Why are visuals so important in your marketing strategy?
We all know the saying "a picture says a thousand words", is inherently true. Imagery is a significant factor in supporting the art of storytelling as they add an element of speed - our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. Studies show that 65% of the world's population are visual learners. This means there is a high chance that your customers will react well with visually engaging content too. Using engaging visual media - whether it's photos, videos or info-graphics - can improve the receptiveness of your marketing tactics, and create new ways in which consumers see and utilise the information you provide.
Today the average human attention span is 8 seconds (compared to 12 seconds in 2012). This means finding the most effective ways to engage your audience from the get-go is more essential than ever!
While you can have the best content in the world, if it is not presented and designed aesthetically, it may not get the attention it deserves. A study conducted on recall rates found that information paired with an image had a 65% recall, compared to information with no images which only had a 10% recall.
Web pages and social media content that include photos and videos attract significantly more visitors than those that don’t. Not only do graphics help grab the attention of viewers, but they can help improve the websites search engine optimisation (SEO) through tagging and labelling the images. And consistent visuals can even help viewers with recall of your brand.
In 2016 almost 50% of online users used video content to find information about a product or service before visiting a store. Why? Because videos are visually engaging, easy to listen to, and feel like they are less attention-demanding than reading textual information. An eye-tracking study found that users closely observed images with lots of information (like infographics). Readers are actually inclined to spend more time looking at the images rather than reading the textual information on a page.
So how can you effectively use visuals in your marketing plan?
So does this mean you should add images randomly throughout your content? While visuals are helpful in improving recall rates, using visuals that are unrelated to the actual content is confusing and isn't very beneficial. The visual you use should always support and empathise the content you create, not just break up the page or make it look pretty. This will in turn increase the value your readers will get from your content. It is suggested that if you don’t have good quality and relatable images don’t include them at all, as they can have damaging effects instead.
Professional photos are often the first indication of a website's credibility. Because quality imagines are a form of a trust symbol, for first-time website visitors blurry, old or clip art looking graphics/ videos can be an automatic turn off, as they are likely to conclude that site is unprofessional and untrustworthy. Therefore, bad imagery can have a negative effect on conversion rates and trust in the brand.
Remember, it doesn't just have to be images you use. Use things like video, infographics, graphs, comics, slide-shares, memes - anything that aligns with your brand and will help to communicate the message you are sharing.
Humans have used imagery to relate, entice, tell stories and share to others since the beginning of time. While there was a time in which the internet struggled to keep up with our visual needs and wants; today providing visually-rich pages does not necessarily mean more waiting time. Visuals are a great addition to any content created by your business. When used in conjunction with a variety of other learning styles such as text, they can provide variance and engage a diverse range of people.
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words by Kate Fisher
filed under content marketing