A version of this post originally appeared in the September 24, 2020 issue with the email subject line "Planning for 2021 like you know change is necessary" and a guide to planning content for social change in 2021.

Without a devoted interactive developer and deep content resources, it’s difficult to make a website that’s much more than a brochure with a few links. And even when you have an interactive developer, it’s unlikely that they’re going to be jazzed about your super basic quiz requests every month.

In the past few years, a host of interactive content tools have flooded the market, with assorted capabilities and varying levels of sophistication. I’ve written about Ceros (high sophistication) and Typeform (low sophistication) before. Ex.Co, backed by Disney and used by Warner Brothers among others, is somewhere in the middle, with the ability to design, execute and test complex interactive content in a WYSIWYG interface.

Ex.Co at a glance

Visual review of Ex.Co interactive content software: cutting-edge; enables creativity; advanced analytics capabilities; monthly price: a new piece of hardware. This software is more finely tuned, but has modest capabilities; it's both single-user and team-oriented; and it's fairly intuitive.

You should know: even though it’s cloud-based, Ex.Co has no auto-save function. Like desktop software, you have to hit a button to save your work. This would be a dealbreaker for me with most content creation tools (it’s 2020, and I would like auto-save with version control in my content SaaS please), but Ex.Co’s capabilities are robust enough to overcome its lack of auto-save.

With a variety of templates for quizzes, chats, social graphics, videos and more, Ex.Co provides an extremely intuitive interface for drag-and-drop style content. In the trial content Each Ex.Co subscription comes with:

  • access to a library of Getty Images and videos (the sexiest stock photo vendor)
  • A/B content testing
  • analytics integrations with common vendors
  • polling, video, quiz, and lead generation tools that can be compounded to make a single piece of content with multiple elements
  • unlimited seats and unlimited number of interactive widgets published, so you can write quizzes til you drop under 30k pageviews

Content from Ex.Co is HTML5, so it’s embeddable and crawlable from search engines. It integrates with many common CRMs and segmentation vendors, so you can integrate the data you’re collecting with your other and use for some high-quality opt-in content personalization.*

The final product appears highly templated, so you’re not going to get wild with digital creativity here — but it’s functional, responsive and measurable.

Ex.Co isn’t priced for individual users, and it’s telling that most of its blue chip clients are legacy entertainment industry, but I’d recommend it for agencies and publishers that plan to produce multiple interactive items on a weekly basis.

*I’m not a huge fan of many of the ad tech vendors that Ex.Co integrates with, but as long as you keep your data in-house, secure, and relevant to your customer’s interests, I’m totally ok with this kind limited-use content personalization.

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