Social media has become a melting pot of white noise. For your brand to penetrate that noise and actually make any meaningful contact with your intended audience, you have to be ahead of the pack these days. And being ahead of the pack, in no small way, means that you need to be engaging in not only your editorial, but also in the visual content for your brand.
Our news feeds and Facebook walls are overflowing with what people did for lunch today or how tasty their grandma’s apple pie was or how much they love pizza and rosé wine, or how they “literally can’t even” – whatever that means, it’s become a battle for attention. And according to recent research, humans now have a smaller attention span than a goldfish! Researchers also discovered that a colored visuals increases people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. It’s no wonder then that visual content is the top marketing trend for 2016.
Visual Real Estate
Visual content is no longer just a good idea, but an essential one. Especially when you’re talking about marketing and digital PR. Think about it in terms of pure real estate: a text update could occupy a height of about 50 pixels, whereas an image could take up 500 pixels. According to a Digiday and Chute survey, visual content can be up to 10X more effective than plain text. So it would make sense then (in terms of the numbers) that a visual post would be 10 times more effective – because it’s 10 times bigger/more visible.
Follow the Money
That same survey revealed that about one-third of marketing budgets are now being spent on visual marketing, which is up from about 25% in 2014. 60% of marketers plan to invest in video this year – up 20% from 2015. 39% of marketers believe that more of their budget should be allocated to the acquisition or creation of compelling visual assets and that.
Almost 80% of visual content is owned, original graphic designs or images. In other words, brands aren’t buying stock images off the web and throwing it up on their channels; they’re hiring visual professionals (designers and photographers) to create original content. The quality of your visual content is way more important that the quantity. Creating interesting, original content can be time-consuming and requires talented people. The payoff is huge – the media, the public, and search engines pay more attention to good original content.
Time, money and the right people all pose a challenge for companies that want to expand their visual content. The process is, after all manual, and labor intensive. It seems like brands are already connecting the dots regarding their budget. Finding great designers and graphic artists with experience in what works in digital and visual marketing is a tougher challenge. That’s why so many companies are leaning on the expertise of outside visual content providers and digital agencies.
However, it seems that there are even bigger issues – almost half (42%) of companies that would like to do more visual content say that getting stakeholders to participate in strategic conversations about visual media and resources is their biggest struggle. Just as the early days of content produced a flood of stuff that did not move the needle, the same problem exists in visual content now.
Knowing what to create, when to create it, where and when to post it to get the maximum response requires a strategic plan. And that’s one more reason why smart companies are partnering with experienced agencies who can do the heavy lifting on visual content.
If you’re looking for more on the importance of visuals, check out our posts on data visualizations, infographics, web design, and of course you can check out some of the infographics we’ve produced over the last six months. To include interesting facts and figures into your data stories, consider downloading our ebook about creating stories with marketing data.
This article was written by Sally Falkow from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
This post was originally published on our blog on May 13, 2016.