You might think that creating great visual content is time-consuming and expensive. So why would any self-respecting business bother? Here’s why.
Visual marketing didn’t take off in the past for one reason, and one reason only: internet speed. On a 56.6k dial-up model, a standard, one-megabyte image took 30 seconds to download. But things have changed a lot. Now the average global download speed has hit 22 MB/s on a desktop and about half that on mobile. It all means that that same one-megabyte images now takes just 0.08 of a second to download, even on mobile.
Have you ever wondered why marketing usually revolves around images? It’s because our brains are much better at processing visual data than text. We take in a lot more when we view a scene than we do when we read a document. And it’s all down to evolution. We’ve been using vision to process our environment for millions of years. Whereas most people only started reading texts once, the Guttenberg press got going back in the 15th century.
Camera manufacturers market their cameras for different audiences. For instance, the Nikon D750 is marketed at sports and action professionals. The Olympus Stylus, on the other hand, is designed for those who want to add artistic touches to their shots. Why is the market segmented like this? Because customers are demanding features that will make their photography more engaging.
Curate recently did a study on the subject. They wanted to find out if including an image alongside text improved click-through rates on websites. What they found was astonishing. When an image was included alongside text, click-through rates soared by more than 47 percent.
Twitter Media wanted to understand why their platform had grown to be so popular. They analyzed more than 2 million Tweets and what they found was quite amazing. It turned out that the biggest driver of reTweets wasn’t the hashtag, quotes or video URLs. It was photo URLS. According to their research, photos boost reTweet rates by more than 35 percent. That’s more than double the effect of including a hashtag.
Science often unearths interesting facts about human behavior. But the finding that people find claims more credible when coupled with an image is particularly interesting. Researchers presented participants with a statement. The statement was that macadamia nuts are in the same family as peaches. Participants were asked to respond whether the claim was true or false. Interestingly, when they were shown an image of some macadamia nuts alongside the statement, they were more likely to say it was true. In other words, photos made statements more believable, even if the photos were otherwise neutral.
The Education Technology Research and Development Journal recently asked if pictures aid understanding. They divided participants into two groups and showed them both a bottle. One of the bottles had a text warning; the other had a pictorial warning. 70 percent of people rated the text only bottle as being dangerous. But 95 percent rated the graphic warning as dangerous.
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