Selling the Virtues of Interactive Content, a How-to for Agencies



April 30, 2014 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

Let’s face it, some concepts are simply easier to explain than others.

– Content as words? Easy.

– Content as written copy expressed graphically that is made specifically to be manipulated and played with by an end user? Less easy. 

– Content as that graphical, meant-to-be-manipulated piece that is part of an overall larger picture as a landing page recipient of native ad traffic? Uhh….

Don’t worry. You aren’t the only one scratching your head trying to explain that one!

While CopyPress isn’t an agency, many of our biggest clients are. As a relatively new CopyPresser coming off more than a decade of running a search agency, I hope I can still put my agency hat on without looking too ridiculous (it’s the forehead I think…massive and shiny. Maybe the hat was just small).

Oddly fitting hats aside, I recognize that the key to a successful campaign is both managed expectations and a clear understanding of what is being performed (and why). I don’t want you to feel misled clicking a title promising a ‘how to’ and not delivering, so let’s get to the meat of it. Here are basic questions you’ll probably encounter and what I hope are some useful explanations.

Why not just do another blog post, they’re less expensive?

Every medium has its place, and I’ll never knock the written word, but sometimes it isn’t the most efficient way to tell a story. I could explain over several thousand words how AirBNB benefits local economies, peppering the prose with biting statistics…or I could link to an interactive infographic that does a much better job (and I’ll admit, I like the little Easter eggs).

My industry is too boring for an infographic, yet alone an interactive infographic. Will anyone actually care?

I’ve yet to see an industry that was too boring – often it is those ignored industries that have the most compelling story to tell.

  • 20 years of farm labor statistics? We can make something that jumps out.
  • Tax accounting? Top scandals that could have been avoided with the right firm.
  • Plastics manufacturer? How about a video series guiding a viewer on all the ways her life has been influenced by the miracle petrochemical-based organic polymer.

We’ve done ‘viral’ campaigns in the past, but there wasn’t a ROI. What KPIs exist that can be measured to determine success and profit?

The industry has come a long way from warm-and-fuzzy Digg front page attempts to real KPI-driven campaigns. The best part of native advertising — and dealing with a firm that understands native ads — is the ability to target demographic readership the way you wish Adwords would let you do it.

Native ads are meant to be viewed as near content in the context of the publisher’s regular content. The best have a strong CTR as they are topically relevant to the interests of the reader, are stickier than most viral campaign efforts, can convert like PPC traffic, and offer a search benefit.

We are looking for a search benefit without the risk of link building; how is this supposed to help?

Here are five reasons that pairing interactive content with  native ads is superior to paying someone to build links for you:

  1. Interactive content is extremely difficult to duplicate. When a blog or publication wants to highlight the concept, it can’t just copy a paragraph or even embed an image – it needs to link to the resource itself. Links!
  2. Interactive content by its very nature is sticky. When it is designed for the end user in mind it can be used not just as a method of keeping users on site longer, but as a means to move a visitor down the lead funnel. Sales are the goal and time on site equating to a lowered bounce rate is a bonus.
  3. Native ads that are demographically focused can receive as much attention as a display/earned media campaign. Because this traffic is going toward an exceptionally well-done piece of useful content, the incidence of secondary organic links is higher than that of written content. Again…links!
  4. Google will like you. When measuring risk, ask yourself which concepts are more likely to be in favor with a search engine: developing awesome content that draws the links of your targeted demographic, or going out and building links to a landing page on your site? It isn’t even close.
  5. It helps you in search. High volume native campaigns that highlight the brand of the interactive piece created result in an uptick in branded search queries which is a great authority signal.

I understand now how interactive content when paired with a native ad campaign can be useful, but I just don’t know how to go about any of this in terms of ideation or structure. What do I do?

My dear agencies, let’s talk about white labeling this for you and your team.

Have more questions? Tweet me at @CygnusSEO reach out to our awesome team.

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