We humans are visceral creatures; how we are seen by others has an enormous impact on how successful we become. It’s a surprising fact that 93% of all human communication is nonverbal, important to keep in mind when it comes to the way we are perceived. Our brains can process images 60,000 times faster than text because language needs to be decoded in a sequential manner, taking far longer than images; giving credit to the adage, “seeing comes before words”. In a society where instant gratification is the expectation, image is literally everything.
Our perception of something, whether that is a person, brand or product, is formed within seconds based on what we see; therefore it’s important that you harness the power of visual within your marketing strategies. The evolution of social media has highlighted the varying ways that brands utilise their social media channels and the success that they have; rather than using them purely as a platform for selling, they can be used to form a more visual aspect and personality of a brand. Images are displayed prominently on both Facebook and Twitter; Pinterest is the 4th most popular social networking site and Instagram, boasting over 100 million users, is purely image led.
"Creating useful content on digital marketing topics is one of our key strategies for introducing prospective clients to our company”, Daniel Rowles from Target Internet muses, “Finding a place or videos in that strategy, alongside our podcasts and blog articles, massively heightens our appeal to visual learners. Plus, it allows our content to compete in Google and YouTube video search rankings. "Not only does visual content reach out to a different type of audience; it also facilitates different ways of delivering your message. In our case, videos are the perfect medium for guides to specific digital marketing techniques and platforms."
The truth is that visual content is attention grabbing; from press releases, blog posts and guest articles – it doesn’t matter what your reason is for creating the content – a visual element is only going to make it more engaging. As you are creating your content, keep in mind that including compelling images and graphics and videos can increase views by 94% and your traffic by as much as 12%; so failing to add imagery can directly impact your growth within the digital realm and ultimately, sales and profits.
Alex Thompson Armstrong from Shape History shares his experience, ““In this internet age, NGO’s and Charities are slowly adapting to techniques brands have been using over the last 10 years. Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images, and the same can be said for using video. With a younger generation easier to reach than ever before, getting a brands voice heard above all the noise is perhaps the biggest challenge. At Shape History, we’ve developed some really unique techniques to get our content seen and shared - from innovative GIFs, 360 VR content and so much more. Essentially, for charities and the third sector, visual content helps them express their current campaigns and issues with a powerful message usually in plain sight or hidden within the content. This new method of storytelling is shaping the future of marketing, and everyone is getting onboard!”
Putting together lengthy articles is time-consuming and after all your hard work, can still fail to spark engagement with your audience. The trouble is that we are literally bombarded with information from sunrise or sunset, it can be a real issue for written content to hold the attention of the reader. Of course, there are ways to combat this; using shorter paragraphs, subheadings and bullet points, can all make the content more digestible, but it still doesn’t compare to the impact that images can have.
By using memes, infographics, gifs and videos you not only increase your ‘engage-ability’ but you also make your business more relevant – there is a meme or a gif for EVERY situation nowadays. You will undoubtedly succeed at conveying your message far more quickly and raising the chance of the content going viral. Find below some compelling reasons why visual content makes good sense.
Images are Attractive
The power of visual content isn’t a new concept! Open any magazine, and your eyes are instantly drawn to the images that accompany featured articles or the adverts that adorn the pages of the high-end glossy magazines. And let’s not overlook the power of the cover image – it’s a much- coveted spot.
A great visual is attention-grabbing; it’s just finding the ones that your audience will engage with.
Images are Memorable
It’s a fact that our brains remember images far better than it remembers words – studies have shown that we can remember over 2,000 pictures with 90% accuracy. It will be difficult for you to pin down the last sentence that made you laugh, but I bet you could easily recall an image that tickled your fancy.
Richard LeCount from USB4Photographers, “The power of visual shouldn’t come as a surprise-just look at how powerful business logos are. Being in the branded gadget industry, we have come to recognise the nature of the business that we are dealing with as soon as we see the logo. Many company’s choose to use their logo on branded items rather than their business name – bright exciting colours and bold shapes go a long way in creating a lasting impact.”
When you consider evolution, remembering our environments visually came down to survival - it’s hardly surprising that our pictorial memory is well developed. Which brings me to my next point….
Our Brains are Wired to Like Images
Your brain just LOVES visual content. Images that you find appealing trigger the same pleasure centres in your brain that your favourite meal and physical affection does. With this in mind, why not consider how much of your traditional written content can be converted to image led content? Throwing a bit of humour also converts far better as an image, or better of a video; one great example of this is HubSpot. They created a parody of the Gangnam Style video titled, Inbound Style to discuss inbound marketing tactics – funny and informative – what’s not to like?
Visuals are Universal
Images have this amazing ability to simplify the most complex information, as well as tell a story or teach us something. Overall, this vastly improves the user experience; Images are a universal language that we are all able to understand and remember. Think about your social media feeds; it’s probably a static image that provides a welcome break from all the noise.
In conclusion, visual marketing should be a top priority and the main marketing objective moving forward. Some businesses may be put off by the cost of hiring a graphic designer or professional photographer in order to obtain some great images. However, with tools such as Canva and Photoshop, it’s not difficult to create compelling images that can be turned into evergreen content with viral potential.