For many people stuck in their old ways, the fear of failure seems more scary than change itself – and this can debilitate one’s success. Publishers who are searching for ways to increase traffic, time on site and reader’s engagement cannot afford to rely solely on great content. Change is inevitable.
It’s obvious why publishers should embark on the interactive content train, but the question is how does it work? When you transport readers from passively absorbing content to actively engage in an interactive experience – your site becomes hospitable, it welcomes them to get comfortable and stay for a while longer. The longer a reader stays on your site, the chances are greater that they will share their information, subscribe to your site and keep on coming back for more.
Increases Audience Engagement
Interactive content kicks butt in the content world. It captures the audience mind and holds on tightly by involving the individual. Take for instance an article which has an embedded quiz related to the content involved. Quizzes are extremely popular and addictive. Generally they aim to deliver a fun distraction but businesses and publishers alike can use this format to educate their readers or lead them to the most relevant subsequent content.
Fansided, a leading site for sport lovers, published an article about the upcoming NFL season. Instead of just writing up a post to get Football fans amped for the games, they added a quiz to help their readers decide which NFL team they should support. They used the mechanism of Apester, the digital storytelling platform. Following a series of characteristic based questions, the interactive quizz determines which team the user should support.
It’s human nature to feel the need to interact. Some of the most effective lessons in school are in fact the ones where kids actively participate by creating things. And interactive content such as the Apester quizz accomplishes that. Furthermore, the publisher gains more insight about the user whilst simultaneously educating them in a playful way.
By capitalizing a reader’s attention with interactive content, they are more likely to be interested and in tune with messaging.
The Boomerang Effect
According to Kuno Creative, interactive content increases user loyalty. Studies have also shown personalized content that constantly changes is far more likely to produce repeat visits and subscribers than static content.
Every year businesses spend billions of dollars to create customized content they can share over many channels. Regardless of the spending power, they still have to update their content repeatedly to create a boomerang effect for their readers. Fresh content promises to boost user consumption and longer site visits.
Daniel Glickman, CMO at Roojoom – a programmatic storytelling platform, is a firm believer that interactive content incites users to return. “We see a direct correlation between user engagement and repeat site visits. The more a user is engaged with your content the more likely they are to return. Interactive content is, by definition, more engaging and therefore leads to more visits”.
In 2013, The Guardian launched an interactive editorial piece “Firestorm.” The story brings to life three separate narratives: the individual story of Tim and Tammy Holmes, the larger story the brush fire in Tasmania, and the broader history of these devastating natural disasters throughout Australia’s history. By using a combination of text, photos, slideshows, cinemagraphs, audio clips, and videos The Guardian proved the power of interactive content which encouraged user interaction and return visits.
Improves Users Time on Site
A publisher can determine how well your content resonates with audience members by analyzing several metrics such as; page views, returning visitors, keyword performance, referrals, etc. Each one gives you insight into a reader’s relationship with the content. Some say that one metric in particular is indicative of the overall reader engagement– the time spent on site.
Hypothetically speaking, if your average page view count is 4.5 pages per visit (which sounds great). But the average time on site is around 55 seconds, this basically means that most people read each page in less than a minute. In other words, much of that time spent on each page is a quick skim over and onto the next best thing. The opposite of what every publisher sets out to achieve. Ultimately, if someone is on your site longer, they are more engaged and when they are more engaged, they’ll be more likely to trust you and sign up for sponsored content. This is gold for advertisers- as engaged users means qualified leads you want to be generating.
When the New York Times debuted a multi-chapter series called “Snow Fall,” they proved that they were a frontrunner in terms of online publishing. They created a fantastic piece that integrated video, photo and graphics in a natural and useful way. Not only was it a turning point for interactive content but the feature received around 2.9 million visits for more than 3.5 million page views. Which in turn led to an increase in user time on their site.
Interactive content offers an opportunity to differentiate your brand and engage your audience. We have the opportunity to use interactive content to tell meaningful stories in a way that’s fresh, engaging and unique. And as a publisher vying for attention and engagement amongst the deafening noise, you’ll want to consider using these innovative ways to stand out.
This article was written by Yoav Vilner from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Originally published on Sep 21, 2015 9:59 AM