11 interactive tools to inspire your 2018 marketing campaigns

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An interactive tool could help your 2018 marketing campaign stand out

Did you know that people remember 80% of what they see and do, but only 20% of what they read?

Here we share some of our favourite interactive tools in a bid to inspire your 2018 marketing campaigns.

1. Google’s Consumer Barometer

It seems only right that we should start by looking at how one of the biggest global brands utilises the power of interactive to engage users.

Designed to help you understand how people use the internet across the world, the Consumer Barometer was created as a mass survey to study how we are using computers, tablets and smartphones.

“Data inspires us to see what questions we need to ask.” - Google

The vast volume of statistics and data that were uncovered by Google’s questionnaires in this collaboration could realistically only be displayed in the form of an interactive, customisable and explorative tool.

Having a play with this extensive site will see you uncover technology trends, the dramatic tech-use changes in recent history, and gain insight into what the future holds for the internet. Its graph builder allows you to create a custom analysis, whilst the audience stories allow you to delve deeper into the internet’s role in key audience segments.

The wealth of information they have gathered surrounding how we use the internet provides insight that can benefit almost any business.

2. How music evolved: The Billboard’s Top 100 1958 - 2016

‘Visual Essays’ website, The Pudding, has visualised data from the Billboard’s Top 100 over nearly six decades to create this time-lapse animation showing the top five songs each week. Best of all, it plays audio clips from the number ones, giving the user a real feel for culture at the time.

Not as interactive as some, but we could watch and listen to this amazing animation for hours. It does, however, let you skip to a year and month of your choosing, and you can pause/play the animation.

Music lovers should check out more in The Pudding’s series, such as its Words That Are 'Most Hip Hop'. This clever tool calculated and ranked words that are central to artists’ vocabularies. It features 308 hip hop artists grouped by their lyrical similarity. It’s racked up over 3,600 Facebook engagements.

3. If you printed all the instagram pictures uploaded in a year

Photo printing company Cewe Photoworld began questioning, “If we printed all the Instagram photos uploaded in a year, how far would they reach?” The results were so mind-blowing that it created a funky interactive infographic.

Did you know for example, that every 37 minutes the height of photos uploaded to Instagram would reach the Empire State Building if printed.

The success of this interactive infographic meant that Cewe Photoworld went on to create its 'How Big is Snapchat' tool. Scroll down the page and the growing bubbles show a side-by-side comparison of Snapchat’s popularity against other social platforms.

4. The daily routines of famous creative people

Discover how some of the world’s most original writers, musicians and artists structured their day. Gain insights into their routines - discover what time of day they were at their most creative, who couldn’t function without their morning coffee, and who would lay awake problem solving until the early hours.

The filtering tool allows you to turn different categories on and off and hovering over the coloured bars will give you more detailed information about their activity. We’ve learnt that Charles Dickens liked to work in absolute silence, and that Beethoven would obsess over having 60 beans per cup of coffee.

We are clearly a nosey nation, as the engagement rates for this insightful piece are huge. The tool went viral, earning thousands of backlinks and over 23,000 social shares across Facebook and LinkedIn alone.

5. The Wall Street Journal’s Blue Feed, Red Feed

Interactive infographics and tools are not just reserved for stat-heavy or creative industries. International daily newspaper, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), has created a tool to show how key news topics are delivered, shared and received by Liberals and Conservatives on Facebook.

These side-by-side comparisons "aren't intended to resemble actual individual news feeds. Instead, they are rare side-by-side looks at real conversations from different perspectives.” - The WSJ

The topics covered are mostly controversial ones where strong views are likely on both sides including Trump, budgets, guns and health care. In true news style, this tool has become an extensive talking point, gaining thousands of backlinks and gaining coverage from ‘granddaddy of periodicals’, The Atlantic, as well as being featured on Harvard University blogs.

The tool is updated hourly and allows The WSJ to share opinions on news stories ongoing. It has arguably been one of the most compelling uses of visual data in recent years.

6. Mapping historical photos of New York City

From New York’s daily news to Old NYC - this site provides an alternative way of browsing the New York Public Library’s incredible photo collection.

Displayed as an interactive map the tool’s goal is “to help you discover the history behind the place you see every day.” The images have been collated from the NYPL’s Milstein Collection and span one hundred years from 1870-1970. You can explore the map by zooming in and out and dragging to a specific location, and can use the timeline sliders in the top left to search a specific time span.

“The creators of this site associated latitudes and longitudes to the images in the Milstein collection. This process is known as geocoding. Doing this allows the images to be placed at points on a map, which enables new ways of exploring this collection.”

