“A picture speaks a thousand words” - A classic old-age adage. No matter how clichéd it gets, it is going to gain a substantial significance in the coming years for digital marketers. With the inception and rise of visual social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest the importance of brand building and marketing through visual content has re-escalated. What was so far limited to creating YouTube specific ad-campaigns, has now unfolded into an entire segment of image and video based marketing strategies that aim to reach out to the consumers in every form - graphic, infographics, slides, animation, images, videos, etc.
The Rise of Instagram
When Instagram launched in 2010, it was an iOS only app, rather derisory by its own standards. No one took a social media app focused around posting images seriously. It took Instagram nearly 2 years to gather its first 50 million users. Between 2012 and mid-2013, though, courtesy its Android app, Instagram drew 50 million more users within nine months itself. By the time 2013 ended, Instagram had crossed the 150 million user mark. By the end of first quarter of 2014, Instagram alone grew faster than Twitter and Facebook combined and had already hit the 200 million users mark. Where did this sudden spurt come from? What was the reason behind it?
Why the Sudden Volley?
The reasons are many, but the primarily the answer lies in the human mind and eye. Humans tend to connect with visuals better than words. A jumping Cheshire cat by the dumpster will any day attract more people than a short story that describes the jumping of a Cheshire cat.
Secondly, the rise of smartphones, tablets, and phablets with progressively enhanced screen resolutions is only helping visual content gain more influence. The advancement of technology has made both the creation and viewing of slick and responsive designs possible. The general consensus is that if apps and websites are becoming pretty, why shouldn’t their marketing supplements too? More the pretty content, more the engaging it is. More the content is engaging, the more it will pull in consumers.
While working on dedicated social networks and focus on visual content is comprehensible, marketers have started working on designs that work across multiple social platforms. Infographics are a classic example - they work on visual content centered platforms as well as traditional social media websites.
According to the Adobe Digital Index Report (April 2013), the viral reach of video-based posts are nearly 48% more than those of normal posts. Even on Twitter, video-embedded tweets get nearly three times more engagement than normal marketing content. As a result, more brands are using the less-content-more-design approach to marketing now. The new buzzword to have entered this canvas is visual storytelling. Narrating stories through design and images or using a video to convey a story is the ‘in’ thing.
It is only a matter of time before we see a complete integration between visual content and the Web. In the coming years, more and more creative people will jump into the fray and participate in what is being known as ‘beautification of the web’.