Visual content is on a rise for good reasons: Neuroscience as well as communication trainers are confirming the importance of what is “said” besides facts. Marketing experts confirm that visual content increases attendance, reach and engagement within a flood of information.
Visual content has many applications: It might be used to illustrate data using charts, to make a complex topic easy to understand or provide a comprehensive summary of a topic. In its most simple form, a picture might not be related to the hard facts of an article but might just show the general topic or the author/interviewee. Regardless of its form, such pictures have several advantages.
Different perspectives: visuals on top
Taking a scientific approach to pictures as a marketing tool, one can easily understand their great power. Recent neuroscience shows that the brain decodes visual information up to 60,000 times faster than a text. Besides, people retain only 10 percent of the information they hear and 20 percent of the information they read. But they remember 80 percent of the information they see. Two astonishing arguments for visual content such as picture, charts and infographics.
Taking a more practical view, one might look at communication trainers. Some argue that up to 95 percent of human communication is done using visual communication. Mario Müller-Dofel claims in his German blog post on altii “Was sind Ihre Worte wert?” (What are your words worth?), gesture accounts for 59 percent of a speaker’s overall impression. By attaching pictures of the authors of guest and interview partners, we can capture at least part of this non-verbal communication and transmit it.
Now take the view of the reader or consumer of content. In today’s world, we face a flood of information and nobody has the time to read everything he receives. Instead, people skim through texts and decide if it is worth reading completely and in detail. Instead of skimming, a picture might be used as a selection criterion. This means, a picture must be chosen wisely and fit to the content in order to create the right expectations regarding the hard facts that follow in the text. Besides the challenge to find suitable pictures, this creates the opportunity to raise emotions and potentially attract more readers.
Pictures in practice
It is no surprise, that social media channels are adopting visual elements more and more. Seval Dogan, Marketing Specialist, D/A/CH Region at BusinessWire, and Kai Prager, Senior Media Relations Specialist – Europe at BusinessWire, say that social media is entering a new stage where people try to use new approaches as visual communication. This is one reason for the emergence of new platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. Moreover, “traditional” social media channels as Facebook and Twitter are increasingly integrating visual content.
Marketing experience confirms that visual content increases engagement rates on social media channels. Imagine a Twitter user: Skimming through the hundreds of tweets one is likely to receive on a daily basis, the ones including visual elements stand out as they use more space and inherit a certain uniqueness.
At altii, we believe that pictures are a vital part of a content and marketing strategy. Using pictures, we try to gain attention on a person and transmit part of his personality such as raising sympathy. With this first priming, the reader will than go on reading the article raising attention to the products.