Visual marketing is a valuable tool for linking your marketing message to visual media such as images, videos, infographics, signs, adverts, and more.
People are inherently attracted to non-verbal sources of information. So if actions speak louder than words then you better believe that images speak louder than text.
That’s why we’d like to explore the importance of visual marketing, and delve into its many different forms – such as User Generated Content, visual data, and videos – and the ways that brands use them to improve their visibility, positioning, and performance online. Visuals and graphics, after all, are deemed to be the most effective way to grab the attention of your audience quickly, communicate with your demographic efficiently, and make sure your brand leaves a sweet-tasting, lasting impression with consumers.
What is Visual Marketing? Marketing strategies catalyzed by visual media
With the quickly advancing technology in our lives, it’s important for companies to keep up with the whirlwind speeds of internet culture and produce memorable content that catches the eye of the consumer. With changing algorithms, perpetual updates and the expense of people’s time, the need to find effective ways to communicate with your demographic is ever-more prevalent.
Visual content has certainly exploded in recent years, becoming the leading trend for marketing strategists and the evidence behind its effectiveness is practically screaming at you. Where consumers retain only approximately 10-15% of the written and audio information they have consumed in the past couple of days, visual content retention rates smash it out of the park with approximately 60% of visual content on social media retained by users.
Visual marketing strategies like UGC, give a consumer much more confidence in a product than if you were to just advertise it using text. This is owing to numerous studies which demonstrate that people judge relationship quality based on the strength of non-verbal cues.
Take, for example, a pair of Nike trainers. Is it more convincing to tell you these trainers will look good on you or show you an eye-catching image of these trainers on a real person?
This goes to show how captivating images are in comparison to textual content. You are given visual proof of what it means or what it will look like to have a certain product in your life. It can take a thousand words to say what an image can convey effortlessly and they can so easily communicate abstract and complex concepts. In light of this, visuals can invoke emotions, if you want a positive feeling associated with your product, a positive image placed in your marketing strategy is likely to influence your consumers.
It is also worth noting that visuals are universal, there is no language barrier or hindrance in communication and they allow you to tell a story, which can also be a powerful marketing tool as it allows you to connect with your consumers on a more emotional and instinctual level.
In the world of online shopping, visuals become a stamp of confirmation. They are much more engaging than simple text and induce more interaction between the brand and the consumer. They also help the viewer to retain information in a more stimulating way, through an emotional connection that can only be produced through visual imagery.
A study that investigated the impact of visuals on consumers identified three dimensions that dominate a viewer’s response to a certain communicated message:
- Emotional content – something that can target the consumer’s emotions, whether it be relatable or something they can empathize with
- Informational content – something to enlighten your consumers, interesting information about your products and brand
- Format – a captivating structure to showcase the above elements
With these factors working together in your own visual content, you can induce a much stronger reaction from your consumers resulting in a higher level of engagement. Essentially, these factors point to more interaction between brand and consumer, which possesses a vast array of advantages to your marketing strategies in itself.
Fundamentally, marketing strategies that target a consumer’s emotions through an eye-catching format invoke a stronger reaction from viewers, with longer recall, increasing the chances of them sharing your products with others and investing their own loyalty with your brand.
The research within this study confirms the advantageous effects of visual content in advertising, stating that visual elements within marketing strategies help to portray complex and diverse messages, which a consumer can then use to develop a perspective on your brand.
This way, the consumer reacts with an emotional response to your products, which stimulates attitude formation of the brand as a whole and assigns value to it.
When an emotional connection between the consumer and the brand is created it means that they are much more likely to invest their time, money, and confidence in your products. This connection encourages the all-important gift of customer loyalty and provides you with an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your audience in the future. This same theory can be applied to your products.
Visual marketing has certainly grown in popularity through advances in technology. The average person spends over four hours of their day on their phone, making digital content ever more relevant in the lives of consumers. With the ease and rapid nature of today’s technology, it is imperative to utilize a tool that will capture a consumer’s valuable attention.
With all of this evidence in favor of visual content, how exactly would you achieve an effective visual marketing strategy? Read on and we shall give you all of the ins and outs of creating successful visual marketing campaigns.
Visual content in an eCommerce store: Your golden ticket to consumer engagement
Before you dive into the visual content strategies below, it is important to fully understand the types of visual content that you would find in an eCommerce store. The more you know about the types of visual content that are available, the more you can utilize them, experiment with them, and just have fun with them in improving your overall strategy.
Product images are known to be the single most influential feature for digital purchases made by smartphone owners and 67% of consumers claim that the quality of a product image is very important for selecting and purchasing it. A striking image of your product is likely to capture your viewers’ attention. Not to mention, there is an abundance of methods to spice up these images to induce further engagement with your audience.
