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Traditional advertising was—and in some ways, still is—one-sided. A company buys ad space, shares the copy and images for the campaign, then waits for people to purchase their product or service. This type of advertising relays a message but doesn’t start a conversation with customers. As we’ve gotten used to more advanced platforms and technologies, this type of advertising may not be as effective as it was in the past. Interactive marketing may be a more popular option in the digital age to help customers feel they’re part of the buying and selling process.

What Is Interactive Marketing?

Interactive marketing is a strategy that relies on customers sharing their preferences with marketers. It helps marketing teams produce more engaging, relevant, and targeted messages for the audience. While the marketing departments get the final decision on what content to share, they use the public opinions as a guide or reference for what’s popular. This differs from advertising in the past, where executives sat in a room and decided what they thought people wanted or needed with much less data from actual customers.

There are different types of interactive content you may encounter across the internet and other mediums. They allow for real-time responses and reactions from potential customers, which is information that can help you when shaping your marketing strategies and metrics.

Benefits of Interactive Marketing

Interactive marketing can provide many benefits for your company, including:

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Reduced Costs

Most interactive marketing takes place online. Internet advertising often costs less than traditional advertising forms like television, print, or radio ads. This is because internet space is less expensive, and you can can typically make internet ads in-house. Online advertising may also produce greater sales and returns than traditional methods in the digital age because of prevalence and convenience for consumers.

Data Collection

Whether we like to admit it or not, everything we do online leaves a digital footprint behind. Marketing companies love this because they can use all that data about demographics and personal preferences to learn more about their audience. This can help them better analyze consumer behavior online.

Brand Evolution

The more input consumers have in marketing, the more chances a brand has to grow and develop with a new or expanded audience. The more people talk about a company online, the more exposure it gets at no cost. People may use reviews, comments, social media posts, and videos to promote a brand through their own channels without compensation.

Who Can Use Interactive Marketing?

Any company can use interactive marketing. It’s primarily online and scalable to what your business can handle. You can produce it in-house or by using freelancers. Both small local businesses and large brand-name companies can benefit from this style of marketing. While interactive marketing may get more recognition from bigger companies with more staff or more money, it’s not exclusive to them. If you have a website, blog, or social media presence, you already have the most basic tools necessary to create interactive marketing campaigns.

Types of Interactive Marketing

There are many types of interactive marketing you can use to reach potential customers, including:

Interactive Webpages

Interactive webpages allow customers to engage with a brand for an infinite amount of time on their own schedules. They’re designed for browsing, research, education, and participation, depending on the features of the site. Interactive websites usually allow for more engagement than just clicks and scrolls. They may include features like:

  • Photo galleries
  • Comment sections
  • Feedback forms
  • Widgets
  • Search functions
  • Chatbot apps

Most interactive webpages may be collaborative, or at least communicative. They may take advantage of interactive media created specifically for their sites. If that sounds like an interactive marketing option for your business, contact CopyPress to see how we can make custom interactive designs for your site.

Interactive Kiosks

Interactive kiosks are touchscreen tablet-style stands you may see in places like grocery stores, restaurants, or other retail establishments. Most kiosks are interactive and invite customers to click on them, input data, or complete other actions. You may use them to collect feedback from shoppers, display videos, take branded photos, or create a game for your marketing campaign. Some may include sensors that can detect when someone’s nearby and start broadcasting content to catch their interest.

Interactive Ads

Interactive ads go beyond a static display message and encourage people to engage. The advertisement then becomes an activity rather than just something to look at. They can be as simple as inviting people to click to see a new screen or message. Other options may include finger swipes or typing responses. Interactive ads aren’t passive and require users to become involved to get the full message.

Polls

Polls are interactive because they encourage the public to vote and make their voices heard. They’re common on websites and social media platforms. Marketers pose engaging questions in the poll, and respondents choose their favorite answer from a pre-determined list. Sometimes marketers include an “other” option to let people add their own responses, allowing the team to gather more diverse data.

Surveys

Surveys and quizzes ask for customer feedback. You can create your surveys on paper or provide them electronically through websites, emails, and social media. The goal is to learn more about customer needs, wants, and opinions. Marketers can create surveys for any purpose, such as asking for reviews, determining product usability, or confirming customer interest in a product or service.

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a very common type of interactive advertisement. When a customer types in a search query, they can receive ads based on the words they used. SEM involves many of the same practices you use for conducting search engine optimization (SEO) and creating pay-per-click (PPC) ads. This helps your information show up in the most relevant search results.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is interactive because it’s a direct-to-consumer method of communication. It creates opportunities for dialogue and leaves a data footprint to analyze as well. You can segment your lists to get information to the right people based on what you know about them, and you can also customize your mailers in response to the data you collect and analyze. This method allows people to respond to you and give feedback. It also expands the data portfolio because you can track the metrics of these communications.

Blogging

Blogging serves as a form of interactive media because it’s designed for sharing and often comes with features that allow customers and consumers to voice their thoughts. Most blogs are linkable and make it easy to share posts on social media. This shareability can expand readership and increase those data profiles, and this increased information allows you to figure out how to turn leads into potential customers. Most blogs also have a comment section or include forms and polls that encourage readers to participate in the discussion.

