Interactive Content: The Successor Of The Landing Page

I’ve written about marketing apps and their role in the 4th wave of content marketing in my past two columns, describing some of the concepts behind them.


To me, they are the interactive successor of the landing page — the next generation of lightweight web experiences for marketing campaigns.

This month, I’d like to share some independent evidence about how well interactive content performs in that role.

Millions Of Reasons To Like Quiz Content

As marketers are told to behave “more like publishers” with content marketing, it can’t hurt to look at what the most successful digital publisher in the world — BuzzFeed — is doing to drive its readership and engagement.

The #1 answer? Interactive quizzes.

As noted in an article by Business Insider, BuzzFeed has generated millions of Facebook shares through interactive quizzes such as “What State Do You Actually Belong In?” and “What Career Should You Actually Have?” that have broken social sharing records.

In fact, all of BuzzFeed’s top 10 stories in January were quizzes.

As if to run a controlled experiment on the efficacy of interactive content, BuzzFeed actually decreased the number of quizzes they were doing in April and May — and saw their social sharing plummet. They quickly realized that was a mistake and are now back to producing one big quiz a day.

BuzzFeed’s quizzes have been so successful that they received a special note in Mary Meeker’s latest Internet Trends report (slide 45) as an example of “re-imagining content and content delivery.”

Of course, BuzzFeed’s quizzes tend to be a bit whimsical, albeit catchy. But we can certainly use that same mechanism for more serious topics, such as selecting the right marketing automation platform or choosing the right kind of continuing education program.

Boosting Education, Differentiation, Sharing & Conversion

The analyst firm Demand Metric recently produced a research report, Enhancing the Buyer’s Journey, that examined the performance differences that 185 B2B and B2C marketers were having with passive vs. interactive content. (Disclosure: My company sponsored the study, but Demand Metric did their research and analysis independently.)

They surveyed a cross-section of marketers from different industries and business sizes on the relative success of their content marketing tactics. Twenty-five percent (25%) of the participants reported that they were using interactive content to some degree — enough to provide statistical significance in a segmented analysis that compared their performance with their peers who were relying on passive content.

There were four objectives of content marketing for which the study asked these marketers to rate their performance:

  • Educating prospects
  • Differentiating the company
  • Producing “conversions” (leads or sales)
  • Generating “shares” on social media

On all four of these dimensions, the interactive group outperformed the passive one:

  • 93% of the interactive group reported their content was somewhat effective or very effective in educating buyers, versus 70% for the passive group.
  • 88% of the interactive group reported their content was somewhat effective or very effective in differentiating against competitors, versus 55% for the passive group.
  • 70% of the interactive group reported their content produced conversions moderately well or very well, versus 36% for the passive group.
  • 38% of the interactive group reported their content was shared frequently or very frequently, versus 17% for the passive group.

To provide a little more color on these figures, here are the distributions of those performance ratings for the objective of educating buyers:

Passive vs. Interactive Content Education

Courtesy of Demand Metric and ion interactive

The differences in the tails of these distributions are fascinating. A whopping 45% of the marketers in the interactive group reported that their content was “very effective” at educating buyers — in contrast with just 6% in the passive group. That’s more than a 7x difference.

And here’s the breakdown for their performance in conversions:

Passive vs. Interactive Content Conversion

Courtesy of Demand Metric and ion interactive

Nearly twice as many in the interactive group report their content converts moderately well or very well. And again, at the top of the scale, the “very well” category has 14% for the interactive group and just 4% for the passive group — a greater than 3x difference.

Interactive Content Is King

Earlier this month, I joined Jerry Rackley, the chief analyst at Demand Metric, on a webinar to walk through the results of their research and put them in the context of the evolution of content marketing. I also walked through a number of real examples of marketing apps — a game, a calculator, a B2B-oriented quiz, and an interactive white paper — to illustrate these concepts.

If you’d like to take a peek through the presentation, I’ve uploaded it to SlideShare:

In the opening, I remarked that while content may be king, content marketing often feels like Game of Thrones. You’re never king for long! The competition in content is brutal. At the end of the presentation, having discussed all the evidence from their research, Jerry declared that interactive content is the new king.

I’m biased, but I believe he’s right.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Content Marketing | Content Marketing | Content Marketing Column | Internet Marketing Industry: Stats | Statistics | Statistics: General


About The Author: is the president and CTO of ion interactive, a leading provider of landing page management and conversion optimization software. He also writes a blog on marketing technology, Chief Marketing Technologist. Follow him on twitter via @chiefmartec.

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