If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve queried keywords along the lines of “how to use interactive media” into a search engine. The world is changing at a faster pace than ever. People crave a more personalized experience, be it related to goods, services, products, ideas, and even other people. Using a search engine such as Google is the prime example of interactivity. It’s a personalized search for a customized result. Even if the interactive media industry has taken the world by storm, there are still many professionals, especially in the niche of business and marketing, that still don’t take it into account.
Incorporating interactive media tools in your business is paramount for any marketing or business professional. If you wish to have an edge over your competitors, you have to be up to date. The time for traditional and overused marketing tactics has passed. Now is the time to embrace interactive media tools for a better audience experience and to improve productivity.
What is Interactive Media?
When we’re talking about interactive media, we’re talking about products and services in computer systems that respond to a user’s action with a reaction such as an animation, a video, or audio content. It is the art of creating interactive digital products that a user can engage with. Marketers use interactive media to promote physical products through social media marketing and explore the interactions that their target consumers have with them. Many companies also apply interactive media content through different channels such as games or simulations for training, or informational presentations.
In marketing, digital products are phasing out the traditional systems such as newspaper ads because they make it possible to offer the customer a unique experience and guarantee effective communication between buyers and sellers. That’s why marketing agencies call for more responsive and user-oriented systems that promote customer loyalty and keep them engaged.
The main focus of interactive marketing is on the ability of the product designers and the marketing professionals to identify what their customers want through electronically configured tools that make it possible to respond with personalized products and services. It’s important to know how to use these new tools as a computer only does what it has been instructed to do. If the instructions are faulty, the results will be too.
The audience is not a passive member in the marketing process anymore. It takes two to tango and it takes two to have an effective online marketing strategy as well.
Combining Traditional Media and Interactive Digital Media
The best way to put your business in the spotlight is to use interactive media. This way, it’s possible to showcase your services to potential customers and entice them to buy your product. On the other hand, it is also true that many marketing professionals are torn between the use of traditional and interactive digital media, because marketing has become something that oversteps the limits of one platform.
To begin, any marketing professional should understand their target audience, choose a type of product and service that they wish to promote, and their budget. It rarely happens that a potential audience’s demographic consumes content through just one platform, so it’s important to carefully choose which one to use.
More often than not, traditional media such as radios, billboards, print ads, and television can only offer very limited interactivity. If we take the last as an example, we notice that the only interaction possible is that mediated by watching commercials on television. That’s not the only problem with traditional media; since people are starting to consume content through streaming services, commercials are slowly disappearing from their lives. Additionally, it’s impossible to collect audience feedback through traditional forms of media. It’s also important to keep in mind that traditional media is often more expensive to produce, and produces fewer results, than digital media.
That is not to say that marketing professionals should abandon traditional media, but that it’s important to start implementing interactive marketing in one’s business. For example, several reports confirm that 96% of users who take a BuzzFeed sponsor quiz finish it. With BuzzFeed receiving an average of sixteen million monthly unique visitors, it is not hard to see that digital interactive media can be profitable when implemented in the right way. Interactive digital contents perform way better than their traditional counterpart, especially in today’s world where technology is paramount.
Understanding Interactive Media Purposes
Interactive and online media can help in different ways. They can improve the number of people who view a page, they can generate leads, or they can deliver a specific and tailored brand message. Let’s analyze some of them.
1. Interactive Media for Generating Engagement
When used correctly, interactive media can improve the number of people who use the website. When surfing the web, people usually look for the website that offers them the most value and using interactive media is exactly what can improve the value of your website.
Before implementing such media, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you, as a marketing professional, want to improve and why.
- Does the product require better interactivity?
- What is the weak point of your product?
- How is it possible to reinforce that Achilles’ heel and make it into a strong point?
Answering these questions is the first step in determining which interactive media needs to be used. Choosing the right tool for the job is paramount when trying to deepen the customers’ loyalty and increase the website’s conversion potential.
2. Interactive Media for Lead Generation
Interactive media tools like ads, videos and games are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to generate leads and convert them to sales, but even if they can generate leads, there’s nothing to gain if the conversion value simply is not there. At the same time, even a simple website works wonders when the content is deemed valuable by potential clients. Let’s take a look at the interface of Hubspot’s Website Grader, for example:
Every website owner would like to know their website’s health and get professional recommendations as to how to improve it. Website health is crucial for streamlining the consumers experience. When a website has broken links, broken pages, or takes a long time to load means the website is in poor health.
