The Next Generation of Digital Marketing is Interactive
When it comes down to it, I believe that the world of digital marketing is facing a crisis of originality. It's tragic that, with the technology available to us, most companies leave it up to the would-be customer to educate themselves using website resources that are written to target what the business thinks they'll be interested in.
Widespread use of video on websites is the first way that digital marketers have attempted to increased interactivity. It clearly makes a difference, with 83% of video marketers saying that use of video helped them generate leads (source: Wyzowl). But even with video, you're still broadcasting static messaging. Imagine how many leads you'd get if interaction was trackable, measurable, and built into the DNA of your website itself.
React is a coding library that powers interactive websites or next-gen "web apps," à la Facebook. In the world of web development, React is widely known as the future of the web because it enables dynamic component-based websites that are performant in ways that Google loves.
Unfortunately, many small businesses and companies with websites built on legacy systems aren't harnessing the power of React. These websites are built with the same technology that powered the web of the early 2000s, because:
- The website is the lifeblood of any business, and switching from older technology can feel like reinventing the wheel if there's no clear benefit to doing so
- Using React is seen as an all-or-nothing adoption, and companies don't see the benefit of creating React-based websites unless they are full-blown complex web apps
I have a unique love of React. As a developer, it's fun to use a tool that makes it so darn easy to build complex logic. And as a digital marketer, I appreciate having the ability to add interactive components into websites and landing pages.
Anything that draws the user into unique experiences is a huge win in my book (and Google's, since people will be on your site for longer).
React powers Netflix, Facebook, Airbnb, Reddit, BBC, UberEats, The Washington Post, and so many others. But I'd love to see wider adoption in small and medium-sized businesses, too.
Here's the thing: adding React to your existing website doesn't have to mean re-doing the whole thing. You can add a React component to only one page on your website, or a couple pages, or you can rebuild the whole thing with it.
Imagine This Scenario (It Should Be Familiar to Any Digital Marketer)
You want to test out a new marketing campaign. Interactivity will allow you to learn more about your website visitors, so you decide to add something new to the site: a free interactive quiz, a chatbot survey, or an exploration of your product's differentiation from the competition.
Once you sketch out the basic requirements for the project, you'll do a Google search to find some software-as-a-service (SaaS) marketing tool that solves your problem within budget. You'll probably run into one (or more) of these problems:
- None the options really solve your problem, or they don't integrate easily with the marketing tech stack you're using
- Most of the solutions over-solve the problem, offering features you don't need for a higher price than you want to pay
- You don't want to add yet another external script that will bloat and slow down your website (and this also harms SEO). Often you'll have to embed a script site-wide, even if you're only using the SaaS product on a single webpage!
To add insult to injury, why should you have to pay monthly (or even worse, be locked into an annual contract) for something that, at this point, is just an experimental campaign?
Adding React to an Existing Website
In this situation, depending on the complexity of the idea you want to test-drive, a custom- and purpose-built React component could be a life-saver.
If your campaign is a one-off, you'll only have to pay once for the solution instead of every month. And even better, your developer partner can build in any integrations needed with your marketing tech stack. That means housing the data in your existing systems, rather than adding yet another data dashboard to check for results.
If the campaign goes well and you want to iterate on your initial idea, that's always possible. React is, at its core, modular and component-based, so your initial campaign can easily turn into a template for other initiatives.
Alternatively, once your project requirements are refined by experimentation it's much easier to shop for the right third-party solution (if you need to go that route).