Interactive Advertising: Tapping Into The Senses to Create Immersive Experiences That Sell

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For better or for worse, we are living in a modern matrix. We don’t only interact with the virtual world—it’s part of our very makeup. Recognizing this truth is critical as marketers scratch their heads for new ways to engage audiences. Digitization demands interaction, immersion, and the intertwining of traditional experiences with modern needs. According to Demand Gen, interactive content receives two times the engagement as static content. 

Interactive advertising has emerged as a powerful strategy. Interactive content allows brands to leverage consumer-targeted content to cultivate a relationship between the brand and the customer. From the same Demand Gen report, 62% of B2B marketers are already using interactive content. This approach focuses on long-term strategies that differentiate the brand from competitors and foster long-lasting participation and engagement with prospects. 

You’ve likely already engaged in some sort of interactive content—for example, a hair type quiz to determine which shampoo, conditioner, and ancillary products best suit you. So, if you’ve got curly hair, taking the quiz eliminates the need to scroll through products for straight hair.

This simple example shows how personalizing the marketing experience can make the customer journey easier. 

Interactive experiences create a give-and-take between customers and brands. Users are ushered directly to products that match their identity and their future needs. Brands gain the ability to collect critical data points to convert prospects into customers. 

Interactive advertising options include:

Contest and Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are an effective way to generate leads and build out a more robust audience, or lead list. (Note: the generation of this audience/lead list is core to interactive marketing. With robust marketing automation platforms, marketers can garner data in powerful ways to segment audiences and create workflows that cater to each stage in their buyer’s journey, based on their demographic, actions with marketing collateral, and more. 

With giveaways, prospective and engaged customers alike have the opportunity to gain something from your business—like a free product or service. Additionally, giveaways create exclusivity. When an audience is presented with the opportunity to win a prize, the limited availability creates the perception that it is valuable. And these types of tactics have been proven to work: Wishpond finds that CTAs for contests have a 3.73% higher conversion rate when compared to other CTAs.

One clever strategy that many brands use is to create a contest in, say, January, and funnel the participants into a community until the prize winner is announced a few weeks or months later. These ideal buyers are then guided into a virtual space in which they are actively engaging with the brand. 

The community then becomes an incubator for the audience’s needs, desires, and attitudes. These temperatures and data points are invaluable to marketers and advertisers alike, allowing them to glean insights from customer behaviors and craft campaigns accordingly.

Quizzes, Surveys, and Polls

Not only do quizzes, surveys, and polls get visitors to interact with content on your site, but they also allow you to collect meaningful data. When customers self-identify and provide input as to what is important to them, interactive content can become more personalized and tailored to their individual needs. This creates a delightful experience for the customer because they know that the brand is focused and invested in their unique experience. 

Rather than taking a chance on information that isn’t relevant to customers–like sending a coupon for a product designed for thin, straight hair to a customer with thick curls–interactive marketing and advertising embrace data and analytics to then engage in a deeper relationship with the customer.

Surveys and polls are also extremely valuable. If a brand is deciding on a new logo, or choosing where to open a new brick and mortar location, surveys and polls can be employed to gain valuable information on what customers think. It also shows your buyers that their input matters.

Calculators

In certain industries, like banking or tax preparation, calculators can be an effective form of interactive advertising. Calculators save sales teams time because prospective buyers who use the calculator are indicating both their current and desired state before they even get on a call with a salesperson.

Calculators are often intriguing to customers because they can fill out a series of questions that allow them to evaluate their current scenario in black and white while getting valuable, helpful information. Examples include checking to see if they are eligible for a loan, or filling out a calculator to see how their operational processes compare to other organizations in their industry.

From the brand standpoint, calculators provide your sales team with data points that can help reveal their biggest pain points and areas for opportunity. Ideally, this allows for a shorter sales cycle and more deals closed— a win for both your sales and marketing teams. 

Augmented Reality Shopping

Virtual try-on features have become a permanent feature in the digital landscape. Amazon and other companies have introduced AR features for e-commerce, allowing users to try on clothing and shoes, for example. Realtors, as well as home design and furniture retailers are also embracing augmented reality shopping. 

This monumental step forward in augmented reality enables users to view products in their real-world environments before making the purchase, or seeing it in real life. This can help overcome buyers’ hesitancy about products they’re on the fence about. Likewise, giving customers a way to see your product on themselves or in their home can help avoid returns that are initiated due to a lack of stylistic cohesion or personal preferences

Virtual Storefronts: E-Commerce Turns Into An Experience

Virtual storefronts are one of the major new trends that are allowing customers to interact with their favorite brands in a new way. Virtual storefronts bring the traditional shopping experience into the digital realm. Customers can explore and interact with products in a three-dimensional digital environment that immerses them in a virtual store. 

Look to Obsess, the brand metaverse platform, for a leader in this space. Obsess cites a 43% increase in virtual visits following the addition of virtual avatars for their brand. Additionally, they found a 183% higher checkout likelihood for buyers that created and saved their own personalized avatar in the 3D store. 

According to JP Morgan, direct-to-avatar sales of virtual goods are already a $54 billion market, and last year Gucci sold a digital version of their Dionysus bag for $4,115, which is more than the physical bag costs.

The Gucci example epitomizes the potential of interactive advertising and the willingness of consumers to invest in virtual experiences that transcend the boundaries of traditional marketing. As brands continue to explore the possibilities of digital experiences, the convergence of technology and commerce is catalyzing a new era. 

Interactivity is here to stay

Interactive advertising, from contests and calculators to virtual storefronts, is the epitome of blending technology, personalization, and immersive experiences. The successes seen by Obsess and Gucci, among many others, reveal the transformative power of digital experiences in capturing audiences and driving substantial revenue in the digital sphere. Embracing interactive experiences as a marketing tool can provide your business with deep insights into customer behavior, which in turn can aid in more informed decision-making.Ready to partner with an agency that gets the digital space? Get in touch with Zen Media here.

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