Interactive content is any content users can manually interact with and change. Calculators, generators, quizzes and tools are all examples of interactive content that will change as you input or update values for the end user.
This content is extra valuable because it gets users engaged with your brand, and that’s much harder to do with plain text. Once you have consumers moving around your website and using it, you’re that much closer to them making a purchase.
At Siege, we create dozens of interactive content assets for our clients each year. The value of those assets amount to over $90,000,000 in yearly traffic value.
In this post, we’ll share when you should create interactive content (and when you shouldn’t), best practices for creation and 12 high quality examples to inspire your next project.
Who Needs Interactive Content?
You need interactivity if your content requires it. You don’t need to add interactivity if your content doesn’t.
The risk to avoid with interactive assets is adding it for the sake of adding it. That leads you down a path of expensive, inefficient content that sparkles, but doesn’t actually have value for the end user.
Interactivity should be an element you end up knowing you need. Are your users going to need to do complex calculations? A calculator would add value. Is it unclear what the best option is for them in a complex decision tree? A quiz could be helpful.
You also want to tie interactives to existing demand, ideally in the form of search volume.
The only thing worse than interactivity for the sake of it is interactivity tied to something people don’t want.
If you’re using keyword research tools such as Ahrefs or Semrush to determine people clearly want something interactive, you not only confirm that reality, but you also set yourself up for the return on investment required by interactive content.
Otherwise, you’re making a guess that you can get it in front of enough people to make it worthwhile. This is still possible, it just adds further risk to the sometimes-costly equation.
Interactive Content Benefits
Interactive content isn’t for everyone. As mentioned above, it can take a long time and be expensive to create. However, just like creating any great content, it has significant upsides.
Here are a few:
- Interactives are often high converting. Once users start engaging, it’s much easier to get them to take the action you want. This is often described as the “Yes Set” technique.
- Interactives generate a high number of passive links. Even if they don’t convert a high number of users, they’re magnets for link building and can almost single-handedly power your link acquisition strategy. For example, we can see all the links NerdWallet generates to their calculators below.
- Interactives have a competitive barrier to entry. It’s not that hard for someone to get a writer on Upwork to create content for their WordPress blog. It is significantly harder to build a calculator with good UX. This can differentiate you from competitors in a way that’s difficult to replicate, should you be willing to make that jump.
12 Interactive Content Examples
The following 12 examples show the gamut of ways interactive content, one of the most creative content types, can add value to your website. From calculators to quizzes to generators, there’s something for everybody.
Each of these assets were created by the Siege team for our great clients.
1. How Much Rent Can I Afford?
This asset cleverly gives users a recommended rent based on their income, while also suggesting apartments that fit that criteria from the Apartment Guide database. This undoubtedly leads to direct conversions and not just the original answer users were searching for.
View the rent affordability calculator here.
2. Monthly Grocery Budget Calculator
Mint’s grocery budget calculator takes your diet preferences and family size and immediately recommends a total budget. This ties in neatly to Mint’s personal finance product. This asset has more than 350 total links at the time of this writing.
View the food budget calculator here.
3. Startup Statistics
This piece by Embroker aimed to become the go-to asset for “must-know” startup statics — and achieved it. By offering the ability to jump to the stats that most interest you and also copy or share the stat immediately, it adds value without being superfluous interactivity. This piece has over 1,000 links.
View the startup interactive here.
4. Wedding Hashtag Generator
Sometimes interactives can be useful for quickly “generating” ideas. This is just one such example, giving the wedding planner quick ideas for their social media hashtag.
View the hashtag generator here.
5. Unicorn Startups
A common but simple benefit of an interactive is filtering a large number of results. In this piece with a large list of startups who have achieved “unicorn” status, Embroker made it easy to drill down by industry, valuation, country of origin and more.
View the list of startups here.
6. Cap Rate Calculator
This piece is a perfect example of how a complex calculation is made easier by a calculator. When landlords want to compare the expected ROI of their property to others, this tool makes the process plug and play.
View the cap rate tool here.
7. How Much Car Can I Afford?
The “progression” quiz is a great way to keep users hooked if you know they need to answer several questions to get to the finish line. Users don’t like filling out intimidating long forms, so by following this structure The Zebra built an elegant solution more likely to get people to the end of the quiz.
View the car affordability calculator here.
8. Cost of Living Calculator
Difficult decisions don’t have to mean complex calculators. In this asset by Mint, you provide your two locations and immediately get an estimated difference in needed income in order to thrive in that area.
View the cost of living tool here.
9. What Color Should I Dye My Hair?
Some search terms posed as a question are perfect solutions for interactive quizzes. In this quiz, you are shown a progression bar to immediately get a sense that your ideal hair color is right around the color.
View the color dye quiz here.
10. Baby Name Generator
Picking a baby name can be challenging and it often helps to see ideas to narrow down your search. This is where the inspiration a generator offers adds value, just like this piece did for Shutterfly.
View the baby name generator here.
11. Nursing Shortage Map
Interactivity doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to be functional. This resource on the current nursing shortage allows users to easily see the current shortage in their state by interacting with the map. This piece went viral, generating over 500 links.
View the nursing shortage map here.
12. Blog Name Generator
Great generators provide a creative spark. This tool by WebsiteSetup helps generate some of that inspiration through creative blog names.
View the blog name generator here.
Interactive Content Best Practices
We touched on the recommendation that interactive content should be tied to search in order to maximize ROI and also confirm that it’s a problem users have.
In addition to that, the following are some common best practices to also consider:
- Aim for low time to value. A great interactive should be a pleasure to use, but the best ones actually minimize the actual time you need to use them. You can make this happen by pre-filling inputs based on location or common responses, not requiring extra steps to see results, and also placing the calculator above the fold.
- Consider how you can re-use the codebase. In some instances, you may be able to reuse the codebase for interactives you create. This makes the justification of creating them a lot easier as your future content creation costs will be significantly less than the first.
- Consider how you can lower maintenance time. Some interactive tools will break with small tweaks to your code. You ideally have developers who think this through in advance, but it’s realistic that most interactive tools will require maintenance to stay up and running, and stay useful over time.
- Heavily test on mobile devices. Interactive tools are where the desktop to mobile connection is most likely to break. Test on every browser and every mobile device possible to confirm you are truly delivering on a great user experience.
All in all, interactive content is worth an immediate investment, especially if you identify consumer problems that require interactivity to solve them.
Building this content requires great UX design, front end development resources and marketing strategy to put it all together. It’s not simple, but that’s why it’s worth it.
If you don’t have all of that in house, get in touch about our content creation services today.