Your customers are bombarded with content every time they look at their smartphones, open their laptops, or use their digital tablets. To be noticed, marketers have to stop selling and start engaging.

"Content marketing is becoming less about the words you put on a page, and more about the experiences you create for the consumer," according to William Comcowich, CEO of CyberAlert. That's where interactive content—quizzes, calculators, assessment tools, and infographics—come into play.

Creating an experience that invites users to join the brand experience can be a lifesaver in a sea of passive, undifferentiated content.

Here are five reasons why interactive content is worth creating.

1. Interactive content gets noticed

A total of 70% of marketers agree that interactive content is effective at engaging buyers, according to a study by Demand Metric.

Those marketers are right. Some 67% of buyers responded best to content that contained timely or unique information, and 60% valued content that explained a complex issue in simple terms, according to an Economist Group survey.

However, there's a disconnect in what consumers want and what marketers are giving them. Some 58% of marketers say that their content does not provide enough opportunity for engagement.

Adding interactive elements to your existing content means that your content will fill a void for customers looking for ways to connect with content. So, they'll be more likely to share your content than a less engaging competitor's content.

2. Visual content means more likes and shares

Michael Brenner, head of strategy at NewsCred found that in regards to social media, consumers value visuals over text. Status updates featuring photos are liked 2X more than those featuring text, and videos are shared a whopping 12X more than text and link-based updates.

So, how can you get those likes and shares? By breaking up your content and making it social media-ready, writes Matt Gratt, customer acquisition strategist at BuzzStream. "Consider making versions that are easy to embed and look great—either a version of the interactive that can be embedded (which you may or may not want to do depending on your marketing objectives), or good images or animated GIFs of the tool's operation. Then you can make it as easy as possible for your outreach prospects to feature you."

3. Customers value education

A total of 75% of B2B customers looked to content to "research a business idea," according to the Economist Group survey. However, 93% of B2B marketers are using traditional content as a sales pitch.

Instead of bombarding potential leads with brand messages, use interactive content, such as ROI calculators and need assessments, to give your e-books and whitepapers the value customers want.

"The point isn't just to be present, but to be useful," states Tim Williams, founder of Ignition Consulting Group. "For companies that sell to other businesses (like professional services), the litmus test of an effective content marketing program is always to ask the question, 'Will our customers and prospects find this to be useful?'"

4. Data makes for better content

What if your customers could tell you exactly which parts of your content they found useful or, better yet, which parts they didn't even bother to read? With interactive content, customers can. Feedback and behavioral insights from quizzes and other assessment tools means more relevant, better targeted content to come.

Future content will "evoke emotions, express deeper empathy for each customer persona, and tell great stories with less emphasis on aggressive selling," according to Hanna Andrzejewska, marketing manager at GetResponse. "Driving these campaigns will be the rush of data that is being made available to marketers that not only help to determine raw metrics, such as conversion rates and engagement, but gain deeper insight into customer behavior to develop smarter campaigns and more targeted offers."

There's no better way to capture that emotion and drive engagement by gleaning user feedback—both explicit and inferred—through interactive content.

5. The future is interactive

Even the AMA agrees that interactive is the future of content marketing. The AMA predicted that interactive content will be king in the coming years in a recent article. "Immersive, interactive storytelling gives companies a means to strategically orchestrate an agile selling environment, empowering their customers to uncover the true value of a product or solution while creating an emotional connection," writes Dana Drissel.

* * *

Don't wait for other marketers to lead the charge on interactive content. Create engagement now by building interactive elements into your brand message.

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Five Reasons Interactive Content Drives Engagement

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image of Anna Talerico

Anna Talerico is executive vice-president of Ion Interactive, a company that pioneered in post-click marketing. Anna and her colleagues provided professional guidance and assistance in the development of SmartTools: High-Performance Landing Pages specifically for MarketingProfs PRO members.

LinkedIn: Anna Talerico