Immersive Content: What is it and Why Marketers Should Embrace It
The demand for digital experiences is at an all-time high. Of course, that’s partly due to the effect of the lingering pandemic. Still, to savvy marketers, the demand for more creative digital experiences comes from an audience ready to engage with new material, new formats, and experience brand communication in a whole new way. And just like that, immersive content has entered the chat!
One of the guiding lights of immersive content is the team at Ceros, an experiential content creation platform. They’ve put together an industry report to go along with their webinar on Digiday led by Alex Kelly and Ryan Brown. Their seminar explains the ins-and-outs of immersive content, details the risks, the rewards, and, most importantly, how you can incorporate it into your brand in the coming weeks. Their report is one you won’t want to miss for all the nitty-gritty on immersive content and a living example of it itself.
What is Immersive Content?
Immersive content is content that your audience can interact with or experience rather than read passively. This could include polls, quizzes, calculators, animated infographics, and a whole host of other formats.
In addition to their immersive report, Ceros surveyed several publishers and content creation teams and found that:
“90% of content designed to create an experience performs better.”
The appreciation and desire for this type of content is coming from all sides, spanning from consumers to creators.
And yet, the survey respondents reported that their output of such content hovers only around 33% when they’d like to offer 48% immersive content.
We know consumers want it, and marketers want to produce it, so—
Where is all the Immersive Content?
Desire doesn’t always manifest in immediate action. For brands that are primarily used to producing content that is not immersive, incorporating this new style can strain resources and teams. Not to mention the risks that can come with wading into unfamiliar waters hoping your new branded assets can float. Ceros and their survey participants identified the top 3 obstacles they face when trying to create immersive content:
Lacking the skills in-house—36%
Getting leadership buy-in—23%
5 Key Ingredients to Make Immersive Content
Kelly and Brown have outlined some building blocks that will bring your content to its fullest fruition and best form.
- Narrative: a strong underlying copy, script and any other story components
- Visuals: these will be the framework of the story, along with graphics and any other visual design components
- Interactions: features that respond to customer interaction
- Integrations: 3rd party tools to bolster the experience, whether that is chat services, maps or other services
- Immersive elements: dynamic layers that add depth to the visual content, such as triggered animations
Where to start?
Plastering immersive content across a brand’s platforms could be a massive undertaking for some brands, and of course, not every piece of branded asset needs to be immersive. Making a start where this type of content would best fit your brand is usually the best place to pick up. Ceros suggests you start by thinking of your customer’s journey and all the brand touchpoints in their purchase cycle. No doubt, your customers will be taking in some sort of content from your brand or service, whether it’s a blog post, social media post, an email, or interaction on your website— and these are all opportunities for immersive content. Ceros suggests choosing one instance where your team feels that your brand’s new content can shine the brightest and reach the most people and then expand where and when you feel prepared!
For teams unfamiliar with creating immersive content, the prospect of the creative process can seem daunting. Luckily, it’s not that different from creating other content, but the ever-so-helpful folks at Ceros have some suggestions:
– Write a brief that establishes the purpose and goals of the content. Ensure all stakeholders agree with the story and the target audience for whom this will be developed.
– Collaboratively create the story. From designers to copywriters, every department should create the story and the format based on the brief. Immersive content is best when created through collaboration so get every team member in on it you can!
– Analyze the performance. Of course, this isn’t specific to immersive content, but it’s equally important in this case as well. Understanding how your customers interact with the content and how far they got through the experience will give you invaluable information to carry into your following content. That information will also allow you to better steer the current content with a few simple edits.
What does this mean for digital display and banner ads?
Immersive content can be done across many consumer touchpoints, but what of our favourite sector, digital display? Aside from introducing interactive elements to your digital banners, which can be a big ask of your stakeholders and may or may not be feasible with your media plan, some takeaways from immersive content can still apply to your digital display. In any branded asset, be it a PDF or a banner ad, creativity should always be at the forefront of the creation process. Assets with a strategic, well-thought-out, and executed design will always give an advantage in the marketplace. By explicitly choosing which ingredients to pick from Kelly and Brown’s list above, any branded asset can have the proper foundation for consumer engagement. This doesn’t always mean a click in banner ads because even with little clicks, consumer engagement is still authentic and present! Most importantly, including your team and shareholders in a collaborative asset creation process will be the step that always gets your brand and its assets incredible results.