Videos, pictures, graphics, GIFs and infographics are the kinds of visual content that can help create a stellar marketing campaign. Impactful and engaging marketing and advertising always contains compelling visuals.
People remember about 10% of information they hear after three days. When the auditory information is accompanied by a relevant visual, they are likely to retain 65% of that information three days later (Brain Rules)
Furthermore, 94% of social media and blog posts that use visuals get more views than those that don’t (Jeff Bullas.) Moreover, more than 96% of consumers said they learned more about a product from explanation videos, and 79% of them said a video influenced their purchase decision. (Wyzowl)
Why is Visual Content Effective?
The fact is that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual.(M. Sivak, National Library of Medicine)
Visuals are central to content creation. Images and impactful design help brands stand above marketing noise. Furthermore, imagery enhances textual content and makes it appealing, understandable and memorable. Visuals communicate messages in ways that text cannot. The goal of marketing campaigns is to tap into the audience’s subconscious to get a positive reaction.
Visuals are processed quickly by the brain, which means they trigger stronger responses than words alone. Furthermore, emotional reactions encourage audience engagement and information retention.
Here are six reasons why visual content is effective:
- It attracts your audience. People innately react strongly to imagery. The kinds of visual content that is best for your brand promotion, product and service. According to Forbes, 65% of the population are visual learners.
- It increases social engagement rates. Consider that visuals attract more shares on social media. It can be difficult to know that will resonate with your audience. It’s a best practice to make sure the content is worth sharing and relatable.
- It increases post views. We mentioned above that it is important to elevate your brand’s messages so it can be heard among marketing noise. Oftentimes, people scroll through their social media feeds, website pages or articles and skim the text content. Visual content creates an impact which improves conversion rates.
- Visuals communicate information effectively. Messages that are seen have a substantial impact on audiences and encourages them to act.
- It is memorable. We mentioned above that people retain over 90% what they see, with videos being the most effective followed by infographics.
- It is easy to comprehend. Content that is self-explanatory, easy to understand and that requires little effort can attract your target customer’s attention quickly.
Types of Visual Content Marketing
Engaging visual content helps marketing stand out. Search engines use algorithms that pick out web pages and detect keywords. When sites use keywords that align to users’ search intent, pages are ranked accordingly.
Visuals help validate searcher intent and add context for those who learn visually. In addition to being memorable, visual elements make webpages and social posts interesting. It is beneficial to add visuals to text-heavy whitepapers and case studies, too.
To get your audience’s attention, we suggest adding the following to your content marketing plans:
- Branded images
- Captivating photos
- Attractive calls to action
- Data visualizations
- GIFs – where appropriate
- Pull quotes
- Interactive visual elements
- Display ads
How to Choose the Right Visuals for Impactful Content Marketing
Content is king. Content drives website traffic, engages audiences and helps convert leads to customers. There are kinds of content that are more impactful than others. It’s essential to know what kind of content will work for you.
To choose the right visuals, consider where you will use it. Are you a financial firm that has a blog on your website? If so, a GIF is probably not the right visual for you; a video or an infographic would be effective.
To choose your visuals, consider the following:
- Size – Ensure your visuals are the correct size for the platform your content is on. For example, websites have specific sizes for header banners. For social media, the visual is smaller.
- Quality – Use the highest quality elements. This can be great photography, professional or not. Mobile phones can take incredibly beautiful pictures and videos. For example, Bently launched two short documentaries in a series called “Intelligent Details.” Running about four minutes, they document two of Bently’s top designers. The videos are informational, seductive and provocative like their cars. Shot in black and white and entirely on an iPhone in 2015, these videos are truly stunning.
A low quality visual will make your brand look unprofessional and will probably turn people away. If you want to see more beautiful smartphone-created content, check out the following:
- Snowbrawl by Apple. Shot on an iPhone 11 using the phone’s advanced camera.
- Look at Her Now by Selena Gomez. Also shot an iPhone 11, this music video has diverse sets and shooting styles.
- Format – Consider the format you need. JPEGs are great for photography and PNGs are good for illustrations and logos. Furthermore, ensure you use the right type of file when exporting videos.
- ALT descriptions – We suggest using “alt” image tags. They are highly useful for search engine rankings and help fill in the blanks if a site is experiencing technical issues.
Align the type of visual with where it will go and your target audience. A tech firm that wants to convey complex technical information will benefit from an infographic presented in a clear, concise way.
How to Create a Visual Content Strategy
Visually enhancing your content to stand out among the competition needs a solid strategy. Consider what platforms you will use for content placement and the tools you will use to create the visuals.
So, how can one create a content strategy? Here are a few tips:
- Identify why you want to use visuals and how it will help your brand. Furthermore, consider what you want to achieve with your content strategy. Possible answers include educating readers, boosting engagement, brand promotion and getting leads. Also, use tracking like Google Analytics. In July of 2023, Google Analytics (also known as Universal Analytics) will stop processing hits and users will need to transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA 4). Stefanini can help you with your migration to Google Analytics 4.
- Get to know your audience. This should be your top priority. Brands that succeed are customer-centric. Know what they want (and create the want before they know they want it). How does your audience speak? What do they respond to?
- Focus. If you know your audience, ensure your content is on target. Create a distribution strategy. Awesome content that nobody sees is useless. Ensure your content is placed where your audience looks. This entails promoting content on social media, through email or other channels.
- Visual appeal. We said this above – appealing visuals generate engagement. Use high-quality images, photos, videos and graphics. Ensure your text is easy to read and comprehend by breaking up large pieces of text with headlines, sub-headlines and bullet points.
- Measurement and metrics are critical. Set your KPIs. Is the content reaching who you want it to? If you are using emails, how many people opened them? How many clicks did social media posts earn?
Legendary Marketers – the GOATs
Nike is one of the top marketers in the world. Why? They use advertising that draws out emotions. Also, they carefully consider their customers’ interests. Nike creates messages that show how their products benefit customers and they create a need in their customers’ mind.
For example, Nike demonstrated that the need was not for better running shoes, but for a way to get in shape and be healthy. The winning recipe for success is that Nike sells the benefits rather than products.
Check out a couple of Nike’s impactful (and successful) ads:
- Never Settle, Never Done Per Nike, “Wild goals. Big ambition. Mind-blowing skill. Women have been elevating the game since day one and they’ll continue to smash records, set the bar and raise the game.”
- Finding Our Place Through Sport. Per Nike’s YouTube channel, “‘Refugee. Migrant. Foreigner.’ All labels that will never define us. In our new docuseries ‘HOME’, we meet a host of displaced athletes* and communities across the world who are using sport to help them find their place. This ad features Alphonso Davies who said, “You can’t give a label to a future that hasn’t been written yet.” Poignant!
Brands like Coca-Cola and Apple are also legendary marketers. Consider Coke’s “Share a Coke” and Apple’s ground-breaking commercial 1984. Aired during the 1984 Superbowl, Apple’s ad introduced the Apple MacIntosh personal computer. The images alluded to George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four and a dystopian future ruled by a televised Big Brother.
Visual content is king
We’ve demonstrated what visual content is and why you need it for your marketing, The facts are that visual content is king. For example, people share articles 200% more when the article has images and 9,000 photos are shared by Snapchat users every second.
Sivak M. The information that drivers use: is it indeed 90% visual? Perception. 1996;25(9):1081-9. ndoi: 10.1068/p251081. PMID: 8983048.