Only a few seconds decide whether a consumer reads a message or clicks it away immediately. Images help to make consumers perceive content in the first place as our brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than pure text. It is proven that three days after people have read information, they usually only remember 10% of the content; however, if the same information is conveyed with relevant images, the proportion increases to 65%. The magic word is therefore 'visual storytelling', which is highly effective in a skillful combination of image and text.
The following tips might help you to implement visual storytelling successfully:
1. Use the right ingredients
For “visual storytelling”, the entire range of visual forms of representation is available - from graphics and infographics to photos and videos. They all have different strengths, so you must find out which type of visual content is best for you to achieve what you are pursuing, and which talents are required.
- Graphics can reduce complexity and illustrate facts, making content easier to understand.
- Infographics are a fusion of graphic and typographic elements; hence, they are suitable, e.g. to clarify relationships, functions, or time flows.
- Photos have little explanatory effect but can generate emotions. Just make sure the photo fits perfectly to the topic - otherwise it will not work.
- Videos are currently the most popular form of content. Vidyard revealed in a study that more than 70% of marketers say that moving pictures convert better than other content. Videos are the easiest to consume and are, for example, very suitable for social media channels.
2. Develop a consistent world of images and picture language
Ideally, all visuals that you use during the customer journey come from the same world of images, so that the customer has a recognition effect. Depending on the task, you can adjust the visuals accordingly. Perhaps you are using an infographic on a blog to explain a topic, but this graphic would be too complicated as a Facebook post. Instead, select a section (or even better create a video from the infographic) to create a uniform appearance for the consumer, which tells a coherent story at different levels. The best thing to do when designing a visual is to think about how you can reuse it across different channels. This saves time and money and helps you to develop a consistent world of images.
3. Combine text and image
Text and Images are an unbeatable team: both have individual strengths and work at different levels in the brain. The human brain captures texts rather analytical, while images more emotional and peripheral. To convey a complex issue as simply as possible, you need both: texts that explain and images that make the content easier to digest. Only together text and image become strong and can optimally convey a message. To do this, they must of course be optimally coordinated. In fact, a picture says no more than a thousand words, but it can make things simpler and shorter, attract attention, arouse emotions, and thereby help texts get started. In combination with pictures, you need fewer words to convey more content.
“Marketers today need little convincing that video is a powerful content form. By every measure —lead creation, conversions, SERP ranking, time on page, likes, shares and any other form of engagement—video’s power to inform and persuade is unmatched,” said Jeff Loeb, CMO at Vidyard.
Considering his arguments and the fact that we are live in an 'economy of attention”, which means attention is becoming more and more valuable and can be exchanged for money, this has noticeable consequences for our daily work. Communicators must come up with something new at shorter and shorter intervals to stand out from the crowd. Videos currently work particularly well because they match our urge for visuality and speed. Still, images and videos cannot replace texts, and it is more about a combination of the advantages of both. While texts explain and act more on an analytical level, pictures make content easier to grasp, experience and understand. Marketers just have to make sure that both complement each other and do not drift apart in their statements.
By Daniela La Marca