how-interactive-content-can-cut-your-bounce-rate-in-halfIf you want to know whether people like your website, check out your bounce rate. The bounce rate tells you how many people clicked a link to your site and then said, “On second thought, nah. I’ve got better things to do” or maybe read a single blog and then left your site without exploring further.

If you only look at the overall amount of traffic visiting your site, you can easily be misled into thinking that your site is super popular and that everyone loves it. In reality, people might like the idea of your site but be less than impressed once they actually visit.

Not all is lost, though. You’ll want to take a look at improving things like internal linking structure, but if you had to focus on just one area of improvement, it’d be creating engaging content.

And what’s the most engaging of all content? Interactive content.

Interactive Content Defined

When you were a kid, did your teacher expect you to learn new things simply through memorization? Or did you have the opportunity to put new concepts to practical use right away, as in lab experiments or vocabulary games? Chances are you’ve experienced both. The vast majority of people would agree that lab experiments and vocabulary games are more interesting and memorable than chanting “two times two is four” as a class.

Those interesting and memorable exercises that required your active participation were examples of interactive lessons, and the principles are the same in terms of interactive web content. Asking your reader to do more than just read can go a long way in increasing overall engagement.

Examples of Interactive Content

  1. Click to Tweet. “Click to Tweet” widgets take a lot of the time and trouble out of social media sharing. Previously, readers had to feel a strong emotion toward your content to go to the effort of sharing it. (Yes, there really isn’t that much effort involved, but let’s face it, we’re all a bit lazy and more than a bit busy, so fast and convenient methods are more appealing.) By using Click to Tweet, you not only craft the tweet for them (saving them from having to figure out how to say something snazzy in 140 characters or less), but also provide the outlet (Twiter, of course) and put it right in front of their faces so that you’re giving them the idea to tweet and it’s only a click away. Boom, done.
  2. Embedded Social Media Content. The Click to Tweet widget is pretty fabulous, but it doesn’t give your readers the option to easily follow you on Twitter. A good way around that is to embed a related tweet into your blog post. Interactive buttons seen under every tweet on Twitter will also appear when you embed the tweet into your content, so readers will have the opportunity to retweet you, favorite your tweet or even follow you, all with a simple click. You can do the same with Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
  3. Quizzes and Other Playful Content. At first you might be thinking “Hey wait a second, I work in a really serious, professional job. We don’t play!” But results have shown time and again that it doesn’t matter if the quiz is related to your brand or not—simply having the quiz on your site can increase engagement. Quizzes are highly shareable, and if you can figure out a way to incorporate your brand, even better. Polls, trivia quizzes, personality quizzes and even picture- or GIF-based lists all count as playful content.
    Sites like Playbuzz and Buzzfeed make it easy for anyone to create content in these formats, giving you the extra bonus of making your content readily available to the communities on those sites. If you want your brand to go far across the web, make it shareable by making it fun. When in doubt, virtually any blog post can have an associated poll: for example, “Do you agree or disagree?”
  4. Forms and Surveys That Aren’t Boring. Tools like Typeform are dedicated to making forms and surveys as user friendly as possible. You can make highly customized forms that are actually interesting to answer and don’t give you flashbacks to stressful grade school multiple choice tests. You can even integrate the form with your content, so that the boxes are unobtrusive. The content can even react to respondents, such as by integrating their names throughout the text once they’ve entered it into a certain field.
  5. Infographics You Can Manipulate. Infographics that the user can manipulate are very cutting-edge and, when done well, are guaranteed to get people to pay attention. Simple navigation buttons can transform a basic infographic into one that is more complex and visually appealing, not to mention memorable. Or, you can create graphs that can hide or show data sets at the click of a button. “Before and after” maps are also popular, where the user slides a bar across a map to reveal an older version for instant comparison.
  6. Choose Your Own Adventure Videos. These are perhaps the most interactive form of content you can produce, and also the most time intensive. It’s up to the viewer to choose which video in the series to play next after being faced with a game-changing question, like “Do you take the knife or not?” Participating in this form of content doesn’t feel like marketing—it just feels like a game, which makes it all the more likely that it will be shared. Adventure awaits!

As you can see, interactive content does more than just improve your bounce rate by encouraging users to stay on the page. It also increases overall engagement by leading to, at the very least, more social shares. Any way you slice it, interactive content is an essential component of content marketing. Make it a priority.