Interactive Content Platforms Gaining Popularity As Marketers Look For New Engagement Paths

Published: October 9, 2012

With more messaging being received and content being consumed on mobile devices, marketers are increasingly investing in tools that allow them to engage buyers across channels and platforms.

Recent statistics identify the reasons for this trend: According to Demand Gen Report’s 2012 Content Preferences Study, 84% of executives indicated they now use a laptop most frequently to access business-related content. In addition, 70% said they use a mobile phone to access content, and 49% use a tablet.

In looking at how buyers’ content consumption habits have changed over the past year, 32% indicated they prefer mobile-optimized content for viewing on a tablet or mobile device. As evidence of this trend, 44% pointed to videos as a top resource, while 28% cited interactive presentations.

New Ways To Reach Busy B2B Buyers

“The truth is email open rates are falling, and marketers need to find new and more effective ways to engage,” said Brainshark VP of Marketing Joan Babinski. “The popularity of on-demand video and other multimedia content present an opportunity to B2Bs for new levels of audience engagement.”

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According to Babinski, the nature of today’s business environment contributes to demand for this type of content. “People might not have time to read through an entire whitepaper or attend a one-hour webinar, but they can view a short video presentation at their convenience – between meetings, after work, etc.,” she stated. “On-demand multimedia content fits better with what their schedules allow. In fact, we’ve seen a 25% yearly growth rate in the number of views for Brainshark presentations.”

For B2B marketers, the desire for additional intelligence on buyers makes the shift towards interactive content even more important. Engagement generates data; this data, in turn, generates more information for sales and marketing teams to model lead generation efforts and track leads.

This is a key reason why marketers now view interactive content development as a high-priority activity. Static content such as white papers, while still an effective strategy to measure engagement and generate more intense client interest, does not generate as much data, for example, as webinars.

Interactive Content Drives Engagement Scoring

KnowledgeVision is taking this quest for interactive measurability to a new level. The company recently introduced a new solution which uses an algorithm to assign an “Engagement Score” (on a scale from 0 to 10) to each viewer session, based on how long they view, how they skip around a presentation, whether they drill down into reference links and other interactive points. This Engagement Score can then be pushed into a marketing automation system like Marketo or a CRM system like to improve the accuracy of lead scoring on each piece of interactive content.

According to KnowledgeVision, the number of active interactive presentations among its top 15 accounts has increased by 230% over the last year, and each member of this group, on average, put 91 KnowledgeVision presentations to work in the third quarter of 2012.

“Interactive content offers two huge benefits — one to viewers and one to the marketers who create it,” said Knowledgevision CEO Michael Kolowich. “For viewers, interactive content allows them to customize their path through the content.  By offering navigation, ‘tell me more’ links and calls to action, each prospect’s journey through the content can be tailored to their needs.”

Added Kolowich: “Aggressive use of dynamic footnotes and reference links encourages a viewer to drill deeper and deeper into the reservoir of useful content. For marketers, the clickstream collected from each viewer is extremely valuable. Every time a viewer interacts with content, there is important information about the level and nature of that viewer’s interest.”

Tablets Play A Decisive Role In Content Preferences

Brainshark is placing its bet on tablets, even for B2B interactive content. The company has developed a mobile presentation app called Slideshark that allows users to view and share presentations on an iPad without sacrificing animations, fonts, colors and graphics. This emphasis on the iPad reflects Brainshark’s proprietary research findings: 74% of users say they use their iPads to view and deliver business presentations – making this activity almost as common as using the iPad to check work email (82%), and more popular than using the iPad for Web research (72%) or business apps (46%).

“This goes beyond enterprise tablet adoption – millions of people are using their own personal devices for business purposes today, and companies have no choice but to adjust,” said Babinski. “From a content perspective, this means more people can now access multimedia content no matter where they are, from their mobile devices. With Brainshark presentations, we’ve certainly seen our percentage of mobile views rise over the past two years.”

Kaitlyn Stich, Marketing Associate for online event solution provider BrightTalk, added that webinars are also becoming a more important part of the mix. They allow companies to measure the time spent viewing content, track the reason a user ended the session, and learn whether the user revisited the content. Marketers can also use webinars to measure aggregate statistics, such as when users were most engaged, what questions were asked and whether further information was requested.

Stich stressed that interactive content cannot be a “one off strategy.” It can increase revenue through lead generation by maintaining a dialog with prospects or customers and facilitate channel communication. But it must also be an integral part of a larger and dynamic marketing effort. Organic audience-building, registration data, shareable and embeddable content, and leveraging existing and developed content can drive consistent results for B2B marketers.

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