Here are some of the main types of visual content that today’s online brands are leveraging throughout the online buying journey in order to inspire more interaction with their product catalog:
- User Generated Content featuring your products and collected from social media
- 3D videos
- Cut-away videos where your product is dissected in front of the consumer
- 360-degree images
- Zoomable images
- Product images
Instagram has a remarkable ability to market visual products, but what makes this stronger is the introduction of shoppable images. This is where you can tag products and users are directed straight to buying the product all in one simple click. The ease and attraction of product images with these kinds of strategies supporting them is unmatched and a huge incentive to you as a marketeer.
Speaking of Instagram’s success, it goes to show the inherent importance of social media when it comes to visual marketing. So, how does it work with visual marketing?
Social Media: What is its role in Visual Marketing?
Nowadays, almost everyone uses social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, the list goes on. It has become such an intrinsic part of everyday life that it only makes sense for companies to make that all-important transition from website to social media platform. It is a fantastic way of spreading the word about your company and your products.
Firstly, it’s cost-effective and becomes a priceless communication tool to interact with your consumers on a more personal level. Most importantly it personalizes your brand and helps to create a conversational narrative that your consumers will feel comfortable with; like your brand is just another friend in their list of followers.
With the authentic feel that social media gives to brands, it is also the ultimate place for visual marketing strategies to take place. Platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest thrive off visual content, in fact, all social media platforms prioritize brief and catchy material to boost their algorithms.
This kind of content is inspiring to viewers because it not only provides some kind of entertainment but gives consumers the power to interact with brands. Consumers gain social proof when details of your products are revealed like its production process and its efficacy with other consumers which they can see through visual reviews. Essentially you can empower your own consumers through more knowledge and information about a potential product as they gain validation from others that can be seen as reliable and unbiased to them.
Of course, social media demands consistency as you can easily get lost in the current of daily content. It requires constant engagement to keep the momentum going, that’s why fresh content is so important for brands to stay relevant. Luckily, there is one powerful marketing strategy that can help you with this, and that’s our first form of Visual Marketing; User Generated Content.
User Generated Content: Visual marketing on steroids
Fortunately, visual marketing comes in a plethora of formats, only limited by your own imagination. Some believe that User Generated Content is the greatest culmination of visual marketing, and it is not hard to see why.
Primarily, User Generated Content is any form of content, much like the formats we have discussed previously, images, videos, reviews, audio produced by the consumers themselves on products or the companies that market them.
The main goal of any marketing campaign is to build confidence in the product and boost consumer engagement. In recent years, it has been increasingly difficult for marketers to create campaigns that are engaging enough to give value to potential consumers. UGC is an ideal solution and is known to be the most honest and authentic form of content to influence consumers’ buying decisions.
What is more reliable than feedback straight from the horse’s mouth? According to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92% of consumers trust organic, User Generated Content more than they trust traditional advertising. The advantages are endless, such as being the strongest method of creating engagement between brand and consumer, increasing traffic and SEO, boosting brand recognition, and increasing conversion.
Your consumers can produce different and captivating content and it is vital to take advantage of this “outsider” perspective. The visuals produced by UGC such as the photos, the videos and the reviews offer a fresh take, and thousands of varying viewpoints. What’s not to like?
On top of this, UGC works seamlessly on social media. This links back to the power of emotional impact in marketing and also the importance of social media when creating visual marketing strategies. Social media allows consumers to share their lives with one another, making it a perfect foundation for UGC campaigns. To give you an example, TOMS Shoes launched a campaign encouraging people to go one day without wearing shoes and take a snap of their feet with the hashtag #withoutshoes. For each photo, the brand donated a pair of shoes and this campaign reached sky-high levels of engagement from the consumers while simultaneously producing a generous and compassionate image.
Much like TOMS shoes, you could create a catchy hashtag for your consumers to stamp over their own images. You can ask questions to your consumers whether this be via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter poll, you could also launch some kind of contest creating videos or get users to do something quirky with your product.
Just asking for input is one thing, but it is crucial to then interact with your consumers to create a meaningful connection. This kind of campaign will also increase social traffic which in turn produces increased brand awareness. When utilizing UGC to its full potential, brands have been able to increase their order value exponentially. For example, Karl Lagerfeld had an average order value increase of an impressive 20.84%. You can read more about how Karl Lagerfeld benefitted from Photoslurp’s UGC platform in our case study.
The point of visual marketing is to make things more digestible and approachable to consumers. These days people are always finding ways to avoid ads such as clicking on airplane mode as you play games, swiping swiftly over promotions on Instagram, even grabbing a cup of coffee while the ads play on TV. You have to find a way to advertise your brand minus the invasive, ‘in your face’ advertising. UGC as visual marketing does just that. It keeps things interesting but familiar and also comes from a reliable source in the eyes of the consumer, all while being cost-effective, which is the cherry on top of the delicious UGC ice cream sundae.
