5 Reasons You Need More Visual Content Right Now

Designing an engaging and effective content marketing strategy has gotten a lot tougher. Why? Because there is just so much noise out there, no one is listening anymore.

Add to the noise the fact that the average amount of time spent on a typical web page is 15 seconds and that the average Internet user has an attention span of 8-10 seconds, and you would have to be a miracle worker to command much attention.

What research is telling content marketers is this: even if you have the best-written content from real writing pros, you really have little that will hold the interest of an audience. The answer lies in visual content marketing, and here are five reasons why, in addition to the stats listed above.

Catch your audiences attention with lifestyle imagery produced by Creatively Squared. Photographer: Leti Kugler

Catch your audiences attention with lifestyle imagery produced by Creatively Squared. Photographer: Leti Kugler

  1. Our Brain Likes Visuals

It’s a marvellous organ, that brain of ours – our own internal computer that takes in and processes what our five senses give it, sorts information and data, determines its importance, and stores it for retrieval.

But here’s the other really important thing about our brains – they process and remember visual content faster and longer. And 84% of Internet users only skim text content. This fact alone should convince you that visual strategies must play a huge role in your content marketing.

2. Social Media is Visual

Jannah Terry, the lead marketing specialist at Resumescentre.com, shares these statistics on social media that are pretty “eye-popping”:

  • The fastest growing social media platforms today are Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Tumblr – all visual.

  • 84% of communications by 2019 will be visual, and 79% of those will be video

  • Consumers are 85% more apt to make a purchase after viewing a photo or a video of a product (now you know why your Facebook newsfeed is filled with video advertising of products related to your recent searches)

  • Posts the include visual content get 3X more backlinks than those with text only.

  • And according to Buffer, tweets with visuals get 150% more re-tweets.

Make your content shareable with lifestyle imagery produced by Creatively Squared. Photographer: Ali Winter

Make your content shareable with lifestyle imagery produced by Creatively Squared. Photographer: Ali Winter

3. Visual Content is Understood Better

“You will still want to use text. Product and service descriptions should be provided in short phrases, broken up into very small chunks. But, if you add visuals to “show” while you “tell,” then your audience can better understand what you are talking about,” states Safwan Armitage, editor-in-chief at Write Load blog.

Even famous brands that don’t have to show visuals of their products still do it. WD-40 is as common household product as any. But never does a social media post or a new use for this nifty product get introduced without a visual. Can you imagine a Coca-Cola ad without an image of a can of it?

Visuals let your audience understand immediately what you are talking about, and, if they are interested, those audience members can then read your text.

4. Visuals Appeal to Human Emotions

There are two engaging factors. First, is the psychology of color. Visuals are colorful, and if content marketers use the right colors, they can appeal to certain emotions that will influence buying decisions.

The second factor is the content of the visual itself. Using stock photos is definitely out. But, using photos and videos of happy customers; using entertaining explainer videos of products or services; promoting social responsibility efforts with inspirational visuals that “tug at heartstrings” are all “in.” Check out the hugely successful visual marketing efforts of ModCloth, Dollar Shave Club, and Toms Shoes for some great examples of visual marketing.

Tug at their heartstrings with lifestyle imagery produced by Creatively Squared. Photographer: Urszula Muir

Tug at their heartstrings with lifestyle imagery produced by Creatively Squared. Photographer: Urszula Muir

5. Visual Content Makes Visitors Stay

Whether on your website, scattered through your blog posts or on your social media platforms, visitors will stay longer if they have something to look at. Monica Rodgers, head of marketing at Canada-Writers emphasizes: “The longer users stay, the better chance there is that they will get your marketing message and absorb it. While they may not make a purchase right away, if you have memorable visuals, they will remember you when they are ready to buy.”

Why is Imagery Important?

For all of the reasons given above. Visual marketing is no longer something cool and “faddish.” It is a powerful tool. And it will continue to evolve. Right now, images and videos are the most engaging tools. The future, however, may belong to such tools as augmented and virtual reality. The smart digital marketer will stay current and incorporate as much visual content as possible, in all of its forms.

Bio: This article is written by James Scott. He is the co-founder of the Student service, an independent blogger, and a marketing consultant to small businesses. He is passionate about team building and management, having run his own company for a number of years.