Think of interactivity like an extension of yourself. By creating interaction online, you are able to have short, scripted conversations with every prospect way more times than you could possibly talk with all those people in person. To squash a qualm real quick, the word “scripted” makes it sound like you are some sort of bot that spits out information to people without any sort of human element, which could potentially be worse than not saying anything. However, the football coach Bill Walsh used scripting to win five Super Bowls by using smart scripting, meaning that he had responses ready based on the situation his team was in.
With interactive content you can do smart scripting by having messages and content ready for your users based on the responses and scenarios they set up for you.
This is a lot of words and not a lot of pictures, which is the wrong ratio, so let’s work through an example of interactive content that is able to provide personalized messaging for prospective customers based on how they respond.
Our example comes from Afar Magazine, an excellent travel publication that did a big push for where to travel in 2015 using a quiz.
Afar built guides for each of 7 recommended places to go in 2015, but the issue was that seven places all at once is sensory overload for most people, so interactivity was needed.
The quiz is aptly titled “Where Should YOU Go In 2015?” and is meant to draw in people interested in travel but not sure where to start. All you have to do in the quiz is decide what kind of food you want to eat and answer a few other questions that don’t really feel like questions. Meanwhile, in the background, the quiz is calculating where you should go in 2015 based on how you answer the questions.
Just before the big reveal, Afar takes an opportunity to stay in touch with people who enjoy travel. See, Afar knows that anyone taking this quiz is interested in travel, so they offer to send tips on traveling if people choose to opt-in. This is a targeted call to action, and targeted CTA’s perform 43% better than non-targeted on average, and in our own tests, 50% of quiz takers choose to opt-in.
Okay, now we got through all that, on to the good stuff. So we were talking about scripting, and this is where that comes into play. My result is “Eat Your Way Across Osaka” and I get a nice description with that result which is based on how I answered the questions in the quiz. I also get a link to check out a guide on Osaka that goes to other content on the Afar site. All of this is based simply on how I corresponded with the quiz, but it feels personal. When there’s enough interaction in the content it’s completely possible to provide scripting that doesn’t feel fake and effectively gets new readers and users in the door, beginning a relationship that can last for years.
If travel isn’t your cup of tea, take a look at our next example from Oxfam International, a non-profit that is working to reduce poverty and war around the world. (P.S. we offer 25% off to non-profits, email firstname.lastname@example.org for the deal).
Oxfam did an end of the year quiz much like a lot of content sites do, but it’s their strategy for creating the quiz that’s unique and noteworthy. If you’ve heard of the skyscraper technique, what Oxfam did is a variation of that with some interactivity added in (fancy, huh?) I’ll summarize here quickly. Basically the skyscraper technique is when you find content from around the web that has performed very well, using a tool like Buzzsumo, and then you make a better version of that content. What Oxfam did was search through their own top stories of the year and create a quiz out of them to see how well people remember the year’s events.
Each question represents one of the year’s top stories from the Oxfam site. The one below, for example, is derived from a blog post about Oxfam’s Executive Director being appointed to a new position. The beauty of using stories that were already popular is that you don’t have to worry about whether or not people will care about your content, you know they care, you are just putting the content in a new format.
An added benefit to this is putting everything in a visual format. Quizzes are a very similar type of content to quizzes, but in a sequential and visual format. Given the continual success of list posts, it’s no surprise that quizzes have taken off.
Immediately after you answer the quiz tells you if you got the right answer or not. This builds in instant gratification, which makes the quiz like a series of trivia questions with a secret prize at the end.
The quiz is only 8 questions, which might seem short for an assessment, but it takes about two minutes to complete, which is a sweet spot for retaining people’s attention online. The quiz has done well, ending with 455 total social shares and more than 2500 views across all platforms. The best part in all of that is the distinct lack of work needed to create a quiz like this. Really all that’s needed is to compile a list of the top articles on your site for a period of time and write a quiz question about each one.
One added benefit for this quiz is the natural lead-in to collecting information from their visitors. By including a link to sign up for the Oxfam newsletter, people who didn’t score very well (or who did), can stay up to date so the next quiz that rolls around will be an easier challenge.
Interactivity simply means building content that anticipates the future and builds for it. The biggest benefit of interactivity is the ability to personalize parts of your website for visitors so they feel at home. Afar did this by using a quiz to lead visitors to a specific travel guide that matches their interests, and the same method can be used for a variety of applications where you have several assets.