Is the ROI and Usability of Interactive Formats That Much Better Than PDFs?

By Julie van der Weele

Is the ROI and Usability of Interactive Formats Better Than PDFs?

We always get such great questions from our readers. This week, we came across this gem on one of our social media posts about the benefits of interactive formats versus PDFs regarding usability and returns on investment (ROI). 

You asked

This question came from Michael: 

Interactive presentations always sound cool, especially to someone like me with design skills. The problem with them is they’re expensive. Regardless of price, they’re more expensive than a free PDF generated by Word or PowerPoint.

They’re proprietary: they can’t just be sent, forwarded, or saved. They need to be viewed on your website, which is a great way to make a sales pitch but makes it impossible for a brand to know that their presentation content is private or secure.

  • Is it portable?
  • Is it mobile-friendly?
  • Is it printable?
  • Can it be shared with multiple editors?
  • What is the learning curve for people without a design background or experience with interactivity?

These interactive presentation tools have been around for years but rarely last for all of the above-mentioned reasons.

We answered

Hey Michael, thank you so much for taking the time to leave your thoughts.

You’re definitely not alone — as with any emerging technology, there are always a lot of reasons to avoid it. Reasons that can be 100% valid depending on the situation of the person, or company.

We wanted to take a minute to share our thoughts on your points, based on tons of conversations we’ve had with content creators like yourself: 

Interactive content creation isn’t free, but the return is much greater. What is the value of increased customer engagement, improved CX, and faster production times? 

The fact that interactive content is proprietary means you maintain control over the content. That makes it possible to update your content across the board, so you’ll never have old or outdated content wandering around out there. We see this as a HUGE advantage! You can always limit or restrict access to the content if you choose. 

Is it portable?

In our experience, interactive content is just as portable as any other digital content. Maybe even more so than content that requires a download to view. 

Is it mobile-friendly?

At least at Foleon, interactive content is absolutely mobile-friendly by design. That’s definitely a huge advantage over formats like PDF, which are absolutely not. 

Is it printable? 

We know it’s annoying to answer a question with a question, but we usually ask, does it need to be? Interactive content formats aren’t for every type of content — there’s a time and place. If it’s meant to be printed and live a physical life, another format is probably better. 

Can it be shared with multiple editors?

The ability to collaborate and co-create is one of the biggest advantages of content creation platforms like Foleon. Old-fashioned formats like PDF keep production limited to those with specific skill sets, which leads to content bottlenecks. 

What is the learning curve for people without a design background or experience with interactivity?

The learning curve depends on the platform — there’s a wide range of usability across content creation platforms. We can only speak for Foleon, which is a drag-and-drop editor that is designed to be easy for anyone to use. 

We believe one of the biggest reasons this kind of technology might not take hold in a company is resistance to change. It can be difficult to adopt new technologies and adjust processes. It takes time. That’s why it’s also important to choose a vendor that has a strong onboarding process and excellent customer support. In other words, choose a partner, not a vendor. 

We hope this answered your questions or at least gave you some food for thought! Thanks again, and let us know if you’d like to chat more or even take a tour of our editor. 


If you’re keen to get involved in the conversation or have questions you’d like us to answer, tag us on LinkedIn @Foleon. We’d love to hear from you!

Julie van der Weele

With a background in B2B SaaS content creation, strategy, and brand development, Julie's passionate about building teams that can push the limits of traditional B2B marketing. When not working, you'll find her at the yoga studio, in the kitchen, or sharing her favorite reading chair with a cat (or two). LinkedIn profile

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