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Infographics IV: interactive #content is the future

In this series of posts, we have considered traditional, static infographics, and also the use of animation to help bring them to life and stand out more. In these first few posts, we stated that it was now incredibly difficult to make infographics stand out – they need to be extra creative and interesting to attract the eyeballs, drive traffic, and ramp up social shares and engagements.

In this penultimate post, we explore interactive infographics – what they are, how they work, and whether they could be an option to enhance your content marketing strategy outputs and ROI.

Now, let me be clear from the start:

An interactive infographic is NOT a case of simply hyperlinking different components to such things as Twitter handles, landing pages or other URLs.

Infographics-IV-interactive-#content-is-the-future3This extremely interesting infographic has some incredible statistics within it on social media usage, but it claims in its headline to be interactive: “Social Media 2014 Statistics – an interactive Infographic you’ve been waiting for!” It’s got some excellent data in there that really puts the expansion of social media into perspective, yet where is the interaction?

Deliver what you promise

All we could find was the ability to tweet different stats from it. A great idea to boost shares and allow the readers to choose which key finding appealed to them most. This also has the knock-on effect of every tweet being powerful because they are each stand-alone “wow” statistics that make you want to find out more. What’s more, each of the 45+ stats that can be tweeted all point back to the whole infographic. The potential for shareability and interest in this is therefore huge!

The headline is also excellent click-bait and RT-bait – it has the attention grabbing “social media 2014 statistics”, it is highly enthusiastic to pique the interest of anyone interested in social media (“you’ve been waiting for!”), and it also includes the eye-grabbing “interactive”.

Indeed, it has been retweeted nearly 6,000 times and has been shared over 11,000 times across several social media networks since 13th June 2014!

It’s got it all. Except, maybe, true interaction.

So what is an interactive infographic?

Interactive infographics have actually been around for quite a while. Yet they are still hugely underexploited – this is mainly due to time pressures, budgetary considerations, and the need for expertise…particularly the use of HTML5 and JavaScript.

Let’s quickly backtrack to the second post in this series, which was about static infographics. It was clear that too many infographics were being crammed full of stats, trends and supposed insights, making them too confusing to digest…let alone digest them quickly.

Interactive infographics, on the other hand, remove “data-overload” as being a negative for their static counterparts. Instead, they are ideal for including lots and lots of information into one infographic by having layers and sub-layers to allow the readers to navigate through the data at their own pace without being bogged down by the process. Furthermore, it is possible to design them to allow them to navigate through only the data that they want to find out about.

Why your brain craves infographicsA simple introduction to the concept is this example of a relatively interactive infographic. It’s a good one to start with because it has the familiarity of the traditional type, and includes “moving parts” while also advising you how long you looked at it for with a timer you see once you scroll to the bottom. Surprisingly not much time required to digest it all!

The biggest bonus, which this prior basic example doesn’t demonstrate, is how the reader physically interacts with these infographics, and consequently becomes more involved and absorbed in the data. The whole experience is intended to be intuitive, while control of what the readers see and consume lies in the hands of the readers…and not what a brand forces upon them.

Flexibility comes as standard

The flexibility of interactive infographics is also incredibly broad, mainly due to the ability to initially “hide” or hold back huge amounts of data.

They can be scrolling or have multiple pages (which each have interactive elements on them and different aspects of the information being shared).

They can incorporate different sections that become highlighted or reveal more substance (for example via a pop-up window) by hovering the cursor over them.

They can include clickable sections that again reveal more “stuff” via a pop-up, by opening a new page, or by scrolling to the next segment.

They can even be truly interactive by not just displaying a lot of different information in a clear way, but by allowing readers to input their own data (such as salaries or house prices) to change the overall aggregated data in real-time.

Universal Energy

Some pretty smart guys at Infographic World created this fantastic interactive infographic for the Discovery Channel. It has layers of user-prompted information and click-to-start animations on different pages to take you through an incredible, engaging and intuitive journey. Universal Energy is highly complex, but this distils it for the uninitiated…even us folks at Comms Axis! 😀 What’s more, they even created it as a traditional, static infographic that, although has a lot of written content within it, is also really well designed.

Push the boat out

Perhaps you have completed some comprehensive industry research and / or white paper? Then you should consider putting the pinnacle of this new breed of infographics at the heart of your content marketing strategy – you could drive all traffic to an interactive website infographic.

This would be perfect for publishing all levels, layers and insights in one place. It would do more than simply do your research justice. It would promote your brand as innovative and creative, drive traffic to your site, educate your audience, increase dwell time on your site, encourage social shares, and spark engagements with your brand. All this goes towards building trust, reputation and customers.

In fact, all those early benefits of infographics that were taken for granted would return in spades and be massively enhanced to help accelerate your brand’s positioning as the trusted source of your research topic or industry.

This approach can turn even the driest subject matter into something interesting that can also make the audience change behaviours. As this brilliant and impactful example by Good.is proves.

Conclusion

Having people willingly spending more time with your brand, and enjoying the experience while doing so, can only be a good thing. In doing so, as we have just highlighted, they will be far more likely to share their positive experience with your brand, to share your infographic, and to prompt engagement and discussion about it, as well as drive a lot more traffic to your site.

However, it is costly, requires planning, and cannot be done without specialist resources. More tools are coming along all the time to help make this process easier, but these are still very much in their infancy.

Yet the reality is that they are increasingly being used by those in the broadcasting industry (such as the Discovery Channel, as per the earlier example) and also by large news organisations that are finding unique ways to explain complex news stories. They are also perfect for your once-a-year industry trends research or new product launch. But they require a more significant budget as a result.

However, due to the time, cost and expertise involved, they are not yet suitable for all businesses…and certainly not SMEs/SMBs unless you have an awesome designer willing to flex some creative muscles, and also has the time to do so!

Mind you, isn’t that what people said about video marketing just a year or so ago?

We love this style of infographics, but are fully aware that they are a stretch too far for many organisations and brands. Are they something you would try out? Perhaps you have some upcoming trends analysis that you want to launch with a big bang to help generate the exposure it deserves?

As a final thought, please check out this mental dynamic infographic on how Google – the Internet’s biggest company – grows every second that we’re online!  (Please note that the image below is just a still taken from part of the overall infographic.)

google-real-time

 

 

Dan Purvis
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Dan Purvis

Founder & Director at Communications Axis
Dan Purvis is Director at Comms Axis, a digital marketing agency specialising in content, social media & website services for businesses of all sizes. He is also a Media Champion for the Alzheimer's Society, helping spread awareness and understanding of this cruel disease.

Dan Purvis writes for a number of leading business, social media and marketing sites, including Smart Insights, MarketingProfs, Marketo, MarTech Advisor, Marketing Tech News, MarTech Today, MarTech Exec, and Business2Community. Dan's also ranked by Brand Republic as one of the Top 50 UK Marketing & Social Media influencers.

Dan is passionate about the philosophy behind Comms Axis: we bring content, marketing and sales together to connect businesses with their audiences.

We pride ourselves on delivering tangible business value and ROI alongside excellent customer service. We work with a broad range of clients and industries, from B2B to B2C, from technology to cosmetics, from start-ups / SoHos to pan-European and global brands.
Dan Purvis
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5 Comments

  1. Toni Nelson Says:

    With my background in photography and videography I know how important the use of visuals are. The interactive infographic was awesome. I’ll have to put that on my list of things to create:)
    Twitter:

    • Dan Purvis Says:

      Would love to see what you create, Toni! If only I could create something like that myself!! 😀

  2. Parth Says:

    Hey I must say this that info-graphics are the best way to make people understand at social media platforms.

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