Visual content has been an engagement leader for decades. Stats claim that video is going to seize as much as 80% of total Internet traffic within the next two years. Fifty percent of surveyed marketers reveal that video in particular brings the best return on investment.
In a recent poll conducted by Vengage, 53% of respondents said that 91-100% of their published content contained visual material.
To get things started, I have to mention “Tool.” This production company laconically depicted their efforts to embrace and invent new technology with an outstanding show reel.
It is widely accepted to never stop at text-only content, even if you’ve recruited the best writer on the market. Ninety percent of information absorbed by the brain is visual. Pictures and images are better remembered and kept in mind longer.
To take your user’s experience to the next level (creating brand awareness and recognition, building a loyal community, earning trust) you want to convert your thoughts and ideas into engaging visual experiences.
Bearing in mind that our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, we are left wondering if plain text content has any chance of working at all.
Text content interspersed with images or video draws 94% more views than plain text alone. Landing pages with video convert customers 86% more frequently. Show, don’t tell.
Use stunning photography and graphics to tell amazing stories. Starbucks took this photo of Lady Gaga in one of their stores to promote their charity activity – #Cupsofkindness campaign.
As previously mentioned, stats indicate that videos beat any other type of content in impact. A brief quality video placed appropriately on your resource will satisfy the short attention spans of users while showcasing the extra mile you have gone to inspire them.
Some types of videos to consider for your blog or landing page are:
- influencer videos
- how-to videos
- explainer videos
- whiteboard videos
- product demos, like this one from Oribe Hair Care landing page. Here they have accomplished a multi-purpose trick – combining a landing page video presentation, a new pre-shampoo treatment demonstration and a “buy” button follow-up.
- webcam streaming videos like the one on Baltimore National Aquarium’s site, showcasing a beautiful underwater world on display in real time, whenever you enter the site.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts seize my attention with their Private Jet and “Journey of a Lifetime”, a trip embracing several continents and various cultures. The page very conveniently features a “TALK TO US” button. It adds to the pleasure of UX, to know a visitor has been thought of and discuss arrangement details with a company representative.
Tip: customize your video content according to how your buyer personas consume information (smartphone/tablet or desktop).
A tool as simple as a photograph can potentially become a powerful sales instrument. Let me mention this site of Clothing Designer Stella McCartney. Interestingly enough, this “School of Music” campaign drew me in when I clicked the “Stella’s World” button.
Using the power of sympathy and sentiment, the author uncovers an entire story behind this project. Each and every photo of a kid with a cello or a sax suddenly tells us something. As Stella shares her actual experience of getting to know the children and their backgrounds, the overall picture acquires color and real life emotion, evoking something in a visitor’s heart that is really hard to fake.
The cute kids’ photos are accompanied by a mention of “Stella Kids” clothing collection and a “Shop the Story” button. In the afterglow – it’s hard to resist.
Infographics are a touchy subject. An SEO consultant from Seattle considers them less valuable than some other forms of visual content. Despite the fact that they are sometimes hard to view on mobile devices, they can still be of use. Infographics are capable of conveying considerable amounts of data, facilitating its intake. People do sometimes get carried away with heavy image elements, making them cumbersome graffiti lookalikes, rather than educational tools. But if performed wisely with impactful design and data, Infographics have serious future potential for social shares, backlinks and additional traffic.
Here is an example from Orange County Weekly.
Artist Tyler Hoehne has done a great job with this piece for a few reasons:
- it has three distinct themes;
- the beer brewing process is made very easy to understand;
- content within the graphics educates users, prompting them to discover further;
- drawings are done simplistically, making them easy to consume and appealing visitors;
- the author does not miss a single detail, respectfully presenting the entire process from A to Z.
When you choose to create an infographic of your own, use these tips to get the most out of it:
- make it free of charge
- share it on social media
- use your personal network to spread
- reach out to your niche bloggers and influencers
- affirm your credit on the work done
- leave an actual link to Infographics on your site
- create an “embed” button to make it easier to access
- post to infographics submission sites
5. 360-Spherical Panoramas
This newer content marketing instrument is a great addition for sites that sell jewelry, mobile devices or even toys. Tourism may benefit from placing 360 degree panoramas on their recourse. When there is a need to demonstrate a particular detail in macro mode or to give users a 3D view of your product, these panoramas come in handy. Use them when pointing to your location, like Hollywood Sephora did right here (thanks to Google Maps).
