You’ve heard the saying. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s become a cliché, but it still rings true.
The importance of images is rooted in the basics of human psychology: 93% of all communication is nonverbal. What we see on a daily basis has a profound effect on what we do.
This importance of images also relates to marketing. How a business uses graphics greatly affects how that company or brand is perceived. Plus, neuromarketing science has confirmed that visual content drives engagement.
So, if you aren’t using visual content in your marketing strategy yet, you should be. Here’s why.
Visuals Are Processed Faster and Easier to Remember
Unfortunately, the human mind is limited; it can only process so much information at a given time. Therefore, information that can be processed faster will take precedence over a person’s attention. In fact, the brain can process visual information about 60,000 times faster than text.
People are more likely to retain what they see, rather than what they hear. If a relevant image is paired with a piece of information, people retain about 65% of that information three days later. Without the image? People only remember about 10%. Adding more color to your content can also increase comprehension of information by as much as 73%.
Visual Content Grabs More Attention
It’s so much easier to spend time on the colored clock because there’s more to take in.
Our minds automatically focus on what’s different or sticks out more. Against a wall of text, an image is going to win your attention every time. For example, where do your eyes immediately go in the example below?
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You’re focusing on the variations in the above image because the differences make them more noticeable. This is the very reason images are so much more successful in content marketing. In fact, adding relevant images and videos can get your content 94% more views than content without any imagery.
Content With Images Drives More Engagement
Consumers are more likely to consider contacting or buying from a business when an image is displayed in the search results. Detailed, branded images can help a company gain 67% more audience attention.
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Adding color and imagery to your CTA’s is also a great way to increase the attention they’re given. Just take Pinterest’s CTA below. Not only is the CTA within an image, but the images in the background are all associated with the theme of using Pinterest to “dive deep.”
Videos Can Increase Conversions
In fact, 71% of consumers believe that a video is the best way to explain how a product works and really get the full effect of it before buying.
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One great example of this is the jewelry store Zales. While they don’t have a need to show you how their products work (since jewelry is pretty straightforward), they instead display their pieces with photos and short videos that give you the full glory of the sparkle from every angle.
When you’re using videos in your content, remember:
- Video Thumbnails. While a lot of platforms have incorporated autoplay, marketers should still make sure that the video thumbnail is compelling in order to capture the active intent of the video.
- Experiment With CTA’s. They can be a clickable URL, a verbal CTA, or one that appears at the end of the video.
- Get to the Point. Human attention spans are now less than a goldfish’s, and the average Facebook video view is only 18.2 seconds. Make sure the first three seconds of your video contain compelling content and images.
- Use Fast Cuts and Action Shots. Videos that employ fast cuts, close-ups, or action shots typically have a 36% lower CPA and a 249% higher conversion rate.
Visuals Are More Successful on Social Media
On social media, visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared than any other type of content, and articles with an image every 100 words get double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images.
Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without images, and Facebook posts with visual content see 2.3 times more engagement than posts without images. The bottom line is that when people are browsing social media, they’re not looking to read the next great American novel. They’re looking for content that catches their eye.
More and more people are also using visually-centered social media sites such as Pinterest or Instagram. Instagram’s community has grown to over 400 million people and 31% of the total internet population uses Pinterest.
How You Can Use Visuals
You’ve read (or seen) the statistics. Now here’s how you can incorporate creative visuals into your content.
- Get Creative. There are so many options out there, from GIFs and memes to cinemagraphs. Your image doesn’t have to stand still, and making your own GIF isn’t has hard as you might think.
- Make How-To Videos. Show the customer exactly how to use your product, create a video that shows your product from every angle (such as in the Zales example above), or make a tutorial.
- Create Shareable Visuals. Creating images that are sized for social media encourages easy sharing that can help spread awareness of your brand. Not every image has to be a marketing ploy. It could just be an inspiring quote or a funny picture.
- Break Down Facts Visually. As I’ve mentioned, people process information better if there’s an associated image. So create informative graphics and charts, include infographics, or take screen shots to visually aid the information you’re presenting.