Visual Content – Is The Written Word Passé?

Visual Content: Is The Written Word Passé?

From Pinterest to Snapchat, millions of photos are being uploaded and shared on social media. Brands are putting more efforts in creating visually attractive posts as they are proven to have a higher engagement rate. So is the rise of visual content overshadowing the importance of the written word?

In 2014, Daniel Newman, CEO of Broadsuite & V3B, predicted that Visual Content Will Explode In 2015.

65% of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets (photos, video, illustrations and infographics) are important for communicating their brand story.

Shoppers who view videos are 1.81X more likely to purchase than non-viewers.

It is clear from the statistics above that the modern day audience has eschewed the traditional forms of content. Even marketers are paying more attention to visual content than ever. Thanks to the popularity of GIFs, BuzzFeed-style content, amateur Vine videos, Snapchat stories, and a plethora of other platforms, we are seeing new forms of visual content every day. One look at some successful content and social media campaigns and you realize that a bulk of their content is visual, be it images, memes, charts, infographics or videos. Even traditional, long-form blog posts are interspersed with images to keep things lively.

So will the rise of visual content make the written word obsolete or decrease its importance? In this post, we will show how visual content is slowly gaining more importance, if not replacing, textual content.

Social Media Posts

From Pinterest to Snapchat, millions of photos are being uploaded and shared on social media. Brands are putting more efforts in creating visually attractive posts as they are proven to have a higher engagement rate. From memes to snap stories, brands are killing it on social media. Taco Bell sets aside a sizeable budget for creating social media content, especially bite-sized content on platforms such as Vine and Instagram and longer-form content on YouTube and VEVO.

Taco Bell sets aside a sizeable budget for creating social media content, especially bite-sized content on platforms such as Vine and Instagram and longer-form content on YouTube and VEVO.

Featured Images for Articles

Bloggers and authors who use relevant and attractive featured images for their blog posts and articles tend to have a higher open rate than those who don’t. Many publishers A/B test headlines as well as featured images to find the best featured images. A colleague of mine got almost 4 times more shares because she used a more attractive image for the article on left than the article on the right. In this sense, the job of catching eyeballs starts much earlier for images than the actual article or blog post.

Bloggers and authors who use relevant and attractive featured images for their blog posts and articles tend to have a higher open rate than those who don’t.

Featured Images for Articles

Neil Patel uses a simple formula, he adds an image for every 350 words he writes, so in an article with 2000 words he uses 6 images or so. If your article topic is especially drab and difficult, you could add images at regular intervals so that readers don’t tire of reading. In this article about a psychological theory called the reinforcement sensitivity theory, the author uses 16 images, yes that’s right 16 images! Depending on the topic you choose, make sure you use quality images at every opportunity.

Infographics

When it comes to SEO and Google Algorithm changes, you don’t really imagine anything related to it going viral. However, we had an amazing response at E2M, when everyone in the industry was embedding our SEO gifographic on their website and sharing it on social media. We saw an amazing response on our blog with many comments, generated 18 inbound links, some of which were high traffic and high authority websites and got over 600 shares!

SEO gifographic

Case Studies

Traditionally case studies and whitepapers are the most text-heavy forms of content. However, case studies have evolved as many companies are using video case studies that are more conversational and less yawn-inspiring. For instance, in this video a finance firm has compiled a case study on a company takeover and in this one a lingerie seller reviews a social review platform. While the first one is a core B2B company, the second one is a SaaS product for businesses. These shows how traditional businesses too are embracing video content.

Apart from case studies, we are seeing a transition in many other text-heavy content forms such as tutorials, FAQs, and magazines as they are becoming more visual in nature. All these trends point out to one fact – the written word is passé or will be soon. If your content strategy is too text-heavy, you need to include more forms of visual content to ensure you don’t sink into oblivion.

11 Comments

  1. Interesting insight. Personally I’ve just noticed that nowadays, also common people are using, thanks to social media, the companies communication of the last 50 years, involving both images and words. A good image and a cool and smart pay-off is the basis of a good publicity/communication campaign… and today also the basis of the personal content sharing

  2. I suppose this is true, but I often read news on Snapchat and Google things to read. I don’t think it is passe.

  3. I think today people’s attention span is way too reduced to actually sit back and read something. One visual and it says it all. Thats probably why visuals are on the rise. But everything changes. I am trying to think what after visuals?

  4. Its true I find that many people are attracted to my blog because of its unique visuals which I appreciate but at the same time I think more emphasis needs to be placed on content too.

  5. Fatima

    Visuals are indeed very important to grab the attention of the people. I agree the content is important too but the first thing is always the photos.

  6. Great insight and tips! With so many things to consider when keeping a site/blog, we can often forget about the important of visuals.

    • Avinash Nair

      Thanks a lot Jennifer for stopping by. Glad you liked the article :)

  7. Very cool post! The tips are so useful, I am a blogger/influencer and I need to boost my content to the max ;)

  8. Disha Bhatia

    Visual content, undoubtedly, leaves a better impact! Thanks for the post :)

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