It would be inaccurate to say that textual content is on the way out. After all, it’s hard to imagine a business world where text doesn’t hold weight in conveying messages and explaining value propositions. However, it’s clear that visual content is moving in and will stick around indefinitely. As a content marketer, it’s imperative that you understand when visual content is better than text content.
Why people respond to visuals
We live in a world where visuals do the talking. If you want to express yourself in a way that the masses can understand, then you must be willing to invest in visuals – there’s really no way around it. Not only is the human brain wired in a way that visuals are better received than text – but the search engines are gradually becoming rewired as well. Just consider the following statistics from this Ethos3 infographic on the topic:
- Content with visuals attract 94 percent more total views.
- In today’s market, content with visuals are 40 times more likely to be shared on social media.
- The human brain processes visuals 600,000 times faster than text.
- An impressive 90 percent of information sent to the brain is visual.
- 65 percent of people are classified as “visual learners.”
- It’s roughly 50 times easier to get a video ranked on the first page of Google than a standard article or blog post.
- Google is the second largest search engine in the world.
- Nine out of ten online shoppers say videos are helpful in making purchase decisions.
These facts are just a small fraction of reality. Visuals are clearly more effective at conveying messages than standalone text. Once you understand this, you can begin to use it to your advantage.
Top Visual Mediums
So, which types of visual content perform the best and is there a certain medium you should be investing in above all else? Well, consider these three popular mediums.
- Long-form video. Referring to videos that are longer than 10 minutes, long-form video is a format that’s useful for engaging and educating on important subjects. You’ll typically use long-form video content on your website, but it’s rarely used as click bait. In other words, long-form video is implemented near the end of the conversion funnel.
- Short-form video. Then there’s short-form video. This format includes videos that are just a few seconds or minutes long. They are designed to quickly grab someone’s attention and encourage them to share or act. Short-form videos thrive on social networks.
- Video isn’t the only successful visual medium, though. Infographics also perform exceedingly well in today’s marketplace. Infographics are ideal for conveying complicated ideas and data points that need further clarification.
If you don’t have time for anything else, you need to pay attention to these three visual mediums. By peppering your existing business strategies with these types of content, you can open up new opportunities for engagement, education, and procurement.
4 Times visual content outperforms
The question is, when do you use visuals? It’s not practical or cost-efficient to invest all of your time and resources into visuals when text is often adequate or mandatory for certain tasks and goals. For starters, consider using visual content when you find yourself in the following situations.
1. Training employees
Employee training is something that many businesses struggle with. It’s not uncommon for a business to either half-heartedly invest in training or avoid it altogether. This is unfortunate, since training is one of the keys to keeping employees engaged and retained.
The issue is that most businesses don’t understand the correct way to go about training, so their efforts are wasted. While thick manuals and boring slideshows may have been considered the best-practice 10 or 15 years ago, that’s no longer the case. Video training is the future.
That’s why you see so many companies investing in video. From IT administration training to tutorials for teachers, video-based training is exploding onto the scene. If maximizing your dollar-spend on training is a goal of your organization, then video is what you need to be investing in. You could insource or outsource it – that’s up to you – but just make sure you’re paying attention to video.
2. Reviewing products
People rarely purchase something online without doing research, reading reviews, and gathering information to make an educated decision. The issue is that many businesses don’t give customers enough information to make these choices. As a result, they end up heading to a competitor or alternative website to complete their purchase.
One way to satisfy this demand for information is by offering video product reviews. This strategy is especially effective when implemented alongside complex or new products. Home Depot does a really good job of using video on product listing pages – such as on this one. They’ve seen an uptick in purchases since investing in this strategy.
3. Explaining complex data
When complex data is being discussed – whether internally in a company meeting or externally in front of clients – visuals are extremely valuable. Infographics, charts, and even video can be effectively used to convey complex ideas that are challenging to understand in written form.
There’s actually an entire science dedicated to explaining complex data through the use of visuals. It’s known as data visualization and is something many businesses are currently utilizing. And what better way to explain data visualization than by using a visualization? Check out this video for more on the subject.
4. Getting attention on social media
Finally, visuals are extremely effective when trying to cut through the noise and engage users on social media. While news articles and blog posts do get shared, they aren’t nearly as powerful as videos, images, and graphics.
Scroll through your Facebook or Twitter newsfeeds at any given moment and you’re bound to see dozens of videos and pictures. The fact of the matter is visuals get shared. If you want to reach your audience, you must make an investment in this area.
Make visuals a priority
At the end of the day, businesses cannot ignore the value of visual content. Whether it’s training employees or reaching potential customers through social media, visual content is exponentially more powerful than static text. If you want to be successful this year, you need to make visuals a priority.
And if you’d like to see how content curation can help you improve SEO, you should read this eBook!
Image by SAM Nasim.