By Lynn Manternach / Guest Editorial

Visual storytelling has been with us since the days of cave drawings, and it’s not going away. The platforms may evolve over time, but the power of visuals to engage, inform and motivate remains constant.

Are you using visual content in your marketing efforts? I’m talking about photos, infographics, graphs and charts, cartoons and comics, maps, videos and more. This is the content consumers are craving, consuming and sharing.

Visuals are a powerful way to communicate lots of information quickly and succinctly. Consumers are more pressed for time than ever before, and the only thing faster than a post or tweet is a picture. The average person’s attention span is eight seconds. Visual content takes just one-fourth of a second to register.

No matter what kind of product or service you are selling, visual content will help you capture your audience’s attention. And as you know, you don’t get a chance to talk to them at all if you can’t first capture their attention.

Here are some of the relevant facts:

Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed thousands of times faster in the brain than text. That means anything you want to communicate is better communicated in the form of an image.

Because visual content is quick to consume, your target audience has a chance of getting your message before they move on to something else. Plus, today’s consumers are more likely to skim content rather than actually read it, and images communicate more value, more quickly than text.

Eighty percent of visual content is consistently recalled by people (source: Mindshift Interactive). That means visuals are a great way to share your brand story or other information you want consumers to remember.

Online articles that contain images get 94 percent more views than articles without (source: Content+ 2013). Furthermore, 44 percent of users are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures (source: ROI Research 2012).

On Facebook, photos perform best for likes, comments and shares as compared to text, video and links (source: Dan Zarrella/Hubspot). So the next time you share something on Facebook, consider adding a simple photo or image along with it. Make it an original image rather than a stock image for maximum impact, and tie some element of your brand to it if possible, even if it’s just your logo added in a subtle way.

Social posts with video attract three times more inbound links than plain text posts (source: SEOmoz). Videos are a great visual tool to use as part of your content marketing strategy and search engines love them. Even better, they’re highly shareable.

Eighty-five percent of the U.S. Internet audience watches video online. The 25-34 age group watches the most online videos, and adult males spend 40 percent more time watching videos on the Internet than females (source: comScore and Nielson).

In addition, videos are powerful sales tools. Consumers spend more time on pages with videos on them (source: MarketingSherpa), and they are 85 percent more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video (source: Internet Retailer).

Sixty-four percent of consumers consider clear, detailed images to be very important and carry even more weight than the product information, a full description and customer ratings (source: MDG Advertising). Images, especially photographs, let your prospects see for themselves what you’re offering. Show your product in use to help people see how it will work for them.

Your website’s design matters. Forty-six percent of consumers say they look at a website’s design to determine the credibility of a company (source: Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab). Consumers are looking at how you visually represent your company more than the carefully crafted copy you developed for the site. In fact, if you don’t engage consumers with the design, they may not get to your copy.

It’s clear that we’ll be seeing more emphasis on visuals and visual storytelling from brands as technology platforms and tools become increasingly image-friendly. Now is the time to think about how to use the visuals associated with your brand in more strategic ways to connect with consumers in ways that matter to them.

It’s a visual world. Show your story!

 

 

 

Lynn Manternach is brand arsonist and president at MindFire Communications Inc. (www.mindfirecomm.com) in Cedar Rapids and Le Claire. Contact Lynn at lmanternach@mindifrecomm.com.

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