The Shift to Visual Content Has Begun

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Social media – and the internet as a whole – is always changing. New trends are being introduced frequently and users are seeking different types of content based on these trends. A few years ago, a simple article with an accompanying photo was enough. Today, however, visual content is where you need to invest your time and money.

A Change in Behaviour

Social media platforms and blogs are using the power of visual content to their advantage. Instead of a long article explaining a particular subject, websites now use infographics, filled with visual elements to make the same points.

The same can be said for social media users and content creators. YouTube started the whole shift a few years ago with their video hosting platform. We’ve seen a lot of breakthroughs over the years too; the hit Gangnam Style video is a good example.

The one thing that tied this new trend together, however, was accessibility. It is easier than ever to take pictures, design infographics, produce videos and make the whole social media scene visual. Platforms are reacting to the shift too, making stickers, GIFs and other visual contents more easily accessible.

It’s not just a short-term trend. In 2012, YouTube started to get more than 4 billion views a day. The top traffic sources today are visual-based social media platforms, including Facebook and Pinterest. The latter specialises in sharing visuals.

shift to visual content.
The shift to visual content.

What Does This Mean for Your Brand?

The shift to visual content means you need to convey your marketing-related messages using visuals to be able to reach a wider audience; it sounds simple, but it’s much harder to implement than you think. Instead of long-form tutorials, for instance, sharing an infographic on Twitter or Facebook is now more effective.

Competitors are taking the same route too, which means there’s one other challenge to face: differentiating your brand’s visual content among millions of others. According to Warren Green, Head of Productions at Spiel, storytelling – and the stories you tell – is the key to success.

The visual elements are there to tell a story

“The visual elements are there to tell a story and connect with viewers on a personal level,” Green says.

We can see this approach being taken by many top brands with successful visual content marketing campaigns. GoPro’s recent Hero in Action campaign is one that exceeded expectation, celebrating the heroes around us and touching a lot of viewers.

The campaign is particularly interesting because it tells a strong story, one that’s not part of GoPro’s usual routine of videos showing skateboarders and surfers. It exploded and garnered more than 32 million views on YouTube.

The Next Step

The shift to visual content is here to stay, according to many experts in the industry. Video content is getting better and other visual posts – including slideshows, infographics and animated GIFs – are beginning to be used as part of internet marketing campaigns.

The next step is to be part of this shift in trend and start taking advantage of the higher engagement rate that visual content now offers. Through careful planning and well-curated content, your next photo or infographic could easily turn into sales or subscriptions.

Boris Dzhingarov is a business writer who investigates issues to craft great stories that readers love.