When it comes to online content, visual is vital
Did you know that as soon as you open your eyes, around 70 percent of your brain’s activity is dedicated to what you see? This fact is well-known to online marketers as they battle for the attention of consumers. So how important is it to include visuals within your content marketing strategy? Lets explore…
Did you also know that every day, about two billion photos are uploaded to digital platforms, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram? This gives marketers with the right tools a rich sea of data they can trawl for meaning, to help inform and shape their sales campaigns.
So, if the visual medium is so dominant, what does this mean for content and online marketing? And how does text, which is also a visual form, fit into the mix? Is it a matter of words vs pictures, or do they complement one another?
One crucial point is understanding how the brain deals with text versus pictures. The brain absorbs images quite passively, whereas it has to work a lot harder to make sense of words. That’s why a child takes longer to learn to read than to recognize shapes. Pictures have a much more direct, and faster, impact on the brain than strings of letters and words, which first need to be decoded.
However, the really interesting thing is that communication using pictures only is far weaker than communication using pictures and words together.
For example, Facebook posts that contain images account for 90% of viewer engagement. Posts without images, unless they are personal to the viewer, are ignored. First, the image attracts the viewer’s attention, and then the text engages then. In that order.
For marketers wanting to make a sudden impact, words are important but images are vital, and this goes some way to explaining why YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google.
Content marketing | online marketing and the rise of video
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that, ‘People are gaining the power to share in richer and richer ways. We used to share with text and now we post mainly with photos. In the future, video will be even more important.’Case in point – according to Cisco, around 70 percent of online consumer traffic will consist of video by 2017.
However, don’t let Zuckerberg’s statement lead you down the wrong garden path. He is not saying that one type of communication is better than the other, or that it should be used to the exclusion of all other forms. He is merely dissecting the hierarchical layers of content.
What is important is knowing which form is the most useful for communicating within a specific context. For example, who wouldn’t rather watch a YouTube video about how to install a new printer, than have to plod through a densely printed manual? When it comes to doing, showing is more effective than writing how to,
FACT: A year’s worth of YouTube videos are watched on Facebook every day.
YouTube gets around a billion unique visitors each month, and a further billion mobile views take place each day. So it’s easy to understand why 70% of marketers believe that videos will be central to their brand strategies.
Powerful images are the marketer’s greatest asset. Video in particular is becoming increasingly adept at appealing to more subtle human emotions, not to sell per se, but to generate brand empathy, which engenders loyalty. Marketers will use video more as a hook to draw in frustrated consumers, then funnel them toward genuinely useful content, and a stimulating brand experience.
Many online marketers have simply reacted to the arrival of new visual routes to market by rehashing old content and plastering it over every digital platform available to them. However, in a digital world overflowing with content, consumers crave quality. So simply rehashing old, stale material to give it a slightly different look is a no-no. As any new platforms gains traction, marketers will need to build a fresh presence with new ingredients and a different twist.
Beyond video, we can see how important images are and we should remember that first the image attracts the viewer’s attention, and then the text engages then.
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