio, social media, and even storefronts were saturated in that familiar Simpsons color palette. But one of the things that really took off was “The Simpsons’ Avatar Creator,” where Simpsons fans from across the globe could create “Simpsonized” versions of themselves.
The ability to heavily customize your avatar made the app a fan-favorite, with many fans uploading their avatars as profile pictures on social media profiles. With “The Simpsons Movie” grossing $527 million at the Box Office, it’s safe to assume that the app contributed heavily to promotion of the film.
Fast-forward eight years, you’ll find that this type of creator-fueled entertainment content continues to thrive—most notably with the “Straight Outta Somewhere” app (to promote the movie “Straight Outta Compton”), which allows audiences to “rep their city” by replacing “Compton” with whatever their actual location is.
Following the glory of the “Simpsons Avatar Creator” from 2007, interactive content has continued to advance. Instead of focusing purely on entertaining brand awareness and promotion, many brands have begun leveraging interactive content as a means of collecting important information from their consumers through fun quizzes, games, and customizers.
One notable example is Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” sweepstakes where potato chip fans from across the globe come up with their own potato chip flavors (this includes packaging presentation) and submit them with the hope of the flavor becoming an actual variety sold in grocery stores. Additionally, consumers have the opportunity to vote for chip flavor they’d like to see become a reality. All of the titles, descriptions, ingredient choices and votes submitted by consumers are easily collected by Lay’s, who then use it for future marketing efforts and product launches.
If you’re like most of the U.S. population, you’re at least a little concerned about your overall health and the quality of foods you’re consuming. You’re probably also mindful about your financial health (e.g., credit score, amount in savings, debt). Having said that, many consumers prefer to plan ahead of time for things that could cause them to go off track—and many brands have figured out a way to leverage this need by providing valuable planning resources.
Many restaurants nowadays (most notably, fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s and Chipotle), have meal planners and calculators that allow patrons to customize their meals based on nutritional content. Meal planners and calculators open up new and interesting options to health-conscious diners which, in turn, keeps their attention from diverting to other restaurants.
In regards to finances, there are a number of tools available, but one of the most common (and useful) types of interactive financial content continue to be mortgage payment and affordability calculators. Chase, Citibank, and Bank of America are only a few examples of institutions that have fully leveraged the power of such calculators. Not only do they allow consumers to calculate estimated payments, but they even provide the option to get a personalized quote based on their initial calculations. Those calls-to-action initiate the discussion and (hopefully) eventually lead to a stronger relationship with that bank.
When it comes to creating value with interactive content, the options are truly endless. Interactive content’s swift evolution is even making consumers realize that they need more than they initially thought they wanted. The most important thing to take away from all this is that simply providing consumers opportunities to engage (e.g., to plan, to create, to give feedback, to evaluate) will cause them to interact with and remember your brand.