3. Interactive Media for Lead Conversion
Interactivity must permeate every aspect of a marketing strategy. It shouldn’t stop at the lead generation stage. We can see an example of that in CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. Using interactive media, the tool scores and suggests ways to improve the headline and only then proposes the purchase of the Pro version. This way, users see the benefits of using the tool before they are asked to pay for it.
4. Interactive Media for Increasing Brand Loyalty
What separates a company who uses interactive media from their competitors is the strategic use of interactive media. Even if the value that they offer is roughly the same, these kinds of media can give them an edge over their peers.
Any brand can gain its share of loyal customers through personalized and user-oriented media content. If the audience feels like they are getting what they ask for without compromising, they will feel more satisfied. One way of achieving that is the use of freebies and freemium, a way to get a customer to sign up for a free service that charges for add-ons or extra support. These value propositions, which are risk-free for the client, can invite them to test out the service. If what they see is something that they like, it will lead to a long lasting relationship.
5. Interactive Media for Data Informed Brand Decisions
Another way to employ interactive media in an effective marketing plan is to generate first party audience data. First party data is information companies compile from analyzing their own sources. For example, market research or collecting information from ad campaigns and their results on that company’s audience. If a client feels like they have some kind of decisional power, it is more likely that they will keep using that service.
6. Interactive Media for Social and Cognitive Interaction
One of the best types of data that a business can get ahold of is user data and interactive media can easily generate that kind of data. Thanks to this clear insight into what the audience does or doesn’t want it’s possible to create a marketing plan that takes this into account, for example by developing new products and services specifically aimed at the target audience.
7. Interactive Media for Effective Brand Communication
The growth of a business is achieved through an effective communication cycle with the customers. A communication cycle is a process in which a customer sends messages or elaborates on ideas with another person from the company. One example would be a customer calling in or messaging online to review their product with the company. To meet the demands of customers as quickly as possible, employ interactive media such as chatbots, which are one of the most typical examples of interactive communication channels. Lyft is a prime example of a company that uses chatbots to streamline consumer experience.
8. Interactive Media for Up-Selling
Once the customer base is established, it is possible to up-sell products – if the clients already know what kind of service they are going to get, and they are satisfied with it, the odds are that they’ll pay for more. Thanks to interactive media it’s possible to gather user data from previous interactions and use that to generate more sales at a higher price by promoting any kind of offer your business has for customers.
What are the Components and Types of Interactive Media Tools?
Interactive media is an umbrella term that includes different tools and components – from moving images to audio, digital texts, and even videos. They all serve the same function; enhancing the personalized marketing interaction between buyers and sellers. We can analyze some of them, along with what benefits they can provide.
1. Interactive Web Slides and Features
If a customer feels like they can completely personalize their experience and search exactly what they are looking for, they will be a happy and loyal customer. With as little as something like sliders to set the price range or filters to limit their results to what they’re looking for. These two features help to narrow down the results of a search and greatly enhance the user’s experience. The more pleasurable is the experience for the customer, the more likely they are to come back and use that service again.
2. User-Oriented Assessment
“The customer is always right,” as the old saying goes. Even if that doesn’t completely reflect the truth, thanks to the possibility to gather their feedback it is possible to know what feels right to them and what they really want. Giving the audience the chance to provide constructive feedback is still an undefeated media interaction strategy. Even if it’s a simple one, a good assessment interface is what makes businesses one move ahead compared to their competitors. An assessment interface can look like a survey questionnaire on your website or sent via email. The survey may contains questions like:
- How long have you been using the product?
- Which alternatives did you consider before purchasing the product?
- How often do you use the product or service?
- How old are you?
- Where are you located?
- If applicable, what gender do you identify as?
- How much time do you spend on (insert social media platform you’d like to use for advertising)?
- How much does sustainability matter to you in purchasing a product?
- How do you feel about (insert product type)?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your in store experience today?
- How likely are you to recommend (insert product or service) to others?
- How would you rate your satisfaction with our team in resolving your issue?
While quizzes are quite similar to surveys and polls in structures, the difference lies in what they offer to the customer. Quizzes aim at testing the knowledge of the audience about the products and services offered in exchange for a reward, be it free goods, a discount, or even a digital badge for their account.
4. Interactive Infographics
Infographics are useful because they make it possible to deliver as much information as possible while being easy to read. It’s possible to use them instead of verbose texts or time consuming videos. They are not easy to use, though. The line between what’s minimalist and what’s lacking is sometimes really thin. Therefore, when creating infographics keep the following in mind:
- Create your infographic for your target audience.