You can view the shot in VR set and choose a variety of Navigation Models as suggested by the resource.
The embed/share button up top, considering their high quality content, gives the site 360cities.net great traffic.
6. Comics, Illustrations, Storyboards
Storyboarding and illustrations are a low-pressure way of walking users through a story without impeding the learning process. This tool is great for:
- setting visual cues
- boosting content productivity
In this particular case Exploris Aquarium in Northern Ireland uses a cute story-telling approach to display an adventure map to pique visitors’ anticipation. The visual data display leads to an instant grasp of information. Animated images and fun names engage children and adults in the potential journey.
A screenshot is a real traffic capturing instrument if placed appropriately. Annotated screenshots are used to visually confirm a claim or a piece of data (forums, reviews, comments). Proving an opinion or pointing to a peculiar detail has never been easier. Use screenshots as your trust building tool. In this article Kissmetrics shows us users’ comments on a new Trello community and tells us how Hubspot earned loads of traffic, boosting their Facebook shares.
In this case we see how Semrush points to particular data to elaborate on a point given in their guide to link building.
8. Quote Graphics, Memes
Quote graphics and memes are a powerful tools commonly used in SMM whose limits are endless. Think of memes and quotes as snippets of worldly wisdom that will help you work your way up the SERPs. Lena West from Influence Expansion did a great job unfolding this topic. Look up her enthusiastic approach at one of the MOZ’s Whiteboard Fridays.
Speaking of quotes, I know someone abusive of quote graphics:
Quote graphics actually wallpaper Gary Vee’s site and all of his social media. And obviously It Works!
9. Charts, Spreadsheets, Graphs
Content Marketing Institute is very good at using graphs and charts in their everblooming reports:
PDFs are visual assets that are quite straightforward and pretty easy to share. Make it free of charge, and your users with thank you by backlinking. Semrush itself shared their Guide to a Site Audit not long ago.
Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral site has a dusk to dawn animation on the home page, depicting the lighting changes throughout the day. A tag “Allumer une Bougie” is added on the lower right, where you can pay for a candle to be lit in your name at the famous Cathedral. As visitors scroll down the home page they can read more about the large scale restoration campaign that the two-Euro candles are funding.
Are a seemingly marginal attribute to a content marketing strategy. If you look closer, you’ll see that contextual usage of a good GIF may do magic by:
connecting visitors emotionally
prompting bursts of joy that inevitably add to your brand’s positive image
enhancing your message
Here is Robert Downey Jr. at Coschedule confirming that, “sadly that standard ratio of ONE photo to ONE post for every message…
…just isn’t cutting it.”
A well-designed and thoughtful logo is a priceless addition to any brand. As a major graphic representation, a logo aids brand recognition. Thanks to colors, fonts and images logos provide essential information about a company:
- field/industry of the brand
- the brand name through creative design
- the brand’s stand-out qualities
There is nothing better for a learning marketer’s brain than a well prepared widescreen presentation. Keep your text to a minimum, and rethink your visuals. Let your color scheme be a little different from what you’ve seen a hundred times before in Powerpoint. Consider converting your content into slides to increase traffic. Content Marketing Institute has done just that, and quite successfully.
15. Interactive Scenarios
Adidas stands out with their Create with MiAdidas feature. The interactive page invites visitors to pick the blanc core of the shoe and design it to their own taste. Like a coloring book.
To cap it off, let me point out a few qualities that make up the most distributed pieces of content these days:
- original (authentic, preferably your own – uniqueness will add to your site’s ranking in SERPs)
- actual (well timed content that sparks user’s current interests)
- relevant (applicable to your buyer personas interests)
- consumable ( snackable pieces, easy to digest and spread)
- valuable (make your content an educational experience)
- interactive (brings dynamics and persuasive power to the UX)
Battling competitors in the UX field may seem challenging. Still, a customer-focused marketer keeps improving interactive content to engage, profile, and convert clients.