Interactive content is fast supplanting the static infographic that enjoyed its boom in the early 2010s. Today, a content marketer whose aim is to generate leads, clicks and engagement, the way forward is the use of emotionally targeted, interactive media. People react favourably to fun content that ties into their ego, experiences and curiosity. Let’s face it; we all prefer being part of an activity rather than sitting unengaged on the sidelines.
Content marketers use interactive content as a growth hacking technique to activate an audience by enhancing their company’s profile, brand and engagement. It boosts the relationship between a company and its audience; leading to trust and sales. This is the driving force behind interactive infographics and how they result in improved click rates on content, completion rates and lead conversion.
Essentials of an interactive infographic
1) What should we look for in an interactive infographic? Undoubtedly the main aspect that gets overlooked is the most obvious: can your audience see it? The content must be responsive – it has to be viewable on mobile devices – and it also has to work cross-platform. So the use of HTML5 (not Flash) and viewports is essential; there is a depressingly large portfolio of otherwise excellent interactive content online that fails to work on tablets and smartphones – a big no-no with our on-the-move culture.
2) It has to have emotional resonance with the audience
3) The audience must be able to participate and share on social media.
4) There should be an obvious call-to-action present throughout whether it’s just to share it, sign up to a mailing list or to go through to a page where goods or services are being sold.
Here are five of the best interactive infographics.
1) The Evolution of the Modern Office
Tagline: Office technology has significantly changed since the 1950s. We asked people to share their experiences of the changing workplace and the technologies that made this happen.
How it works: You choose a decade from the 1950s to the present. The interactive infographic then displays a differently decorated office, set of office equipment and an appropriately dressed hipster behind the desk. Clicking on a device brings up a modal box complete with reminiscences of those who used them. The option to share on Twitter is cleverly connected to a live Twitter feed so you can see other people’s opinions occurring in real-time.
Plus points: All the content appears above the fold. Navigation is obvious and works on all devices. It looks good and draws you in to see which devices you remember and to share other people’s memories. By adding other’s real experiences into the content is a nice touch that helps put a human dimension to the technology.
Downsides: It’s a shame that the Twitter feed wasn’t set up just to feature relevant posts. The piece is now around a year old and the feed is showing non-related content. A call-to-action other than sharing memories could have been included.
2) Your Life on Earth
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Tagline: Our planet has been around for 4.5 billion years. But how has it changed in your lifetime?
How it works: Simply entering a few of your details such as date of birth and optional statistics such as gender and height and this interactive populates with information including how many times your heart will have beaten since birth and a comparison with that of a blue whale and hummingbird. You will also see what your age would be on every planet of the solar system. There are many fascinating – and sometimes upsetting – statistics about what we’ve done to the environment and ecology during your own lifetime.
Plus points: Great design, user-friendly and informative. It brings you directly into the action. There are plenty of opportunities to share individual portions of content. The modular layout is ideally suited for responsiveness.
Downsides: There is no call-to-action. A piece like this would be ideal as a lead-in to a subscription email page or to sign up for BBC’s Nature magazine.
3) Common Mythconceptions
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Tagline: World’s most contagious falsehoods
How it works: This interactive doesn’t bring the reader into the narrative but rather presents an intriguing and engaging set of popularly held – but false – beliefs that can’t help but draw you in. The size of the coloured circle represents each misconception’s number of Google hits. The coloured tabs act as the navigation and brings up that category’s falsehoods to the top.
Plus points: The simple layout is ideal for an interactive infographic that is primarily text-based. A lot of information is presented in a small area while not appearing clunky. The responsive design holds out well for smartphones. As well as countering the claims each one links to a page with more information (although these are offsite.)
Downsides: The navigation can be flaky; resetting is needed too regularly for this to be a smooth experience.
4) The Museum of Mario
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Tagline: An interactive experience exploring the many eras of Mario. Turn on the audio and click around to find hidden interactions!
How it works: Mario has been delighting gaming fans for decades now and this interactive infographic catalogues each of his many iterations. It is primarily a scroll-based piece although there are some fun elements to click on and a clever use of code to give the ripple effect on the picture frame. This interactive infographic makes use of the Mario music and sound effects through the ages too.
Plus points: Good use of music and sound effects really liven this up as the audio stage is so intrinsic to the enjoyment and nostalgia of the games. The presence of a handy toggle is useful especially if viewing in an office environment (after all, not everybody will appreciate his catchy jingles!)
Downsides: When it comes to being responsive the design changes, rather than just re-sizing or re-adjusting the content. This means that the best experience is found on larger devices but with this kind of piece that isn’t too surprising.
5) Decisions that matter
Tagline: An interactive experience
How it works: You play the part of one of Natalie’s friends in college and follow her about as she is hit upon by some lowlifes. It is up to you how much involvement you play in defending her and you see the consequences of your action or inaction. At the end of each path the protagonists turn out to be people (played by actors) who deliver statements to camera.
Plus points: The emotional impact from the actors really hits you. Obviously this piece has been designed for college students although the message of respect is universal. This is definitely the Most emotionally charged piece here. It looks good in landscape mode on your smartphone too. Interactive graphic novels are set to be the latest thing in 2017 and as such this is ahead of the game.
Downsides: Its tagline is definitely the main letdown. The title screen gives nothing away about what the reader is about to see. The interactive comic suffers from pace issues and the inability to go back to change one of your choices. It could be argued that it makes it truer to real-life as you can’t revisit your choices there either but that’s another discussion! There is also the aspect of your character’s choices influencing what happens – it comes across as being a little patronising. ‘Decisions that matter’ can crash on some mobile devices.
Final thoughts on interactive infographics
According to a survey carried out the by Content Marketing Institute in 2016, the use of interactive content among content marketers is set to increase by 75%: a change that is set to continue into 2017. Kevin Cain of OpenView says “We live in an age where we are all being bombarded with more content than we can possibly consume. As a result, if you want your content to stand out and have an impact, you have got to find ways to make it as engaging and interactive as possible. Content that you simply read is forgotten or, worse, completely overlooked.”
Using interactive infographics to their best potential gives the clever content marketer targeted access to people’s opinions, demographics, contact details and a level of social engagement not found with flat infographic content.