- Keep it simple.
- Keep it focused.
- Show things visually.
- Promote it.
Being able to create interactive infographics that work is something that can enhance business value.
5. Interactive Video Content
Video marketing is slowly becoming one of the most dominant content strategies. 93% of marketers say that it is an integral part of their marketing strategy. In the last few years, many streaming and live session services have arisen, such as Facebook Live, YouTube, or TikTok, offering the audience an opportunity to engage with their favorite brands and making them feel empowered. At the same time, it gives content creators the freedom to take their brand’s value proposition to their audience through audio, video, and text, effectively using the best of three different but equally powerful strategies. Your brand’s value proposition is the answer to why your target audience would buy your service or do business with you, because it tells them how your business adds value to their lives. Furthermore, in some cases it is even possible for the users to have the freedom to edit the video content in a way that best suits their taste and purpose.
6. Interactive Calculator
A customer is always looking for something that is worth their money. At the same time, they are looking to spend as little as possible for what they’re looking for. You can implement interactive calculators on your websites or promotional landing page with an option to customize a quote. Using an interactive calculator can help them determine the best pricing package for them through instant product or service defined price points.
7. Interactive Email Marketing
Email marketing is an excellent strategy that draws its principle from the past. Nowadays, businesses are always trying to come up with emails that are both appealing and capable of spurring engagement. Email content can be newsletters, announcements, sales, or general education, enticing the reader to learn more about your industry or the company itself. It’s not a surprise then that professionals specialized in writing email content are becoming more and more common.
8. Interactive GIFs and Stickers
Many brands use GIFs and stickers as interactive media tools. For example, sports social media channels, use GIFs to invite their followers to interact with it in exchange for a unique content offer. In order to access that unique content the user has to follow the account, creating a win-win situation. The business gains new followers, while the audience can gains access to exclusive content or offers.
Businesses that have a large audience can use chatbots to interact with them, should they need a quick answer. Employing a responsive chatbot can make the customer feel like they’re talking to a real human when a customer service representative isn’t available. Not only they will feel like there is actually someone there for them, but at the same time they will also feel heard and get the answers they want as soon as possible. Apart from answering the client’s questions, it’s also possible to use chatbots to create a personalized experience, for example by letting the customer take a virtual tour of the website.
Things to Consider Before Implementing Interactive Media
It’s important to keep in mind that interactive media is not something that can turn the tide of a business alone. To employ these methods to their full potential, it’s important to consider different aspects that can make or break a marketing campaign.
First and foremost, it’s important to know a budget beforehand. Interactive media tools can be free or paid and the price range is enormous. A few interactive media options are simple to install into your website or easy to implement and cost effective. For example, there are plugins you can install into your website on the backend for chatbots. To run a successful email campaign, there are platforms like Mailchimp, giving you an opportunity to send emails for free. Additionally, infographics could be simple to create and cost effective since it only requires a design tool like Canva or Adobe Photoshop.
Some of them are very easy to implement and cost less than other tools such as virtual and augmented reality, which are among the most expensive tools to implement. Having a clear idea of how much you are willing to spend and how much value the chosen interactive media will bring to the business is the first step towards a successful marketing strategy. With that in mind, it’s important to prepare a compelling value proposition to ensure the investment yields a return. An interactive media strategy could work better if aligned with a good value proposition.
Every business should first identify their audience and their strong points – only then it is possible to come up with a marketing strategy that works best for your business’ goals and niche market. It also serves you and your business well to determine what the purpose of implementing interactive media content would be before investing in it.
Last but not least, it’s important to seek help. Many interactive media tools could be seen as something simple to make, but that’s far from the truth. It’s important to reach out to professionals such as interactive media designers and content strategists because they are trained to identify the best tool needed for a successful interactive media marketing campaign.
After having implementing interactive media, it’s important to monitor how well it does by taking note of the data, because figures don’t lie. Analyzing the effects of an interactive media strategy can help the business decide if it’s working or not. An interactive media strategy is only as good as the value that it offers to the business.
All in all, interactive media is an excellent substitute for traditional media if used correctly. Tools such as quizzes, infographics, and polls are some of the best forms of interactive media content that businesses can use to build brand awareness, generate leads, build loyalty, and much more. But it’s important to know how to use them. After confirming your business goals and what your value proposition is for customers, then is when it could be a great time for your business to implement interactive media.