Thoughts, Insights and Inspiration

How Useful Is Interactive Content For eCommerce Strategy?

Interactive content has quickly risen to become one of the most compelling forms of content eCommerce sites can offer. By adding in exciting interactive features, or elements that the customer has to provide some kind of an input into, retailers are finding that interactive content has the power to truly engage people. A number of brands from a number of sectors, including everything from car sellers to lingerie retailers, have taken to interactive content to help entertain, inform, and educate, as well as gain reach, awareness, and backlinks, and results have been impressive.

A survey conducted by Ion Interactive found that interactive content converts moderately or very well around 70% of the time, compared to passive content (written copy and other non-interactive forms), which converts in the same way just 35% of the time. Speaking more generally, research has found that strong visual content is easier for people to follow, and that people are 80% more willing to read content when there are coloured visuals on the page. By breaking up, contextualising, and making the copy friendlier, eCommerce sites can find those critical engagement rates rise.

However, there are other factors to take into account when deciding if interactive content is right for your business: namely cost and time. Both can be very high for the generation of interactive content, and both could be prohibitive. So eCommerce sites looking to create interactive content may want more persuasion before making the leap. After all, a boost in traffic, awareness, and Search rankings is good, but they’re not guaranteed. What you consider a cutting edge piece of interactive content could be deemed old hat by others, and that can limit the viral reach and therefore its potential impact.

So what else can interactive content deliver that’s a little more reliable? One element that many people forget is the potential to gather critical information about your customers. Content that requires customers to input information about themselves provides a subtle, unobtrusive way of gathering personal (but still anonymous) data about your customers’ likes, dislikes, preferences, and needs. Indeed, in many ways it’s a more effective way of gathering data than any other because it feels fun, engaging, and when done right, helpful. It’s not just punching your name and address into a monotonous form or filling out a bland survey.

Let’s look at the Victoria’s Secret example previously cited. Find Your Perfect Fit is a piece of activity designed to do just that: help women find bras that will offer them the best fit. Customers simply put in some basic information about themselves and the comfort the bra they’re currently wearing offers, and then the content provides a recommended bra size based on those answers. It even suggests helpful hints and tips in response to the answers being given as the content is being used, offering further and consistent utility and value.

It would have taken plenty of resource to develop Find Your Perfect Fit, but the trade-off of resource spent and information gathered is heavily in favour of the brand. Not only is Victoria’s Secret understanding whether or not its customers have bras that fit right, but it’s also understanding why and gaining other, lower level information about customers’ experiences with its bras that may exist but not contribute significantly to the overall problem. This then allows the brand to tweak its offering, tailor its products, and choose new content to accommodate these results.

Looking beyond eCommerce sites, Buzzfeed has arguably been the master of interactive content over the last few years, and while its quizzes and polls may seem trivial, they help guide editorial decision-making. For example, let’s say there are two quizzes: one about the Oscars and one about the Grammy’s. The Oscars quiz is based around the kind of fashion worn at the event over the years, while the Grammy’s one is about the actual artists and is focused specifically on this event. By analysing the performance of these quizzes, Buzzfeed can understand which topics land best with its audience – in terms of traffic, in terms of social traction, and critically in terms of ads. This can then inform and refine decisions going forwards, and ultimately provide better, more profitable, content.

Interactive content isn’t easy to produce or get right, but it can deliver incredible results when carefully considered. eCommerce sites considering moving into interactive content should look into whether they have the budget and the resource available to do it properly, and understand clearly what their goals are. If those goals can be met through interactive content, there’s a great opportunity for success – not just in gaining traffic and traction, but also understanding the customer and Being Useful by giving them more of what they want and need.

Have you seen some creative interactive content from brands you love? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get new articles straight to your inbox.

From our Blog