It’s often been said that the visual sense is so prominent that we partially “eat with our eyes” – If something is not visually attractive, we are less likely to enjoy eating it.
Whether places, people or objects, we are surrounded by things that stimulate our visual senses on an ongoing basis; perhaps even more so than you realise.
Marketers vigorously compete to captivate our attention in this way.
Why Focus on Online Visuals?
The internet is clearly a prime area that marketers can exploit visual stimulation, as the viewer’s attention is already on the screen. Advertisers have even more opportunities now that high speed networks and low-cost data are so widely available.
Marketers have also been presented with increasing ways to reach audiences, following a rapid growth in Smartphone use and use of social media networks.
Today’s digital marketing world is full of opportunities for visually appealing to your target audience.
Demand for Visual Stimulation
After spending a few minutes online, you cannot fail to see the impressive use of images in all kinds of content. Figures also suggest that demand for visual content online is high.
From 2011 to 2012, Pinterest grew 1047% through unique visitors, according to the visual discovery tool.
Instagram was established in 2010 and now has more than 16 billion photos on it! It has 130 million users and generates an astonishing 1 billion “likes” per day.
So why do images appeal to your target market?
A mixture of stimulants, including innovative and informative visuals and audio is often the most effective way to reach a wide audience.
Visuals appear to be influencing more people than ever before, so even for those who learn well through instruction, visuals can be a helpful support and retain interest.
Professor of Communication, Paul Messaris, suggests that images persuade in three basic ways; through iconicity, indexicality, and syntactic indeterminacy.
- Iconicity: This is where images persuade by functioning as icons, which means that they resemble the things they represent. An image can symbolise an idea or summarise a concept. This can be very useful when trying to explain a complex service or detailed concept.
- Indexicality: Images such as photos and videos in particular can also persuade by documenting an event or scenario that has taken place. Such use of images may be obvious or may require interpretation on the part of the viewer. This can be useful in marketing as it can intrigue viewers and inform them of a precise situation in which your product can be useful.
- Syntactic Indeterminacy: Visual imagery is simple in that it cannot be explicit about connections such as causality, analogy, or other relationships other than those of space or time. This can be persuasive in itself, but when marketers need to make relationships clear, text or animation (including techniques and movement) can be used.
Since information exchange with still images is limited, the use of animated video for marketing has increased significantly in recent years.
The use of different techniques in animation can help to symbolise an idea while making relationships clear, including dynamic information such as time.
Visuals are a prominent factor in social media. The highly influential image databases of Pinterest and Instagram can refer truckloads of traffic to your website, while posts on Facebook that have a photo get more “likes” and shares than those that don’t.
On Twitter, featuring a video or a link can also make your tweet more original and attract more attention.
People are increasingly seeking information on their mobile devices before making purchasing decisions. Creating visual content and video that is appropriate for this medium has therefore taken up more and more of marketers’ time of late.
Given the small screen sizes on these devices, simplified media can be more effective. Content that is too detailed can be overwhelming to visitors and difficult to decipher on the small screen.
Visuals that are easy on the eye will engage viewers more than a block of text. Written information and a narrative in an animated video can help to attract and inform viewers even more.
24 Million Smartphone users in the US watch online videos on their mobiles at least once a month, according to eMarketer statistics.Some users stream many hours of video a month in addition to sharing videos and photos on social networks, indicating a significant preference for visuals.
Generate Traffic with Your Visuals
High quality visual content and videos will rank highly in search engines. They will also be shared, resulting in increased links and even better SEO.
Quality visual marketing can thus generate significantly increased traffic to your website.
The more that online users interact and engage with your content, the better for your brand.
When people watch an interesting video with creative visuals, they will look at who produced the video and are likely to retain this information.
If a positive image is conveyed through your visual and supporting content, this can be invaluable to your brand identity.
Encouraging people to view your content, stay engaged and learn about your product has been proven to attract an increase in conversions.
Of course the extent of this will depend on what your product/service offers to the viewer, or even what your concept offers to society. Your brand values and actions will also impact on what viewers do after viewing your content. If you convey your positive assets well with your visuals and marketing content, you could experience a considerable boost in sales.
What is your favourite social medium for watching videos or viewing pictures? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below.
This post was written by Dr Manroop Takhar.