Often invisible in many activities, language is a powerful tool that basically makes us what we are.
Behind the curtains of our electrochemical brain activities, storytelling lays the foundation for developing our identity.
It is no wonder that marketers have been using it as a strategy, whose main objective is to capture people’s attention so the brand’s message can be properly delivered.
However, relevant information is not enough. We need engagement — and that’s exactly where interactive content plays its role.
As one of the best practices for Content Marketing, interactive storytelling works successfully in the most diverse scenarios.
In this article, we will show how your company can benefit from this strategy:
What is Interactive Storytelling?
Interactive content is a digital resource that engages the audience in an experience that depends on their action.
The idea is quite simple: we provide content and collect data while people get the answer to what they were looking for.
Applied to a storytelling strategy, it bursts the narrative with more appealing tools, bringing people closer. A simple quiz or an interactive calculator can quickly captivate the audience at an extra level.
The following ROI Calculator, developed with Ion, allows people to calculate the ROI of their marketing campaigns:
What are the benefits of Interactive Storytelling?
Basically, people are freely giving you valuable data to understand your customer — and through the interaction, they are opening up to listen to what you have to say.
According to a study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, marketers are already using 63% more images and infographics than ever before.
In short, interactive content enhances storytelling by creating multiple experiences in multiple senses.
Below, you will see how this strategy can be used!
How to use Interactive Storytelling?
In 2011, Forbes called the Elf Yourself campaign “the greatest holiday digital execution of all time”.
The microsite, created by Office Max, took advantage of a community feeling, to engage people in a shared experience.
If you access the website during the Christmas period, you’ll have the opportunity to create a group elf photo — where you can upload up to 5 images of you and your friends!
This singular strategy may be excellent for beginners, especially if you aim to test your engagement power.
2. Advanced Listicle
Especially popularized by Buzzfeed, the listicle has become an important tool for marketers, a real template, or post genre for those who need communication to be more attractive.
The point here is that this amazing tool is user-centric, which means people can quickly jump to the part of the content they are more interested in. Now, interactive storytelling opens a new world of possibilities to work that out.
We are talking about the next step. After all, written text alone no longer has the appeal your audience needs for being attracted.
The UBM, a global communication company, learned while developing its marketing strategy to publicize London Technology Week.
In order to create interesting content that people would share online, the team developed the “Geek’s Guide to London”, using the Ion tool.
Besides showing the week’s events, the article brought an interactive map where users could find other information about London’s unique relationship to technology.
Add to that a mobile-friendly version of the article, and voilà: the storytelling created for the original static article was turned into innovative marketing action.
Users could virtually experience London Technology Week, both online and offline.
The engagement level was so high that people didn’t just go from the platform to the event, but some who were already there felt tempted to check out the digital content.
So, here’s another takeaway: historical places are a real treasure for storytellers.
3. Ungated Interaction
An experimental study conducted by Rock Content exposed users to both gated and ungated interactive content.
The difference is that in the first case, we need to fill a short form with personal data before accessing the content. It seems simple, right?
Well, the results — as expected — indicated over 51% of people engaged with the ungated content, while only 15.8% went through the form.
Moreover, the conversion rate was up to 20.4% for the ungated version; less than 15% of visitors who accessed the gated version were converted.
That said, the users’ data still hold their value, and collecting them is marketing’s main goal. But how to proceed?
Here’s a special benefit of storytelling: it does not need to be immediately and fully delivered.
Do it in small doses or progressively, just like Canal+ did with the interactive video series they’ve created based on their own entertainment.
Users watched the popular characters cracking jokes while they were prompted to sign up for newsletters.
The message is clear: customers tend to interact much more successfully when they want to, rather than when forced.
4. Personalized Pitch
The sales pitch can be useful in certain circumstances, but its aesthetic often blocks the mood storytellers want to elicit in people’s minds.
More than the price of your product and how to acquire it, the audience wants to understand how it can work for them.
For that matter, L’Oreal Paris has an interesting case. Aiming at engaging customers to try the company’s app, the marketers realized a static catalog would be just another boring list of products.
That may work when the customers come for your products, but this was exactly the other way around. So, how did they solve that challenge? With another app!
Makeup Genius is an intelligent tool design to let customers experience digital makeup. In a few seconds, anyone could add lipstick and eyeshadows to their own face.
People saw what the brand was offering through a virtual experience of “try before you buy”. Notice that the takeaway here is not about apps development.
Technology plays a crucial role in tying storytelling and interactive content together.
Do we need to invest a huge amount of money in our marketing actions? Not necessarily. But interaction can definitely put an extra layer of satisfaction to our existing content.
In addition, we can adopt metrics that help us monitor results. The point is, every innovative strategy — particularly when we’re dealing with people’s behavior — needs constant improvement. By using effective KPIs you enhance your automation system.
That can be done through interactive content as well. Surveys and personality tests are good options, although you should first plan how to fit them into your narrative.
5. Visual message
Here are some final insights you must take into account before creating your own content.
First of all, it’s important to understand exactly what you need to communicate, as well as how to do it.
Instead of choosing the most sophisticated interactive content, you need to identify what medium works best for you.
Are you creating a website? So, maybe, you can distribute different tools throughout the page. But keep it simple: a simple animation, infographic, or video is good enough.
Longer stories tend to open space for more elaborated materials, but try not to overwhelm your audience with too much information. People can get anxious.
Identify your buyer persona, then create a story based on it. Make it personal. The goal here is to connect with people through emotional, empathetic content. Your main character, for example, must bring the customers’ pains and needs.
They could also be a side character, as long as you have a powerful protagonist. Last but not least, put visual tools to work in your favor.
Good stories are never entirely in words. Insert tools that respond to users’ actions such as clicking, scrolling, zooming, or simply waving the mouse over them.
If you need easy inspiration, take a look at any of Google Doodle posts. Many of them are masterpieces of interactive storytelling since they bring a whole narrative into a single image, creating a connection with the audience and adding an extra layer for enriching our experience.
As you can see, interactivity can be evoked from inside the raw text with the right tools.
Interactive Storytelling is powerful and fits well any marketing strategy. So take these insights with you and empower your existing content with multiple sensory experiences!
What about diving deeper into the topic? Download our free Interactive Content Guide!