Audiences today don't just want their content to be personalized -- they expect it to be.

In fact, according to a report from SmarterHQ, 72 percent of all consumers will only engage with your marketing message if it is personalized to them. 

But for marketers with limited time and tight budgets, implementing personalization strategies is a daunting task. It can seem technically challenging or even practically unattainable. The good news is, if you deploy visual interactive content in a strategic way, it can be not only possible but profitable. 

Marketers have already witnessed just how effective interactive content can be. In a report from the Content Marketing Institute and Ion Interactive, 87 percent of marketers said that interactive content was better at grabbing audiences' attention than static content. Another 87 percent said it had helped them achieve their marketing goals, and three in four were planning to use more of it. The investment, it seems, is paying off in spades. 

Let's take a look at four types of interactive content that can yield huge engagement and returns. 

Interactive Infographics 

Infographics have always been a great tool for engaging your audience. But incorporating animation, hyperlinks, and clickable components can bring them to life. 

Imagine an infographic with an animated map that you can explore by clicking, or that reveals the answer to key questions as you scroll. With this type of visual content, the audience is actively engaging the whole time, in new and unexpected ways, and this keeps them fully invested in the co-creation of the story you're trying to tell. 

Microsites 

Interactive microsites act in much the same way. They're landing pages, often for particular campaigns, that live as separate entities from your overall brand and usually have their own visual language. Microsites are ideal for telling a particular story in a way that feels more complete than a set of social media posts or even a short video -- though they can certainly include video, social-media embeds, and a slew of other visual elements!

Interactive Timelines 

Another great way of telling a story is to use an interactive timeline. 

You might want to share the history of your business, of a particular product line, or of a topic related to your industry. Whatever the story is, an interactive timeline allows you to include not only static images and assets, but video, animations, source links, and more. 

Clickable Maps 

Key to personalizing any content is ensuring that your audience can quickly find the information that's relevant to them, and ignore what's not relevant. And that's the power of interactive maps. 

Say you want to share data on renewable-energy usage in all 50 states. If one viewer lives in Washington State, don't make her scroll all the way to the bottom of a single infographic with every state alphabetized, just to find the data she's most interested in seeing. A map where she can click and see a quick popup of all the data on any state is more useful for her (and every other user), and personalizes the message to her experience and interest. 

Widgets and Calculators 

If you've gone shopping for a home or submitted your taxes online in the last decade, you've probably interacted with an interactive widget or calculator. Some are designed to help you determine what type of loan you qualify for, while others help you identify the best tax deductions for you. 

What unites each of these experiences is that, when you input information, you get a result that is unique to you. As a consumer, this personalization makes you feel more confident that you're taking the right approach. 

So as a brand, consider offering a widget that helps your customers choose which of your products is best for them, or calculate what their monthly payments will be. These tools can help your customers rest assured that working with your company is the right decision. 

Interactive Quizzes 

Quizzes work in a similar way, but generally are designed to help consumers learn something new -- and, often, highly personal -- about themselves. Buzzfeed has made a whole industry out of these types of quizzes. 

There's no limit to how brands can incorporate interactive quizzes into their marketing efforts. Just make sure you set clear goals, and set a call-to-action at the end that can help you achieve your goals. 

There's no limit to the potential of interactive content in general, and these are just a few of your options. But with so many marketers seeing big returns, it may be time to make interactive content a part of your marketing strategy.

Published on: Jul 1, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.