The secret power of infographics – what’s the hype, anyway?

3 May 2017 | Design, Communication Design, Marketing

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Every marketer’s dilemma is how to engage customers and increase brand awareness. Infographics are not a new, they have been around since the dawn of humanity if you like – think about early pictograms in caves. We have road signs. Every schoolbook has plenty of visual explanations, which could fall under the definition of an infographic. In the last couple of years, however, infographics have become very popular and today they are everywhere in the social media and press.

So nothing new then. Perhaps it is not worth discussing it if it is not a way to stand out anymore. But don’t be so quick to discard it. Here are a few reasons why infographics should be in every marketer’s toolkit since they are not going anywhere and you’re missing out by not harnessing their power. Let’s take an example – you have a strong article on the subject that is very important for your business. How do you get your audience to select it, read it and appreciate it.

(1) Grab attention

With overload of information, the quest is to grab your audience’s attention so that you have a chance to leave a lasting impression. Few people read blocks of continuous text these days.

If you looked up a definition for an infographic, you would find something like this: “Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly."

Visual representation. This is it – infographics are very effective because simply our brain is wired to perceive and process visual information best. One of the key features in human neurology is that our brain naturally intakes information and looks for a way to create patterns and trends, that way making sense of in the information received. Hence, visual information is the most effective way to create those patterns. Imagine an emergency situation where a commonly accepted symbol tells you which way the exit is versus having to read a manual of instructions and analyse floor plans.

We are drawn to images because we are used to seeing and perceiving our surroundings to judge the dangers around us. Because of the bias towards visual information, we are also more adept to process it quicker than for example text (30 times quicker in fact!). If you think of your target audience scanning news and your piece appears, would it get that click more likely with just black and white text or an engaging infographic summarising your subject and delivering your key message that way?

Most users will leave your page in less than 15 seconds if you haven’t done a good job of grabbing people’s attention.

Current day is defined by short attention spans. Don’t loose your customers because your message got lost in the text editor. Make sure your article grabs attention.

(2) Increase effectiveness of your communication

You got them hooked. What you offer next is key – information that can be processed quickly aids retention and increases perception of value added.

Let’s consider again the fact that visual information is processed 30 times quicker than text. With that in mind, even if you have a strong piece of written content and let’s assume that your reader is very motivated to delve into all the detail you are so keen to share, a sure way to solidify that motivation is to provide a complimentary visual summarising your key points.

It is almost giving the reader written notes, key points to remember, something you want them to take away. With the short attention span of your user, you can only be winning by giving them an anchor point to your message. I bet you they will save and print the infographic more likely than the whole article.

An infographic that goes with a piece of text eases the task of processing, organising and simplifying information. Research shows that users only read 28% of words per visit to the website for example. You want to make sure that even if the reader decides not to read it all or loses the focus, they will retain the key points with minimum of effort input – give them a visual.

It takes 0.15 seconds to process a symbol and a further 0.1 seconds to attach a meaning to it.

Make sure your content delivers its value to your reader in the most effective way. You have another sound reason to use infographics in your content marketing.

(3) Leave a lasting impression

There is no problem anymore, you are using infographics. People remember fun things, things that stand out. Visual things.

If your content is engaging, easy to process and offers value added, you will be remembered. The use of infographics can aid that considerably. If you have an opportunity to perform an A/B test for content that is all text (plus/minus a stock thumbnail picture) versus one that offers an infographic with key points, see it for yourself. How much more effective your content is, don’t be surprised with double-digit difference.

Your piece is read, the visual analysed (because it’s fun and gives a structure/backbone to your thinking received as text), guess what – it’s a winner. The image is what is most likely to stick with your reader as an anchor to the key takeaways.

Therefore, in a quest to increase traffic to your website/blog/social media sites and ultimately increase your brand awareness, maybe even become viral, is complete. In this example anyway, even if simplified. So add that extra zest to your content, try infographics. Remember, use visual info – our brains are wired for it.

Up to 90% of information we receive and process is visual.

TBe memorable and sharable – leave a lasting impression. Market your brand like a pro.

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