When the cavemen created their first visual stories 10.000 years ago, they were actually laying the foundation of visual storytelling. And I bet you are all familiar with the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”. It can even be said that it’s in our DNA to be able to create visual stories to convey important pieces of information…
The Shift of Visual Social Media
As you might remember, blogs were one of the earliest forms of social networking. People were writing about a 1000 words to communicate their stories. A few years later, starting from 2004, we moved to status updates on Facebook, and our posts became shorter. Not much later, micro-blogging like Twitter came along and shortened our updates to 140 characters. And now we are even skipping words altogether, as we are moving towards more visual communication with social-sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest.
What Does This Shift Mean For Your Business?
Even though popular social-sharing websites might seem like an overnight sensation, our mind is more attracted to images then to text. Besides that, research shows us that we check our phones 150 times a day. We check our email on average 30 times an hour. Next to that, 27.000 pieces of content are shared each day (content study by Aol & Nielsen). And believe it or not, but our average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013 (NOTE: this is one second less than a gold fish!).
The facts above are actually quite shocking. It proves more than ever that your message will not be easily processed by your target audience because of the overload of information of others. It is even true that all the available information is creating a battle between marketers in order to attract the customers’ attention.
At the other hand, the stats above show that we are all drawn to (online) visual content in more ways than ever before and that there lies a massive opportunity for your online business.
If you adjust your marketing mix and start to make use of the popular visual social networking sites, your business has already built the foundation of success. So I strongly advise you to learn how to use images, video and other visual media in online marketing. You’ll then have a greater chance of reaching more people with just simple visual messages. This then provides the opportunity for more exposure as visuals drive traffic to your websites’ products or services.
Why Should You Use Visual Content?
The popularity of visuals exist for one single reason: images evoke an emotional reaction with an immediacy that no other medium offers. For alert marketers, this transition means something very special, namely; the ability to move a consumer from a transactional relationship to an emotional one.
Emotional relationships help to give a “face” to a brand and form deeper, more durable connections between the consumer and the brand. The increasing shift towards a more visual web is giving brand entirely new ways to form more emotional connections with their consumers. The visual story is an important part of capturing the attention and affinity of consumers. To be effective, these stories need a narrative that brings the images to life and communicates the brand’s identity. Experimentation, creativity and planning are key, but above all keep your story relevant!