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The Future of Storytelling is Interactive

Natalie Ediger, April 29, 2018· Interactive Content

Storytelling and interaction have belonged to mankind since time immemorial just like the X belongs to the Y. It all began when people were still telling each other stories about the fire – followed by personal exchange and cheering at sports events or in the theatre. But then, with the advent of new media, the whole thing changed in a passive direction. Radio, cinema and television: lean back and enjoy.

And finally, the Internet came and everything turned back to the opposite – to the interactive side. Commenting, likening, sharing – as much and as often as possible. But nowadays we live with a constant abundance of information. The amount of blogs, cat videos, memes and advertising has become unmanageable and we don’t even know where to start anymore. So it needs new reasons, a new impulse, so that we motivate ourselves to deal with certain contents. Let me introduce: interactive storytelling.

And what is it exactly, this interactive storytelling?

Focus on a very specific topic, told from a specific perspective – mixed with multimedia aspects. Interactive storytelling uses the traditional content of storytelling and adds ways for the audience to interact with it – through clicks, quizzes or other playful elements, for example.

Such possibilities are like sand by the sea – from the simplest to the most complex. Here I would like to present some examples of the future – interactive – storytelling:

  • Life Without Bees: The Effects on Food – or how sliders on pictures can motivate you to discover what your favorite food would look like if our busy bees died out.

  • The Dude Map – or how a simple graphic shows you where in the States you are more like a Bro, a Pal or a Fella.

  • The Hybrid Graphic Novel – or how “Scrollytelling” will definitely make you curious about Peugeot’s HYbrid4 technology.

  • Where’s the Beef? – or how to find out with a little quiz from which American city the inhabitants come who share your personal burger taste.

  • Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek – or how a combination of text, images, sound and animation can make you swallow this article about an avalanche.

  • Kick My Habits – or how an interactive info graphic shows you how much money you could save by renouncing one or the other vice.

  • The Evolution of Trust – or how a game of game theory can help you understand suspicion.

  • The Boat – or how an interactive graphic novel about the history of the people who fled by sea during the Vietnam War captivates you.

And why would you dare, this interactive storytelling?

You may think you’re cool after these examples, but why should I put all my effort into it? The answer is simple: a well done interactive story will increase the return of investment of your content. Let’s take a closer look:

If you want to convince, you have to stand out from the crowd

Stories stick better. They make us sympathize and emotions come up – from fear to consternation to euphoria. Interactive stories have an even greater effect – they want to appeal to as many senses as possible and make the emotional journey as unique as possible. As already mentioned, we’re going under in a flood of information – to keep you afloat and get your audience excited, interactive storytelling is just the thing.

Create proximity

Well-done interactive storytelling is thought-provoking, eye-catching and user-friendly. The reader forgets that he is basically consuming a text. He hears sound effects, is visually stimulated and acts himself by scrolling or clicking. The time your audience spends on your website increases – and so does their identification with your brand, product or service. And if your audience likes what they read, hear and see, they have a better chance of sharing it with others – on social media, for example.

Long live your content!

Sure, an interactive storytelling means a slightly higher investment than a simple blogpost. But in the long run it pays off. Interactive stories, especially those in which the result is different each time, depending on how the viewer acts, motivate the viewer to look at the content several times and in detail. This strengthens the connection to your brand and thus the lifetime of the content you deliver.