Interactive content goes beyond the written word or enacted video. As its name implies, it's content that the end-user can interact with in some way, whether that's through tapping a button to change an outcome, or by placing themselves in a scene via a virtual reality (VR) headset. Back in 2015, reports showed that 91 percent of buyers preferred to consume and access interactive and visual content on-demand. Going into 2019, you can safely assume that the percentage has risen.  

Today we’re seeing an increasing number of brands delivering a plethora of interactive content marketing campaigns, from virtual reality experiences to simple Facebook quizzes, in an effort to drive more qualified leads, increase engagement and improve customer experience.

Digital marketing thought leaders share some compelling insights regarding the role of interactive content marketing in 2019. But before we go into that, let’s take a look at how brands are already getting interactive with their content.   

Related Article: 7 Interesting Content Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2019

4 Brands Doing Interactive Content Marketing Right

Surveys are one thing, but seeing industry-leading brands get involved in interactive content marketing speaks volumes. Here’s what the landscape looks like as we move into 2019.

1. Coca-Cola

During the Christmas season in 2015, Coca-Cola introduced ‘Santa’s Virtual Reality Sleigh Ride.’ The company utilized VR set Oculus Rift to allow their consumers, in particular, the younger generation, to experience a VR world and be Santa Claus for a day. This campaign took place in Poland.

2. The New York Times

The world-renowned newspaper, which has been in print for over 160 years, wanted to go digital to provide their readers with interactive news following the decline in circulation of print media. The New York Times decided to develop a VR campaign that was powered by Google Cardboard. Readers were able to download The New York Times VR app to view the latest news in real-time.

3. Oreo

Oreo developed a 360-degree interactive VR video that immersed viewers into an animated world of an Oreo factory. The campaign aimed to promote “Filled Cupcake Flavored Oreo Cookies” and it proved to be a success, getting more then 3.2 million views.

4. Qalo

Not every interactive content marketing campaign needs to involve high tech equipment. Jewelry firm Qalo developed a quiz to educate potential customers on product value props. The quiz also acted as a product navigator to help customers make their buying decisions.

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Interactive Content Marketing: What To Expect in 2019

As more brands are beginning to employ interactive content marketing strategies, we look at some key trends predicted for 2019.

Interactive, Gamified Video

Amanda Wiener, senior reporter and editor at News & Trends by HubSpot, commented on how Facebook’s announcement of introducing features to their video platform to make video content more interactive would encourage marketers to look into this medium. “Facebook announced earlier this year that it was going to be adding features to its platform for creators to make video more interactive. This news came on the coattails of HQ Trivia’s success,” Wiener said.

She then continued to say that in 2019, “marketers should consider ways they might incorporate this type of gamification and interaction into their video content.”

Wiener referenced her company’s research findings, which showed a majority of consumers watch videos on mobile devices and that longer-form videos (75 minutes or more) held “their attention” the most.

Further research by Hubspot found that 28 percent of viewers agreed that interactive or game-like elements would engage them more than a traditional video. However, Wiener added that when viewers were “presented with the option of traditional video or gamified/interactive video, most respondents said they're more interested in viewing traditional video.”

Learning Opportunities

She advised brands that in order to take full advantage of the interactive video, they must focus on “driving awareness to the benefits of these platforms and features.”

More Augmented Reality

Besides VR, Augmented Reality (AR) is also set for an increase in adoption in 2019. Brands like Amazon, Ikea, Wayfair and Shopify are already utilizing AR technologies to increase customer engagement.

Vytenis Bagdonas, communications and content marketing manager at CGTrader, highlighted the benefits of AR in a customer-facing environment. “Interactive content in AR has really changed the way customers approach products in online stores. A three-dimensional view of a product lets you see it on your own terms. AR apps also let customers see products in the real world and find out, for example, whether a couch will fit in their apartment.”

Bagdonas further advised brands that the key to a “successful” interactive content marketing strategy with AR (and VR) is to utilize high-quality 3D content. “Your 3D models have to be both visually precise and technically optimized. When I say 'technically optimized,' I am thinking about making your content suitable for standalone VR/AR glasses and mobile devices, which do not have enough computational power to render complex 3D models.”

More 360-Degree Video Content

Also known as immersive or spherical videos, 360-degree video content is captured using an omnidirectional camera or a series of cameras.

Samantha Isdale, director of content marketing at Wpromote, noted a benefit of this medium is how it would improve the online shopping experience. “As users are increasingly shopping online first and not taking the extra time to visit a store in-person, [360-degree video] content will allow them to still see and experience all aspects of a product and can mimic an in-real-life experience,” Isdale said.

Isdale said that this 360-degree trend will be adopted by more brands in 2019, in particular, those who sell large purchase items like furniture, cars and homes.

More Audio Content

Since the advent of Amazon Echo and Google Home, the voice-activated speaker market has seen exponential growth. Edison Research and NPR reported one-in-six Americans own a smart speaker. According to Karen Chan, director of emerging channels at MediaMath, audio content is going to be “big” in programmatic advertising, which is an automated procedure of procuring digital ad space via targeted data.

“[Brands] are getting smarter about where their audience is, and publishers are starting to monetize the audiences consuming their content. While voice is still a bit away, programmatic audio will fully take effect in the marketing marketplace in 2019,” Chan said.

More Live Streaming

And finally, Isdale predicted that live streaming platforms will form media partnerships to provide brands the opportunity to raise awareness and engage with their target market in real-time. “With Twitch on the rise and successfully transforming itself into not only a live-streaming platform, but [a platform with] a highly engaged audience, this is a great opportunity for media partnerships,” Isdale said.

She added that in 2019, we’ll see more brand partnerships form with live-streaming services that will leverage their content and audience insights.