The rise of interactive content

The Rise of Interactive Content (Are You Prepared?)

Can you guess the average attention span of a human?

Twenty seconds? Nope.

Fifteen seconds? Nope, lower.

Ten seconds?

Check out this chart:

The rise of interactive content

Would  you be surprised to find out it’s just over 8 seconds? That’s less than a goldfish and down approximately 4 seconds from the year 2000.

Our collective attention spans have plummeted over the last few centuries, thanks, in large part, to the advent of the Internet.

Welcome to the struggle of marketers.

Now, brands and marketers are competing not only against each other, and your typical life distractions, but also time, and an ever dwindling attention span. That translates into fewer clicks, opens, and sales for those brands that aren’t trying to find a better way to not only grab their consumers attention, but hold it for more than a few seconds.

But, before you lose all hope, there is something that can be done. Turn your content from passive to interactive.

Is Traditional Content Marketing Enough?

While content marketing has been an important buzzword the last few years, the ever changing nature and digitization of the marketplace and consumer, means that sometimes having great content isn’t enough.

While epic blog posts and engaging Twitter accounts can get your brand far, now (and into the future) even more is needed.

Online ad click rates have plummeted over the last five years. According to Doubleclick, who ran a benchmark study in 2015, they found that currently “across all ad formats and placements Ad CTR is 0.06%.”

The same danger can hold true for more traditional content. Again, the Internet has made it possible for anyone to be a media organization, call themselves an expert, and begin publishing content.

For a snapshot of just how much data is created every second:

The rise of interactive content

It’s reasonable to assume that with scale at which content is being pushed out right now, consumers will be looking for ways to step back from the glut of information out there and find new ways to get their information.

That’s where interactive content can be a game changer.

Diving Deep into Interactive Content

First, let’s take a step back and look at exactly what interactive content marketing means. In the most basic sense, it’s a type of content marketing that has a deep focus on having the user (or consumer) engage, interact, or participate with the content that is presented.

There are a couple of main benefits for this.

First, brands and marketers are always looking for ways to have more engaged consumers. The longer a potential consumer interacts with your content (we’re talking getting above that 8 second mark), the higher chances you have to convert them to becoming a customer.

A study from Microsoft Research found that the most people start dropping off on websites in as little as 10 seconds. So it goes to logic to think the longer you can keep a visitor on your site, the better. In fact, the same group found if you can keep your visitors around for a minimum of 30 seconds, then you have a good chance they will stay two minutes or longer.

The rise of interactive content

Interactive content can also go a long way towards providing value, especially when it comes to education, as seen by the above Demand Metric’s chart. Users can learn quite a bit about products and services, how their needs could be met, and how one brand is different from another using content that is much more tuned to educating and engaging visitors from the start.

Here’s another reason; brands that have gone all in on having interactive content on their sites have gotten much better results in the form of higher conversion rates over those who have stuck with passive content.

Ion Interactive found:

“Interactive content, such as apps, assessments, calculators, configurators and quizzes, generate conversions moderately or very well 70% of the time, compared to just 36% for passive content.”

With data showing results like that, it should be no surprise that more and more marketers and brands are moving towards interactive content on their sites.

The Psychology Behind Interactive Content

Here at Scratch-It, we like to pay a little bit of attention when it comes the psychology behind how consumers behave.

Brands and marketers that embrace reveal marketing have found that by increasing the active engagement and interest of users, they are dramatically able to increase their open and click through rates.

Reveal marketing bases its effectiveness on six major psychological factors:

  • Perceived Value
  • Curiosity
  • Conditioning
  • Endowment/Ikea Effect
  • Fear of Missing Out
  • Near Miss Theory

Interactive content plays right into many of these factors. This includes looking at your marketing strategy as an experience.

By tickling your visitors curiosity, having them work for results, and making them feel like they have some ownership, marketers and brands can tap into the psychology of their potential consumers.

Types of Interactive Content

So what about your site? What kinds of content can you create that will allow for more visitors to interact, and thus stick around for a bit longer than normal?

Let’s take a look.


The rise of interactive content

Quizzes are easy. People love learning, and they will generally stick around to find the answer once their curiosity is tickled. Sites like BuzzFeed have been able to be the masters of the online quiz that not only keeps you on their site for longer, but generally gets you to share the results too.

Polls and Surveys

In a riff off the quiz, polls and surveys are also a good way to get your audience to interact. These don’t need to be complex, something as simple as “Pick the cover for my next book” or “Vote for the next conference location” can get people much more invested in the brand.


Contests have tons of potential for brands and marketers. Not only do people love winning things (see: The Endowment Effect), but contests hold another bonus. They usually require the visitor to enter some information, giving a treasure trove of data.


Calculators are another type of interactive content that can bring in visitors. These can cover a number of topics (usually centered around money), anything from “Calculate My Mortgage Payment” to SalesForce Pardot’s “Calculate the ROI on Automation.”

White Papers

One interesting change that’s come into play with interactive content is the re-imagining of white papers. While not something that would traditionally be seen as interactive, some savvy brands are changing that, making their white papers clickable and calling for engagement.


It should go without saying that video is one of the obvious (and easy) ways to increase your interactive content, time on site, and visitor education. It’s no surprise that video marketing has become increasingly important, especially when it comes to marketing on mobile.

The Final Result

At the end of the day, brands and marketers need to be paying attention to the rapidly changing pace of the Internet. What worked even five years ago will likely not be nearly as effective even a few years from now.

Users are being bombarded with more information online than ever, and are increasingly growing skeptical of what they do see. Once you’re able to understand that and make the move towards improving the way you offer content to your visitors that increases their engagement and interaction the results will come.

Have you tried incorporating interactive content into your marketing plans? What have been your results?

Liz Froment

Liz is a marketing content writer for the Scratch-it team. She loves learning and writing about email marketing. You can find her tweeting about it and a lot more at @lfroment.