What Is Interactive Content? 6 Types of Interactive Content

laptop not completely open with multicolors on the screen and keys: interactive content

“Which Golden Girl Describes Your Outlook on Life?”

“Which Megan Thee Stallion Song Fits Your Personality Best?” 

If you’ve ever taken a Buzzfeed personality quiz, you’ve engaged with interactive content. As internet users become increasingly saturated with media across platforms, businesses must find more creative ways to ensure their content reaches existing and potential customers.

Digital content that elicits user participation is a great way to stand out online. It can result in higher engagement levels, yield valuable customer data, and even lower the cost of your overall content marketing strategy.

What is interactive content?

Interactive content is digital content that requires or encourages a level of user engagement or participation, such as quizzes, polls, games, animated infographics, calculators, and interactive maps or videos.

Interactive content aims to create a more engaging and immersive user experience and encourage customers to spend more time on your website and engage with your brand. It can help optimize conversion rates and improve data collection.

How does interactive content work?

Interactive content allows users to interact with the content—click on page elements, answer questions, or play with image sliders—to receive feedback or results.

Interactive content typically uses popular web-based tools—like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript—to enable user interactions and produce dynamic responses based on their input.

Benefits of interactive content for businesses

Interactive content is more popular than traditional passive content. It’s been shown to increase the retention of messages by 79%. So, it’s a good medium to use for impactful messages like Allbirds’ paid post with the New York Times. The paid post is an informative public service announcement on birds’ impact on the environment, how consumers can help protect birds, and how Allbirds makes “better shoes in a better way” and it included flying birds, birdsong, and ambient nature noises.

  1. More engagement. Interactive content generates twice as many conversions as traditional content. It means more clicks, traffic to your website, leads, sales, and customer data to inform your operations.
  2. Repurposing content. Unlike newsletters or blog posts, you can recycle some interactive content for other uses. For example, quizzes and calculators can be reused by modifying the questions or numerical inputs. Interactive infographics can be repurposed with fresh data, saving you the cost of repeatedly creating new content.
  3. Eyes on your brand. The participatory element of interactive content means that users inherently spend more time on average with it than with legacy content. Building useful and engaging interactive content (for example, a tool that helps customers calculate their savings on a certain product) helps drive shares across social media platforms.

Interactive content represents a brave new world in marketing. Companies—large and small— are finding new and unique ways to engage their customers through digital participation. Here are six types of interactive content to consider for your business: 

1. Interactive emails

Grab your customers’ attention and encourage them to read through your emails by adding enticing interactive elements. Embedded image carousels (allowing users to view a series of images or other media items in a slideshow format) or 360-degree product viewers, for example, can help readers engage with emails that may otherwise go straight to the trash. 

2. Quizzes and surveys

It isn’t only Buzzfeed that can benefit from quizzes; they also can be used to collect data or to educate customers. For undecided shoppers—or simply curious visitors—quizzes can serve as interactive tools to point them toward making a purchase. For instance, a “What’s your jean personality?” quiz could end with a link directly to your site’s different jean styles. They can also function as surveys and help collect data about your potential consumers’ frequent questions or a need in the market you may want to address.

3. Interactive feedback

Using an interactive prompted feedback form—a type of survey encouraging users to provide feedback through a series of interactive questions or prompts—and incorporating visual elements and clickthrough slides, for example, can help improve your survey response rate. This can lead to higher rates of customer success, which in turn encourages customer retention and brand loyalty.

4. Chatbots

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) like ChatGPT (a large language model that can engage in conversations and provide responses to a wide range of topics), embedded chatbots are smarter and more capable than ever. Chatbots on your ecommerce site can now mimic a brick-and-mortar-sales-representative experience, prompting customers and assisting them through the purchasing process.

5. Interactive infographics

A great way to visualize data, infographics present complex information in an easy-to-understand format. Interactive versions can include embedded videos or links, allowing customers to click or scroll through for a user-friendly experience.

6. Calculators

Customers may appreciate how much savings they can unlock by purchasing a product. An interactive calculator can give them that satisfaction. Potential customers can get a glimpse into what it might feel like to save money with an embedded calculator. 

Best practices for designing effective interactive content

Although interactive content is a powerful tool for ecommerce businesses, it can be easy to go overboard. Here are a few best practices for designing and implementing dynamic content:

  • Work around content fatigue. Internet users are increasingly bombarded with ads and content across multiple platforms and are beginning to tune out and engage less. Design your interactive content to a high standard of quality and avoid overloading users. One interactive element per email instead of four, for instance, or a single video element per product page on your website, can help keep fatigue to a minimum and help users better focus and engage with your content.
  • Collect feedback. Using surveys and other customer feedback mechanisms can help you better understand the type of interactive content your target audience is most likely to engage with. Don’t be afraid to pivot if the data shows your customers are avoiding the kind of content you’ve been using.
  • Keep it simple. It may be tempting to use all the shiny bells and whistles, but users and customers appreciate content that's clean, purposeful, and to the point. A less-is-more approach also helps keep content creation costs down.

Examples of interactive content

If you’re unsure where to look for solid examples of interactive content, Shopify ecommerce stores are an excellent place to start. Here are three brands using effective interactive content.

  • Cowboy. Cowboy uses interactive images to pique customer interest and direct attention to the various features of its bicycles.
  • United by Blue. United by Blue employs an embedded interactive calculator on its site to show customers how many pounds of trash they’re cleaning up by purchasing its clothing.
  • Loot Crate. Loot Crate, a monthly subscription service, uses a clickthrough slideshow to entice customers into its various offerings.

Interactive content FAQ

Is interactive content marketing more effective than traditional marketing methods?

By some metrics, yes. Studies have shown that interactive content receives twice the active engagement of traditionally marketed content. However, this doesn’t mean you should replace all of your legacy marketing efforts. Traditional marketing is easy to outsource and can fill niches (like social media advertising) that interactive content can’t. With automated and hyper-targeted campaigns and tools like social media and influencers, traditional advertising can still provide a valuable service to your business.

Is interactive content more likely to be shared on social media?

Yes. Interactive content is more likely to be shared on social media than traditional content.

Can interactive content be used for lead generation?

Yes. One of the greatest strengths of interactive content is its ability to engage and help retain new and existing customers through positive engagement and association with your brand. According to Mediafly, buyers spend an average of 8.5 minutes viewing static content and 13 minutes on interactive content.

Are there any tools or resources available for creating interactive content?

Yes. There are dozens of free content marketing creation tools for ecommerce business owners. Qzzr and Riddle are helpful for creating interactive quizzes, Typeform can help you make.