Each generation adopts the latest ways of communicating and finding information at different rates. With the arrival of the Internet, a large divide occurred between generations and their access to online information. This gap has lessened with Facebook statistics proving that millions of their users are over age 65.
Depending on their audience, companies are often still bridging the gap between printed marketing materials and online audiences. Younger generations often depend on fast online mediums, like social media, and don’t trust brochures or catalogs for getting their information.
Adapting to this change takes more than just switching your marketing strategy from catalogs to social media. The way you present your content matters, too. Each medium has a unique way of communicating; your content should match this communication style from text to photos to frequency.
Messages on Twitter and Snapchat, for example, are quick and simple. Visuals are incredibly important in this context. Just think: A tweet is limited to 140 characters, but “a picture is worth a thousand words.” To communicate a lot with limited space, you need to use visuals.
Photos, videos, and hybrids of the two are the language of the new generation. Until digital innovation changes this trend, your marketing should include plenty of visuals if you want to reach your audience.
Quantity alone, however, won’t be enough to convince your audience. Including visuals is a good first step, but it’s also important to be thoughtful about how you include them. Are your visuals as effective as possible? Use the following three points to evaluate how well your marketing strategy incorporates visuals:
1. You make room in your budget for visuals.
Companies sometimes focus all of their attention (and spending) on ranking higher, while forgetting that their content needs to be engaging, too. Being “above the fold” isn’t the only way of getting discovered. In fact, your customers care less about what appears first on a webpage and more about what grabs their attention. And visuals grab attention—especially on smartphones, where there’s limited space.
Granted, customers may search for products with their voice, and not with visuals. That’s why visuals shouldn’t take all of your budget. Instead, find a balance between budgeting for text and visuals.
Keep in mind that visuals will remain important regardless of changing trends. Even if voice search replaces visual browsing, customers will still want to see the actual goods or services once they’re found. Losing a potential customer because of poor visuals (or no visuals) is a tough blow, especially if you’ve put a lot of effort into being discovered in the first place.
2. You use images and videos. (Cinemagraphs)
Both images and videos are important. Each offers a unique experience capable of affecting viewers on a subtle, emotional level. If you work with both—as well as combinations of the two, such as cinemagraphs—you’ll be able to reach and communicate with a broader audience more effectively.
3. You spend time creating high-quality visuals.
Producing visuals that have impact requires time. Although it’s technically possible to create high-quality visuals without any prep work, it’s not a reliable method. Most successful projects have a skilled art direction and a solid plan going in.
Almost everyone now has a camera of some sort, if only on their smartphone. Millions of photos and videos are being taken every day. If you want your visuals to stand out against that much competition, they shouldn’t be taken casually.
That’s not to say that smartphones can’t produce professional-looking photos and videos—because they can. It’s often not the tool, but rather the skill level of the person using the tool that makes all the difference.
Post production is a whole other story. Taking photos and applying overlays and distinct effects can elevate the quality of the image when done correctly. Altering color or choosing the right cropping may ensure the photos fits the use.
4. You use images within context.
Instead of just adding photos to fill space, you need to think about the content it is being paired with and what message it is sending. A photo can give users a hint to what is the text is about and adding visual context may engage users to spend more time on the page. A photo that is either screaming “stock” image or is completely void of purpose will be ignored by users.
5. You lead with emotion.
Beyond providing context, images can also set the stage with the right emotion. Displaying laughing photo subjects along text describing serious medical conditions will confuse users. Tie emotion into the purpose of the image and help extend your brand.
If you know nothing about creating and using visuals online—or digital marketing, in general—you can still have a successful strategy. You only need to get the right team working in your favor.
Need help finding someone? Contact G5 to get effective online visuals. Specialists at G5 have years of experience working with visuals and digital marketing, so they can get you on track right away.