Unprecedented growth of visual social media. What does it mean for marketers

The rise of visual social media

Visual contents are on a rapid rise in social media. Good old text based social media channels are now rapidly transforming into more visual led content platforms.

While new and fast growing social media channels like Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Periscope are 100% visual platforms.

Images, videos, infographics, illustrations, emojis and interactive virtual reality are impacting the way we consume information.

Our digital world is becoming more visual than ever. And the importance and consumption of visual content will only grow over the next few years.

Why visuals are becoming so vital on social media?

Engagement. Engagement. Engagement

There is a big behavioural change that entire mobile technology ecosystem has brought into the way human beings consume information and content.

It has drastically reduced our verbal and textual attention span and has made us more visually adept.

This behavioural change, coupled with highly crowded social media space and supersonic speed of content sharing and distribution has made it highly difficult to effectively communicate and engage with customers online.

Consider these jaw-dropping-eye-popping statistics.

  • It takes just 8 seconds to get distracted.
  • This attention span drop drastically down to a mere 2.8 seconds for some people.
  • Skimming is the way 81 percent of people read content online.
  • According to a research by Neilsen Norman Group, an average user reads 20% to 28% of the words.
Average attention span is just 8 sec. Primary reason why we need quality visual #ContentMarketing. Click To Tweet

“Visual” content is the king.

In the age when people are reading lesser and lesser, and average attention span of an average adult is confined to a couple of minutes, visualisation of content can help marketers engage with readers at a deeper level and can provide information to them instantly through visualised content.

Marketers using visualised content effectively are seeing the tangible benefits. Like StacksAndStacks.com, a home storage e-tailer reported that;

A consumer who views a product video is up to 144% more likely to purchase than those who did not.

The way people are interacting with content on the internet is telling us that an image or video is winning the engagement game against pure text content.

On Twitter, visual contents are getting 150% more Retweets and 200% more engagement while on Facebook, they are getting 3 times more engagement.

A piece of #content with image increases #engagement by a whopping 650%. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet
  • People are 144 percent more likely to buy a product after viewing a product video.
  • Emails using word “video” get 65% higher clickthrough rate and 28% lower unsubscribes.
  • Posts that include images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts.
  • Colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read an article by 80%.
  • Facebook posts from brands that included images earned 87 percent of all engagements, eMarketer reported.
  • Tweets with images earned up to 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets, Buffer reported.

How marketers can win

By the year 2018, it is estimated that 84% of all the communications will be visual and around 80% of internet traffic will be video content. These are not just statistics but a peek into where are we heading with content consumption.

Users are becoming content creators and it is easier than ever to create multi-media content like infographics, quizzes, 360 degree videos and now the recent launch of 360 degree photos on Facebook has given the power to every mobile phone holder to be a master content creator and sharer.

By 2018, 84% of all communications will be visual. Time to ramp up visual #ContentMarketing plan. Click To Tweet

In this situation, marketers need to have a wholesome “Visual Content Marketing Strategy” in place.

Time to add visuals in your content marketing strategy

Micro Visual Content:

Perfect for your micro-moment marketing, quick and small visual contents like

  • GIFs
  • Memes
  • Emojis

can help reach out to larger number of audience. These are less serious visual contents created with a goal of becoming viral.

Macro Visual Content:

These are high quality and well researched visual contents, which are informative and engaging. These four kinds of macro visual contents should be part of every content marketer’s plan.

1. Images
Content with relevant and high quality images get 94% more views than content without relevant images. Simple drag-and-drop, image building tools like Canva and Pablo can you create beautiful images in no time. A relevant image after every 70 to 100 words will fetch maximum engagement.

2. Videos
According to Facebook’s Q3 2015 earning report, an average day garners 8 billion video views on Facebook. That is a staggering number! With the advent of live video streaming services like Meerkat, Periscope and Facebook Live, this number is poised to go higher.

Marketers can use various types of videos like how-to videos, explainer videos, products demonstrations, customer testimonials, educative videos etc.

3. Infographics
Data and statistics are generally the most boring part of a textual content, but with a beautifully designed infographic, complex data and statistics can become a delectable visual treat.

Infographics are the leaders when it comes to social engagement, with 3x more likes and shares than any other type of content.

4. Presentations:
A long-form blog post, converted into a compelling Slideshare is likely to get more views and engagement than the blog post.

Presentations have greater scope than infographics. Hence, if a topic is too lengthy to be suitable for infographic, a well designed presentation can be highly effective at keeping people engaged with the content.

Resource: Download a printable quick reference document from the link below.

Quick Recap

That was long! Let me recapitulate the important points quickly here;

  • Content marketing landscape is changing is becoming highly visual.
  • Users are becoming less textually attentive and more visually adept.
  • Visual content is driving higher engagement and brands are using it to share more compelling stories.
  • Social channels are providing more power in the hands of people to create more visual content.
  • Marketers need to draw a wholesome “Visual Content Marketing Strategy” to win engagements in the digital space.
  • Increase your amount of visuals to every update for social media, and every 75-100 words for a blog post
  • Always use relevant images for your topic.
  • Videos, live streaming, infographics, memes, presentations should be part of content plan.
  • Bottom line: Visuals are memorable and effective, because they help people process, understand, and retain more information more quickly.

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