When was the last time you read a piece of information and forgot the contents of it three days later? You probably read this information without accompanying visual content. The likelihood of you remembering it is 10%. If you were to read the exact same details paired with an image, the likelihood of you retaining that content is 65% within the same timeframe. Huge huh? Visual content is at the forefront of the digital marketing playing field, which is why it’s important that all channels need focus in different ways to ensure that your visual content doesn’t go stale and unheard. With visual listening (what is it?) on the rise, brands need to also be on the lookout for how indirect praise such as product placement from consumers in photos can be effective for future strategies. Here are our top tips to improve your marketing strategy through visual content.
The results? If done effectively, imagery can:
- Improve Your SEO Value – Incorporating a search-friendly meta-description on your images followed by captions, allows for search engines to index your content. In other words, your content will show up on both search and image results, increasing the chance of discovery from visitors.
- Increase Web-Traffic by up to 12% – Adding an infographic to your website with colourful visuals and informative yet digestible content can significantly reduce your bounce-back rate.
- Assist Social Media Engagement – A good way to draw visitors to your social media content is to embed the relevant buttons on your blogs, so if you have material which is worth sharing, it gives the reader ease to do it all from your website. You can also link your site back from your social content to secure your chances of capturing potential leads.
Your website is how you and your brand are perceived from potential clients, so pixelated images aren’t going to cut it, unfortunately. It’s essential to use professional, clean, and high-resolution images that show off your brand and increase SEO value. Be selective with your website imagery; similar images spread across the website can look static and won’t pull in much attention. Instead, utilise your brand colours, look into GIFs, and subtly add call-to-actions (CTA’s) where applicable.
Be sure to leverage your social media channels correctly. Using Twitter as an example, using images with appropriate accompanying text gets 150% more retweets than tweets without images. Bear in mind this is no guarantee, the content you’re posting needs to be relevant and engaging to get the best results. As mentioned earlier, infographics can add a whole lot of good for your content. They work on all social networking sites pretty well; providing you have made the information easily digestible and fun to read. No-one likes reading boring content. Make your images pop! Be mindful of image sizes which correspond to different devices and apps; you don’t want to have a banner design ready for Facebook and Twitter, upload it, then realise that the dimensions are entirely different.
To also get the most out your social media strategy, look at visual listening. You’re looking for interactions with your brand indirectly through images posted on social media channels. It allows marketers to identify and analyse images providing an understanding of how and when your brand is being interacted with visually. It requires image recognition from a follower which is usually formed from a sight of a logo within a picture, without actually stating what logo it is. Have you ever seen a TV show where you can spot a good old can of Coca-Cola on the table? Call it product placement or define it as a key visual listening technique to monitor consumer behaviour. Integrate visual listening with the help of your own following. Images from consumers that indirectly mention your brand go further than you might think.
Another factor to note is social media channels require different imagery for optimum engagement. For example, utilise Instagram to demonstrate your brand persona and use Twitter to be conversational with the use of GIFs. To increase engagement, use bold fonts and colours respective of your brand within your imagery, to stand out on social media sites. According to Buzzsumo, Facebook posts with images received 2.3x more engagement than posts without images. What does this mean for marketers and business owners alike? That you can’t afford to miss out on engagement opportunities which require just a little bit of legwork to get the results.
Print advertising holds a different ballgame in the world of marketing; once held as the most effective form of advertising, it is now getting increasingly challenging to captivate a reader walking past a bus stop, unless you’re Oasis. Their campaign ‘O Refreshing Stuff‘ was a twist on bog-standard advertising, which boasted honest and playful text on the print of one of their ads, ‘Please don’t stand in front of this poster. It cost a lot of money‘. Oasis wouldn’t have gotten away with the text if their illustration wasn’t clear enough that the ads were targeted to millennials. It resonated so well because the image struck a chord with the audience they were communicating with by using energetic colours, eye-catching illustration, and youthful tone. Which is why it’s crucial that marketers clearly understand who they are targeting. Design without a message is valueless!
A key takeaway if you’re considering print advertising regarding making your images pop, is to focus on the illustration, and the message. Consider the same ideas for newspaper and magazine prints. Is it really captivating? Is your ad good enough for a passer-by to actually stop and take in the information? If these boxes can’t be ticked, it might be a journey back to the boardroom.
With GDPR giving email marketing a big hit, marketers need to tailor their email campaigns to the individual without crossing the EU barricade that is GDPR. You need to be careful with using images in emails, because the internal algorithms within web-based email services (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo!) mark your email as ‘spam’ if you use too many large images, inappropriately named images, or oddly sourced images among many other factors that can tarnish an email campaign. It is important to use images that complement the brand; you can use stock photography if you don’t have original photos. Sites such as Unsplash and Stocksy can fulfil your needs. It’s not compulsory, but it’s appreciated by the photographers to provide credit where possible. Choose wisely though and make sure it’s relevant to your brand, because stock photos can sometimes come across as generic and can struggle to convey a scene within an email; something you definitely don’t want if you’re after leads.
To avoid images being stretched or squished, make sure that image size is correct and fits well with the rest of the content. Also, use whatever assets your brand already has. People need to know who the communicator really is; a logo image can demonstrate this perfectly. The goal is to drive engagement through meaningful imagery.
Although you might think you’ve nailed this email, it’s useful to do some trial and error. Consider AB testing, by comparing two emails with the same content using different colours on the images or playing with non-identical layouts. Even consider a new image. These changes can make all the difference for your conversion rates.