How Visual Content Engages the Audience
This world is a visual world; nine times out of ten, a person will ignore a block of text in favor of a visual aid. In fact, a piece of text accompanied by a relevant image will get 94% more views than text
alone. With the opportunity to engage your audience’s attention reduced to mere seconds, the use of imagery is more important than ever before. Marketing has become less about presenting a persuasive message, and more about connecting with viewers in a fast and highly effective way. It is less about information-heavy content, and more about communicating as much as possible with as little as possible, and this is done visually.
Firstly, let’s talk about the power of symbols, and communicating through colors and shapes. Symbols are an ever pervasive part of society: think of road signs, directions, the increasing use of emojis – even IKEA instructions rely heavily on symbols. The reason that symbols are becoming a more prominent part of everyday life is because people are becoming more skilled at interpreting them. You can therefore communicate a lot of information in a small space.
The first symbol that your viewers will come into contact with is your logo. It should communicate clearly who you are, and how you want to be perceived. When someone sees your logo, they should instantly think of you and what you do, in the same way that when someone sees the Golden Arches of McDonald’s, they instantly think of burgers and fries. What comprises a logo is shapes and colors, and these also tend to run as a theme through the rest of the company imaging.
Shape and color are crucial in how we perceive companies and representatives. It is fairly well known that there are some colors that are universally aligned with meanings; it is generally believed that the color red indicates passion, and the color blue indicates tranquility. A quick Google search will provide you with sundry lists of colors and their meanings, but keep in mind that there are a few colors that have culturally subjective meanings. Beyond this general understanding though, there have been quite a few recent studies that suggest behavioral changes based on color. The color red, for example, has been proven to stimulate the speed and force of reactions, and when all black was present, negative qualities were associated. There is still more research needed, but you can see the potential that it clearly has.
Shape also brings symbolic meaning. This has been linked to evolutionary experience that things that are sharp will hurt, and things that are rounded will comfort. People tend to feel more affectionate toward symbols that make use of rounded shapes.
How does all of this affect how people perceive you and your company? Combining all of these ingredients might seem like the best way to make your website into an enticing cake, but too much of anything is a bad thing. If you try too hard to incorporate every possible aspect of the visual experience, you will likely hit your visitors with information overload, and they won’t likely return. Instead, think hard about the message that you want to send, and communicate it in a concise and simple way. This is, after all, what symbols are there for.
Beyond the subconscious effects of symbols, there is the overt use of images and the effects. Researchers have found that colored images increase people’s willingness to read content by 80%, not to mention that visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared on social media than non-visual content. People clearly engage with imagery – and this imagery isn’t just pictures but also videos, charts, infographics, and more. There is so much that you can do to connect with your audience. Also, images including and featuring faces have proven to be much more well-received than any other type of image content.
The benefits of visuals translate not only into engagement but also into visibility. With the inclusion of widgets for social media sites on your website, you can make your presence known across multiple platforms. Pinterest, for example, is an incredibly popular image-based social media platform that not only provides buying potential but also viral potential. Over 80% of pins on Pinterest are re-pins, making it much more likely for one image to be seen by hundreds of thousands of people. With videos expected to make up 90% of internet content by 2019, making videos available on YouTube could also prove vital to staying relevant.
Not only can images help you cross social media platforms, but they can also greatly contribute to your SEO (search engine optimization). When your viewers stop and interact with your website, they increase the engagement traffic, which raises the ranking of your site; this is what puts you as a top result for searches relating to you. To increase engagement traffic, you should make sure that your images and videos load quickly, are relevant, and are high quality. Don’t forget to tag your videos as much as possible so that they show up in all relevant searches. You are also now able to measure the impact of image SEO. Google Webmaster Tools is a useful system for monitoring the progress of your image.
The imagery that you’re searching for certainly isn’t difficult to find. Of course, you can develop your own custom imagery, but this can be a massive task for smaller sites. While custom visuals come with relevance and specificity, production, time, and expertise costs can prove to be less than economical. On the other hand, stock photos and videos can be a great option financially but might not have the content that you’re looking for. In saying that, the bigger stock visuals providers, such as Dreamstime, are going to have so much to offer that you’re bound to find what you need. Ultimately though, it comes down to what is going to best suit you, and what you’re trying to communicate.
It is said that 86% of all learning is visual, so imagery is a key communicator. In the fast-paced environment of the internet, saying everything that you need to say is almost always only possible through a visual medium.