Content Marketing

Engaging Your Audience With Visual Content: The 2019 Report

When it comes to making a big impact in digital marketing, it’s hard to beat visual content. Why say it with a blog post when you can shout it from the rafters with a colorful infographic, a clever Powerpoint deck, or a video that combines animation with live action? Great writing will always be king, but your audience probably comprises quite a few visual creatures who want additional formats. More and more, we’re all learning how to give those people what they want.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Libris once again to produce a 2019 report we’ve called Engaging Your Audience with Visual Content. Together, we surveyed over 1,000 marketing and creative professionals in February 2019 about their preferences, habits, and expertise on all types of visual content, from infographics and animation to photos and video. Respondents came from a variety of industries including media, travel, finance, technology, sports, education, retail, non-profit, healthcare, and more. A desire to tell great stories unites them, and the insights they gave us are extraordinary.

What we noticed first was a disconnect between supply and demand. Most industries understand how valuable visual content can be, but professionals are strapped for time and need to create on tight budgets. When a team is tasked with creating a ton of new visual content as quickly as possible, they may begin to accept work that feels “good enough,” setting aside the idea of content excellence temporarily.

It’s hard to blame marketers for occasionally cutting corners: the demand for visuals is everywhere. Smart content professionals are infusing visuals into their strategy every way they can. 78% of respondents, for example, say they always use a visual when posting to a channel. By this definition, channels can include email, social, search, direct messaging, and in-person events. That means a vast majority of marketers do not leave home without visuals—so where are they getting them?

65% of survey respondents do source photos from stock sites, but 64% of the same group say they also have a photographer or videographer on staff. That’s a 13% spike in content teams hiring staff to focus on visual content. Still, we can reasonably assume that marketers pull from multiple sources in order to fulfill the demands of their audience members.

82% of those surveyed use visual content primarily for social media, as an attention-grabbing tool that can lead to their target audience engaging with more complex, non-visual content. Visuals aren’t just flashy; they can help define and complicate a brand’s identity by giving marketers another language to speak. And it’s not just logo design—branded visual content tells its own story through color, rhythm, humor, and tone. If you can show your audience who you are, you don’t have to waste time telling them over and over.

According to our findings, most visual content programs are geared toward high speed productivity and output volume, which means they may not be as well though-out as they could be. When it comes to video, most marketers know they want and need more content, but they’re not really confident producing it themselves. Even if they have photographers or videographers on staff or on contract, only 17% of our survey participants deem their existing video “very good.” Further, 57% of respondents say sourcing video is their biggest challenge. (By the way, we’ve got thoughts on empowering and leading your video freelance team, and crafting a strategy for YouTube.)

Overall, it appears marketers of every stripe want more visual content, and they want it delivered faster and more often than ever before. Is your team prepared to answer that call? Download the report for more information.

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