What makes for engaging content?

AOL — yes, that AOL — looked at over 55,000 customer interactions with online content to try to understand what makes people engage with different kinds of content. The study identified eight distinct content moments:

  • inspire
  • be in the know
  • find
  • connect
  • comfort
  • feel good
  • entertain
  • update socially

Digging into what makes for engaging content. 

Not all content is created equal, and not every piece of content will engage your audience. So what works best for which audience?

In addition to categorizing different content moments, AOL went a couple of steps further. And this is where the data get interesting.

The study looked at what types of content customers interact most with for each content moment — as well as what kinds of content moments different businesses should be focused on. If you’re a car company, for example, is your goal really to connect with your audience or entertain them? (I don’t think so.)

For example, the best way to comfort customers appears to be with blog posts and video. Here’s a snapshot:

Engaging Content: Comfort

If you’re trying to help customers find information, on the other hand, the top content types are product / service pages, quick online information, and listicles. (Plus, as the chart illustrates, there’s not a lot of online gaming content around finding information.)

Engaging Content: Find

Understand what your customers want.

Health and wellness, an industry with which I’m pretty familiar, is one of the sectors covered in the research. The data reveal that 43 percent of customers fall into the “find” category. Not surprisingly, they’re looking for information. The data also shows that 10 percent are looking for “comfort.” If you’re in this sector, do you have any content that achieves this?

Dig into the data for yourself. Whether you’re in fashion, personal finance, science, or sports, chances are this study has data that is relevant to you. Because why create content if it’s not effectively engaging your customers and prospects?