The Most Popular Images of 2011

You already know that using visual content in your blog is a key tactic for having a killer content strategy.  We know a picture is worth 1,000 words and the right images can drive traffic to your site, or at the very least enhance a reader’s experience on your site. However, what sort of photos catch the most attention? What photos do other content strategists use?

If you don’t create your own content for your blog, you most likely already use a site like Shutterstock.  Shutterstock is a leading global provider of high-quality stock footage, stock photography, vectors and illustrations to creative industry professionals around the world – and when you are the leader, you capture a lot of insight.  After 8 years, 17 million images, and over 200 million downloads, Shutterstock has become the #1 source for licensed images on the web.

As part of this download milestone, Shutterstock has released an infographic highlighting the trends in visual media in 2011, including what images were most popular in various countries around the world, the rise in popularity of vectors, and how many people downloaded images of cats (407k?!).

After cats, the other most popular images were graffiti (196k downloads), world disasters (124k downloads), social media (102k downloads), and the Royal Wedding (79k downloads). What’s most telling about these images is the fact they correlate with the year’s major media events: Hurricane Irene, the earthquake in Japan, the Royal Wedding. These were events that caught the world’s attention — and everyone wanted to find out more information.

A content strategist should also be aware of behavioral trends as well — it’s telling in the content they interact with, what is on the average person’s mind. In 2011, for example, five million downloads were described as “vintage,” suggesting that society overall had a feeling of nostalgia during a year with a tumultuous global climate.

By incorporated compelling images into your mix, you give your content that extra flair to grab and hold a reader’s attention.

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