Videos: Revitalizing your visual marketing strategies
Our second form of visual marketing, and I know this one seems obvious, what’s more visual than a video? The popularity of videos is general knowledge, just look at Youtube. Not to mention, research has shown the usage of videos on mobile has gone up to almost 10 million views per minute since 2018, highlighting the utmost importance of having video content for your brand.
Essentially, video content will capture and retain the attention of the viewer when other visual marketing strategies fail. They give a voice to your company, something that is much more relatable and also enjoyable to watch rather than simple text.
If you want to advertise to your consumers in a way that doesn’t feel intrusive, then videos are a quick and entertaining way to promote your brand, while appealing greatly to the impatient mind of your audience. A study from Hubspot will even tell you that video content is actually in demand by consumers, coming in the top spot for the most thoroughly consumed content at 62%, and is proving to be what consumers want to see more of at 53%.
The wonderful thing about videos is there isn’t only one way to do it; they can be about literally anything you want. From a meet the company team video to a how-to video to a customer reviews video – here’s that powerful UGC popping back in! The wide variety of formats and opportunities for creativity are unlimited.
Typically the creation of videos takes more time, effort, and money than other formats but the outcome is completely worth it and the high-quality, interesting content of your video can increase your site’s SEO greatly. However, due to the popularity of live streaming and other kinds of video content, it’s become apparent that people really do care less about the video being a blockbuster film and rather a simple method so that they can connect with brands online in a more comfortable and authentic way.
Consumers value content over the special effects you can stuff a video with so it’s important to utilize the right ways of humanizing your brand. You can also link this back to our friendly neighborhood UGC, people just want to see authenticity NOT smoke and mirrors.
A testament to the power of videos in visual marketing is the social media platform Tiktok. With its content being solely video-based, the platform has exploded due to its abundance of creativity, following recent trends and the quick nature of clicking that share button. Much like on Tiktok, videos go ‘viral’ every day, which is a cost-effective way to explode your brand awareness in an entertaining and amusing way that follows current trends.
Video sharing is an enormous part of online networking and social media also behaves as an incentive for this. With customized video marketing catered to your own business, you are guaranteed to see top-tier results!
Visual Data: Simple visuals for a more complex message
Data-driven content is guaranteed when running a successful eCommerce brand and sharing it can be a great way to spark interest in your products. An example of data visualization is infographics. These are visual representations of data and information designed to be easily processed. This kind of design allows you to condense and simplify large portions of information to be easily digested visually.
It enables you to adopt informative visuals such as pie charts and other data graphs. Researchers say that people tend to remember only 20% of what they read, while around 37% of the population are visual learners. Infographics are also a great way to spice up product photos to make them that bit more engaging!
This means that your enticing infographic is likely to be perceived much better than if you were to slap a chunk of text in the face of your consumers. Research data is also more accessible using infographic design due to the fresh perspective that visual marketing provides, people can envision the statistics more progressively. These formats are highly educational and offer more of a profound insight into your company, which essentially builds credibility with your customers.
The combination of an interesting subject, good research, and some eye-catching graphics is a recipe for success and it speaks for itself. In fact, studies have shown that brands who utilize visual marketing such as infographics have a 700% higher conversion rate when compared to brands that do not.
Primarily, data visualization will help your company gain more social shares and links.
If an infographic is aesthetically pleasing, people are much more likely to click on it and share it, which will no doubt drive your SEO through the roof. When you are tirelessly competing for social traffic attention, social shares are crucial in keeping your brand afloat.
Visual data can behave like a certain branch of social proof in a similar way to social media. Perhaps you can post a graph to show how many satisfied customers your brand has serviced. Show your audience data that pertains to them, that will interest them, and encourage them to convert.
It’s a no-brainer – if you want something conspicuous, that doesn’t take up too much space and is guaranteed to increase the promotion of your company – taking some time to draw up some interesting vehicles of visual data will produce incomparable results!
Now it’s your turn to convert your eCommerce into a well-oiled Visual Marketing machine!
As I hope you can agree by now, visual content has a paramount part to play in the world of marketing strategies. Nowadays, the rapid quality of technology has made consumers restless and hungry to be entertained. Digestible formats are crucial and visual marketing has immense influence when it comes to the lasting effect your brand leaves on consumers.
Not only does visual content like the aforementioned boost engagement between the brand and consumer but it maintains this, promoting brand awareness, SEO, and increasing traffic to your website.
Visual marketing is the way forward, go ahead, personalize your content and have some fun with it. With a visual strategy up your sleeve, you will increase revenue, return on investment and increase conversions like no other. Give your customers the exciting visual proof they deserve!