Widgets

Widgets are a fun way to make your websites and blogs more interactive for visitors. They allow you to connect your own profiles and content from other sources on the web to your primary site. For example, WordPress offers a variety of widgets for sharing information like your Goodreads lists, social media feeds, and Spotify playlists. You can customize the widgets to get visitors to follow links and jump around the web to see your content.

Social Media

Social media is one of the driving forces behind interactive marketing. These sites and apps make sharing, conversing, and providing opinions as simple as typing a sentence or speaking into your microphone. These profiles include ways to share information with customers and get automatic feedback, which then helps drive campaigns.

Targeted Ads

Targeted ads, while not as interactive as some methods, still use data from other sources to provide the most relevant content. All the demographic data you collect from elsewhere on the internet can help you plan and segment groups for targeted advertising. This may be a popular option in connection with SEM and PPC ads.

Offline Efforts

Surprisingly, you can still use interactive marketing offline. Some options for offline interactive advertising include:

  • Providing paper customer surveys and feedback forms on site
  • Running product tests
  • Running focus groups
  • Using QR codes on print advertising materials
  • Displaying your social media handles in offline environments

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Tips for Using Interactive Marketing

Use these tips to help you strengthen your interactive marketing tactics:

  • Use multimedia: Your interactive marketing may be more engaging if it uses dynamic formats. Try all different media to get your point across, such as pictures, music, video, animations, video games, quizzes, polls, and surveys.
  • Focus on personalization: The biggest push of interactive marketing is to get input from the audience, so use personalization to help solicit feedback. Make sure that in everything you do, you listen to the data in order to make the customer experience as personal as possible.
  • Provide opt-ins: Give customers the option to consent to receiving information from you. This is another way to collect data, but because customers have approved it, they may feel less targeted or tracked when receiving messages.
  • Tell a story: Turn your campaigns into interesting sagas. Use your chosen forms of media to let people choose their own adventures that make them want to learn more about your company and keep interacting with your content.
  • Make usability a priority: You can have the best campaign in the world, but if your elements crash or they’re not readable, people won’t pay attention. Make sure all your interactive aspects work so that you provide a consistent and reliable experience for your audience.

The Future of Interactive Marketing

It’s interesting to speculate on what the future of interactive marketing may look like, especially when we haven’t even invented some of the new technologies that may become most important to the strategy. For example, Harvard Business Review published an article called “The Future of Interactive Marketing” in 1996. It discusses the benefits of the World Wide Web and how television ads can be interactive if they encourage people to call a toll-free number. It’s safe to say that we’ve made just a few more advancements in interactive marketing in the last 25 years.

Michael Brenner of Marketing Insider Group published a more recent article in 2018 called “The Future of Digital Marketing: Predictions for 2021 and Beyond.” He expected the following to be prominent in digital and interactive marketing by the year 2021:

  • Widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Widespread use of voice-powered systems
  • Social media usage at an all-time high
  • Video serving as the most popular advertising medium
  • Introduction of augmented reality to advertising

Overall, Brenner’s predictions have been correct. In the future, it may not be a surprise to see more advances in AI and augmented reality for marketing, especially because those tools are closer to their infancy in 2021, just like the World Wide Web was in 1996. Though we can’t accurately predict the exact future of interactive marketing, some of Brenner’s observations may continue to grow until they overtake some common methods of advertising we use today.

Interactive Marketing Examples

Real companies and prominent brand names already use interactive marketing in their campaigns. Some examples include:

GatewayGo

Image via Hulu

GatewayGo is a type of action-oriented advertising associated with the streaming platform Hulu. It takes the traditional TV ads you see while watching shows and turns them into an interactive experience. The program uses QR codes and the choice to opt-in to receive information from clients using the phone number and email address attached to their Hulu account.

Quicken Budget Calculator

Image via Quicken

Quicken is a finance software suite that provides budgeting, accounting, and personal finance services to customers. The company offers interactive web tools like a free budget calculator. It allows users to input data like their monthly income and savings figures as well as housing, transportation, educational, and personal expenses. The tool then determines whether person’s income covers all their necessary costs. Quicken writers also provide information on how to create an effective budget and insert calls to action throughout to get users to purchase their products.

Heineken Go Places

Interactive marketing doesn’t have to be just for selling products. Heineken used the Go Places campaign in 2016 to serve as a recruitment tool to find new employees. The company created a choose-your-own-adventure format to inform potential hires about the company culture and benefits. Though the promotion is no longer live, you can watch a video of how it worked on YouTube.

Only Murderers in the Building” Instagram Account

The Hulu TV series “Only Murderers in the Building” has its own Instagram account, which takes the interactive experience to an immersive level. The bio for the account appears in the first person, as do many of the captions on the posts. This makes followers feel like perhaps the figurative murderer in the building is the one running the account. Creators also use hashtags to get the audience involved in the mystery. Some posts create character profiles to bring people further into the story.

Marketers now incorporate more interactive elements into their campaigns in order to attract and maintain their audience’s attention. Not only does this make a brand seem fun and relevant, but it can also help marketers collect user data and listen to the public. It’s possible that interactive marketing may become even more prominent and sophisticated in the future as new technologies develop.

How Video Marketing Changed Online Content

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