Social Media Camp is the national conference on social media that attracts international speakers and attendees. At this year’s event, virtually all presenters agreed that images and video are taking over the internet. What do they mean by this?
Consider the following:
- YouTube is now the second largest search engine – just behind Google – and may soon surpass it. (Don’t feel badly for Google as they own YouTube).
- Google is now building four-story data centre buildings to house the servers required to support increased data space needed on the cloud for things like images and video. These guys plan ahead. Drastic infrastructure changes from this industry mean something for the future.
Cisco has predicted that by 2017, 69% of all internet traffic will be video. Syndacast has put that number at 74%. Most law firm websites have at last some images – but how effectively do you use them and how many of you have videos on your site?
What’s the Magic of Visuals?
It’s actually more science than magic. Essentially, visuals are an easy pathway for us. Over 60% of our brain is focussed on processing visual information. So it should be no surprise that the majority of us (64%) are visual learners.
Whether you are a visual learner or otherwise, visuals help us to connect to subject matter in two important ways:
- Cognitively: images have been proven to improve information comprehension, recollection and retention. And visuals go into our long-term memory. So if you are forcing a sale during a presentation, like a time-share sales pitch, then it’s less important that you are memorable. But if your intent is to have the information recipient contact you down the road when they are in need of your services, then being memorable is pretty important.
- Emotionally: images tap into our emotions, attitudes and value systems. They can also move us into the creative, problem solving area of our brain by taking us into our imagination. This assists with comprehension, increases the likelihood that clients will envision what it might be like to work with you, and ultimately increases your chance of being short-listed when they need your services.
How effective is this magic? Various Hubspot articles cite the benefits of visuals as follows:
- 10% of information heard in a presentation is likely to remembered 3 days later v. 65% of information that included visuals.
- Content with (relevant) images gets 94% more views than content without images.
- Presentations with visuals are 43% more persuasive.
- Articles with photos tend to get more “complete” reads.
- Video content on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 86%.
- 52% of marketers surveyed advised that videos produce the highest ROI.
Despite these reports, surely important business people aren’t swayed by images and prefer detailed, logical, analytical paragraphs of text to convince them? Not so. Forbes reports that 59% of executives prefer watching a video to reading text. And 65% of those will go on to view the website of the company featured.
They aren’t alone. More than 1 billion people (unique visitors) go to YouTube each month to watch 4 billion hours of video. There are a lot of cute little kittens, demos on how to change a car filter and bad karaoke versions of Bruno Mars songs in there for sure; but there are also lots of product and service videos viewed in that space.
Need more assurances about the power of visuals? Dr. Lynell Burmark, Ph.D., is an Associate at the Thomburg Center for Professional Development and an expert on visual literacy. She’s a huge supporter of images which she believes dramatically improve comprehension and memory. She suggests that…
“…unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about 7 bits of information (plus or minus 2)