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Building the Visual Case

Building the Visual Case

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The world today is more visual than it has been at any other point in human history.


We increasingly interact with the world around us using visual communications. The rise of social media and image-heavy messaging platforms mean that what would have been communicated verbally or by text two decades ago may be communicated today as an image or emoji.


Smartphones allow everyone to act as a photographer, designer, illustrator and videographer. Anyone can join the visual conversation.


The rise of visual has fundamentally changed how marketing and communications professionals deliver clients’ campaigns. Attention spans have decreased in size as laptops, tablets and smartphones have decreased in price. By necessity, communications have become shorter, and more visual.


The challenge is to translate brand messages from word to image. All while maintaining a strong corporate identity and creating a consistent visual story. With this challenge, comes opportunities.


Visual communications are here to stay and brands not embracing the shift from text to image are losing out. Wherever you are on the visual communications journey, this introduction will help you build a case for bringing visuals into your strategy today.



200 million users

1 million video views a minute



100 million users

300,000 snaps shared each minute



1.59 billion users

136,000 images uploaded per minute


400 million users

123,060 posts per minute.

1,74 million photos liked per minute



800 million users

300 hours of video uploaded per minute

2.78 million video views per minute



100 million users

10,000 pins in a minute




Engagement is the biggest promise of visual content. In a fast-moving social landscape, all but the most engaging content simply disappears.


These facts prove that the right visual can make your content more engaging.



Image-rich content gets 94% more views than content without relevant images


Consumers who watch video are 1.81 times more likely to purchase


90% of online shoppers said they found videos helpful


Visual content on social media is 40 times more likely to be shared


Videos are shared 12 times more than links and text posts combined


Placing an image every 75-100 words can double the number of social shares an article receives


Facebook posts with images have 2.3 times more engagement than those without images


Tweets with photos can generate 150% more retweets and 18% more clicks then those without


We process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. We remember shapes and images much more readily than we do words.


While words are processed by short term memory (going “in one ear and out the other”), images are stored in long term memory – often permanently.


In December 2015, researchers from MIT announced they had created an artificial intelligence algorithm capable of judging how memorable an image is, with near-human levels of accuracy.  Using photographs from Flickr, the researchers found a strong correlation between popular and memorable images.




The tool can be enlightening, but memorability isn’t everything. 2015’s most popular Instagram image was Kendall Jenner with her hair fanned out in heart shapes. It gained 3.2 million likes. According to MIT’s memorability AI, this image was significantly more memorable than The Kiss, also known as “The photo that ended the second world war.”


“The photo that ended the second world war”


Memorability: Medium

Score: 0.63


Kendall Jenner

3.2 million likes


Memorability: High

Score: 0.882


Good visual content is more than just a pretty picture. Linking visuals to emotions (in the case of The Kiss) or celebrity (in the case of Kendall Jenner) dramatically improves their chances of success.


The takeaway for marketers is to be topical where possible, and to remember the power of influencer marketing.


Demonstrating the ROI

of Visual Content

A key barrier to a content-rich marketing strategy is the investment it requires. After all, drafting a blog post requires fewer resources than creating a compelling video. How do you determine the ROI of your investment?


What measurements you use depends on the desired business outcome. Different stages in the customer journey call for different KPIs. This means an increase in your reporting, but also an increase in the insights gleaned from the reports. This will enable a rapid refinement and improvement of your visual content.


Below is an overview of various business goals and the appropriate KPIs.



For users that are just becoming aware of your offering, the most important thing is to get their eyeballs on your visual content. You should be measuring views and reach.



When targeting users further along the buying cycle, you should measure viewing duration, time spent on page, and what pages the user visits next.



When targeting users that are ready to buy, measure engagement, shares, and comments. Feedback can be invaluable as it allows you to target your future content offerings more effectively.



When measuring the impact on those who have already purchased and are fans of your products, it is best to look at shares and sentiment.


To get the best results, you may need to craft individual content offerings for each stage of the customer journey.



Optimizing the Impact of Visual Content


Why create a great video, if no one ever sees it? Social media and the wider web is increasingly a ‘pay to play’ environment, and it may be essential to promote your work to be seen at all. There are various ways to promote your visual content, all with different pros, cons, and costs.



YouTube has a massive audience and people are starting to use it more as a search engine (hunting for particular videos), or as a television (tuning into particular producers). It costs to circumvent these habits.




Content syndication services such as Outbrain display your message to a lot of eyes, although the clickthrough rate can be very low.




Google Ads


A well-targeted display ad will get your message in front of a lot of eyes – and because you only pay per click, it can be quite affordable.

Influencer Marketing

The monetary cost of influencer marketing may be low, but only if you put in the proper time to build quality relationships.



Ultimately, how you choose to promote your content depends on the audience you want to reach, and the budget available. The expense may well be justified by creating a higher return on the initial content investment.




Visual content is a marketing challenge, but it also represents the biggest opportunity of our time. It’s not easy to get visual content right,

but when you can, it provides exponentially bigger rewards than almost anything else you can create.


Is there more?

There’s more. How are leading marketers measuring the ROI of visual marketing and what does it tell us? Sign up for our next episode in this series on visual communications.