This incredible interactive map has over a thousand backlinks and has gained 1,400 likes on Facebook. It is undoubtably a favourite amongst history buffs.

7. International flavours of coffee

Despite being known as a nation of tea drinkers, Brits drink approximately 55m cups of coffee per day.

As part of this year’s International Coffee Day (29 September - 1 October), commercial coffee machine suppliers, Freshground, created an interactive tool to help us with getting our coffee fix abroad.

This tool is ideal for intrepid explorers and coffee obsessives alike. Explore the global map to discover coffee facts from around the world, learn about interesting traditional pairings, and best of all, reveal how to order coffee in local languages.

The tool features audio from native speakers as well as phonetic pronunciations, making learning to order like a local simple and fun.

8. National Geographic’s American Genius

As part of National Geographic’s American Genius eight part mini-series, it created interactive timelines which play some of history’s greatest minds off against each other.

“Behind every great genius was a great rival - an unstoppable adversary whose incredible vision, determination and ambition is their match.” - National Geographic.

See Wernher von Braun vs. Sergei Krolev in the space race, or take a look at our personal favourite - Master of the Mac Steve Jobs up against Wizard of Windows Bill Gates.

Clocking up nearly 18,000 Facebook shares, the tool was a fantastic marketing mechanism raising awareness for the mini-series.

9. The Refugee Project

The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) works with 35m people displaced from 126 countries. While this is a phenomenal accomplishment, it is an on-going project and the organisation has struggled to find meaningful ways to communicate and visualise its data and tell the stories behind the numbers. A challenge many charities, causes and organisations can relate to.

Faced with these challenges, Hyperakt, a social impact design agency, took on the challenge and created a compelling narrative using the forty years of collated refugee data. The tool it designed is a world map which illuminates where and when refugees migrate and gives insight into the complex stories of political, social and economic turmoil behind each displacement.

The success of this tool meant it was selected for the London Design Museum’s Designs of the Year Exhibition in 2015. It was published across the globe in Le Monde, El Pais, Corriere della Sera, Design Boom, Domus and The Atlantic, who called it “an example of how graphic designers are turning their attention to framing data that stimulates action.”

The Refugee Project has gained massive exposure thanks to this engaging tool, with over 5m page views since launching in January 2014. The tool has been shared on Twitter to millions of viewers by global humanitarian organizations like UNHCR, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam International, UN Global Pulse and Amnesty International.

Another of Hyperakt’s interactive achievements is its work for the Ford Foundation with its tool, Inequality Is, which not only highlights its key messages, but brings its users to the forefront of the entire experience.

10. An interactive guide to nutrition and the human body

Good Magazine has created what it is calling a ‘Vitamin Atlas’, which is essentially an interactive tool designed to help us understand the complex interactions which keep us healthy.

It created this playful and personalisable infographic as part of The Good Wellness Project - a collaboration with Walgreens and Vitamin Angels in support of the #100MillionReasons initiative to bring micronutrients to 100m malnourished children across the globe by 2017.

As well as general health information on vitamins and their benefits, the engaging tool features a cool vitamin calculator where you can see how your daily diet compares to your vitamin needs.

11. Every active satellite orbiting Earth

An oldy, but a goody. This mesmerising tool is another one we could explore for hours.

There were more than 1,300 active satellites at the time of making this tool in 2014 - 2015, and probably even more now. Quartz have bought you a visual display of them all, thanks to a database compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

These satellites are orbiting Earth taking pictures, broadcasting communication and navigation data. The tool allows you to view the satellites categorised by their country, purpose, age, primary user or launch vehicle. Make your selection, then press the spacebar and watch them ‘fly’. Scroll down to view those distant from Earth and hover to find out their stats and useful info.

Key takeaways

An interactive tool should set out to achieve the four following things:

  • Position you as a thought leader in your industry
  • Have an angle or show your audience something new
  • Be fun, engaging and shareable
  • Fulfil a ‘want’ of your customers’

To get to this end point consider the following: what are your customers looking to learn more about? How can you be the go-to knowledge source in your industry? Does making an interactive tool present your data or statistics in a better or easier to digest way than a standard infographic?

Interactive tools offer valuable information in an easy-to-understand format, making them appealing from a logical and practical perspective. Above all they should show your audience something new and teach them something they didn’t know before. They offer creative freedom which can put your brand in a good light, and are easily shareable and memorable too, in turn improving your overall visibility.

Katy Crouch is search marketing executive at Selesti.

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