In 2019, people distrusted advertising more than ever – especially Gen Xers and the millennials. You can see this in the rise of ad blockers – now making up 30% of all internet users globally and climbing--and scary stats like the fact that 84% of millennials don't like traditional marketing. To combat these rising trends, marketers will need to be more creative, innovative, and transparent in how they engage their target audiences. To accomplish this in 2020, interactive marketing will be crucial.
Consumers have had good reason to distrust companies with their data. The recent Cambridge Analytica scandal has made users everywhere think twice before sending their private information to third-party sources. And a new Facebook data leak shows that big tech still can't be trusted.
This brings us to interactive marketing in 2020. Marketers have always loved the concept – easy-to-create quizzes, listicles, polls, and more can turn passive visitors into active participants. But interactive marketing campaigns will only work if they can get users to choose to participate in them. Transparency is crucial; companies will need to be upfront about how they will use any data collected.
Here are a few things to expect in the world of online quizzes and interactive marketing in 2020.
1. More content flexibility
Interactive marketing isn't new, but it's always evolving. In 2020, expect marketers to go beyond the standard one-off quiz or personality test and lead form combination. Instead, quiz makers will continue to deliver a greater range of formats and experiences for marketers to encourage repeat engagement and visits.
New quiz types will automate interactive content creation. Rather than creating a "one and done" quiz, marketers can just upload questions by spreadsheet and pick the refresh time. Their quizzes work as evergreen content, refreshing to show visitors new questions every hour, day, or week. One simple quiz equals constant engagement.
Retention mechanics will feature strongly in 2020 as well. Savvy marketers know that successful marketing is based on growing relationships – and this requires more than a single visit. Content teams will experiment combining auto-refreshing content with video game tools like leaderboards. The goal is to turn each experience into an interactive social competition keeping users coming back for more.
2. More customization
Every campaign is unique, and marketers need to rapidly create bespoke content that will deliver the results they need. Quiz, poll, and other formats will move beyond the current one-size-fits-all approach and into new avenues that allow for more customization, allowing marketing teams to create a mix-and-match recipe to ensure that everything fits the needs of their customers.
For example, imagine wanting to create a standard three minute, eight-question quiz to qualify leads. Beyond sticking to a strict quiz or poll, marketers will be to mix and match within the quiz itself. Questions one and two might be single or multiple-choice, three and four could be polls, and five to eight can be Tinder-style swipe questions. The result is that these more engaging experiences keep visitors happily tapping away until the end.
3. More power for product recommendations
Online marketing quizzes have always been good at suggesting products based on each quiz taker's answers. The best quizzes feature six to ten questions, which give marketers that many data points to refine and suggest the perfect products. But there are many more useful and flexible ways to craft the quiz and post-quiz experience.
After the quiz is completed, instead of just showing their results, you can send each user to their personalized shopping cart. For example, imagine a customer takes a quiz to help choose their ideal headphones. A quality post-quiz experience will take them directly to a shopping page for the noise-canceling headphones they need for their open-plan office. By seamlessly taking them to the checkout, they're far more likely to make a purchase.
That's just one way that interactive marketing will win for marketers in 2020. Better yet, customized product recommendations matched with tighter integration into e-commerce systems will result in better conversions and deliver on the bottom line.
4. More efficient to create
It's been breathtaking to see how fast online marketing tools have developed over the past ten years. Interactive marketing is no different: It has become exponentially easier to create and manage quizzes and other content – and this is only going to accelerate in 2020.
Think back to YouTube: Before it arrived on the scene, video content was expensive to create, edit, and publish. Now, these tools have shifted down the skills pyramid from formerly requiring dedicated experts to now, where any online-savvy marketers can create their own quiz.
Marketing teams will continue the trend of bringing interactive content in-house. In the past, it would have taken six to eight weeks for an agency to be hired, briefed, and then ready to deliver relatively straightforward custom content for a campaign.
In 2020, this will change. Smart teams will increasingly create and roll out their own interactive content, from personality tests and quizzes to listicles or polls. They'll start because of the cost savings, paying a few modest monthly subscriptions for tools versus a stream of custom proposals. But they'll stay when they see the speed and scalability. Content will be faster, easier, and more effective. Even better, all these skills will stay in-house.
Agencies will still have a role of course, but they'll be brought in only for high budget, high profile campaigns, not for this type of easily created content.
5. More data capture
It's becoming ever-more difficult for marketers to collect data from potential customers. The EU kicked things off with its sweeping General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May, 2018, while California – the fifth largest economy in the world – launched its California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) on January 1, 2020.
Big laws, big regulation, and big fines for non-compliance means that it will be increasingly difficult for marketing campaigns to have the same effect as in years past. Traditional online advertising like banner ads relies on using cookies and other tricks to covertly track behavior across the web. Sure, there's the "manage privacy" option displayed on the first visit to a site, but how many people really take the time to opt-in or out?
Interactive content, on the other hand, will continue to thrive because it offers both a compelling and transparent way to convince customers to provide their data. Interactive content transparently integrates data collection – compare that with traditional advertising's behind the scenes approach. Most quality software providers include an explicit lead generation step before their results where a site visitor can explicitly choose to complete with their name, email, and other relevant information. It's up to the companies to provide a compelling reason to persuade each customer it's worth it.
For example, if someone starts a quiz on a career consultant website, they might answer 10 to 15 questions about their ideal job. But before seeing their job recommendations, they can choose to give their name and email in return for a free 15-minute Skype session with an advisor, who can use craft a custom session around each person's needs. This sort of clear offer can pay off with up to 40% opt-in rates from interested leads.
The big takeaways for interactive marketing in 2020
2020 kicks off a new decade full of new challenges and opportunities for marketers. Traditional online tactics simply don't work in the face of the rising distrust of advertising and global data protection concerns like the EU's GDPR.
Instead, expect to see marketers turn to a new, more transparent approach. They will encourage their audience to voluntarily engage and opt-in with their data through the customization, lead generation, and production recommendation power of interactive content tools. Engagement and transparency through interactive content is the new marketing playbook for 2020.