BOCA RATON, FL: Three quarters of content marketers plan to increase their use of interactive content in 2016, with even more agreeing that such material is more effective at grabbing users' attention, a new report has said.

Deliver Peak Experiences With Interactive Content, a study from Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the content marketing education and training organization, found that 53% of content marketers were already using interactive content, including assessments, calculators and contests, a figure that rose to 65% at the enterprise level.

Fully 81% agreed that such content was more effective at the critical engagement stage, while a similar proportion (79%) agreed that it enhanced retention of brand messaging when combined with traditional marketing tactics.

But the authors, Tim Walters, CMI Senior Contributing Strategic Analyst, and Robert Rose, CMI Chief Strategy Officer, also noted that engagement is not the leading purpose for deploying interactive content.

"By a large margin, respondents chose educating the audience as the primary purpose (75%), followed by three closely grouped purposes: engagement (59%), lead generation (58%), and creating brand awareness (57%)."

They observed that the web is finally moving from "a static, one-way publishing platform" into "a true two-way dialogue" that enables marketers to gain a deeper insight into what consumers are trying to achieve and how marketers can help.

"It's the difference between watching customers as they stroll through a store and having a conversation with them," they said.

Further, "consumer expectations and demands will soon make interactive content an imperative … increasing exposure to interactive content will excite an appetite among consumers that cannot be satisfied with traditional passive content alone".

That being the case, Rose and Walters suggest that the question companies should be asking themselves is not whether they should use interactive content but how soon they should start.

Data sourced from Content Marketing Institute; additional content by Warc staff