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Visual Content: The Key to Digital Marketing

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Visual Content – the Key to an Impactful Marketing Strategy

“Seeing is believing”. But the ever-brewing storm of digital information doesn’t help consumers see more clearly, let alone put their trust in the right brands.

In an attempt to address this problem, forward-looking businesses look to another adage – “A picture is worth a thousand words”. The right application of not only pictures but any types of visualized information is the key to attract, engage and convert users.

Let’s embark on the discovery journey of the powerful weapon named visual content.

Visual Content: The Fundamentals

Why Visual Information Is So Important

The biggest reason is because the human brain is wired for visual processing.
SEO Copywriting = Compelling Content + On Page SEO

In other words, the presence of images, whether still or animated, will help improve one’s ability to understand, memorize and act on the information provided. Remember, text and numbers are not considered “natural” to the human brain because they must be learned to be used.

According to Entrepreneur, our retention will increase by 650% when the information is presented in a hybrid format: some text with relevant images.

That’s why infographic is the preferred format for data and statistics illustration.
Question: What does visual information mean to businesses?
Answer: It is the key for any business to capture the audience’s limited attention and create a positive, memorable impression – the very first step to improved branding, boosted conversion and long-term growth.

what is visual content

What is visual content

Common Visual Content Types

What makes visual content so interesting is its variety. There are many types of visual content with different advantages. The most common are photo/image, infographic and video. We also have “hybrid” types such as slideshows or memes.

According to the report “Engaging Your Audience with Visual Content” of Libris by PhotoShelter (now PhotoShelter for Brands) and Contently, photography and short form video “drive the most engagement” and are easier to make.

78% of marketers agree that social media is the best place for sharing visual content.

When it comes to sourcing for photo or video, the top 3 options are:

Stock photo/video
In-house materials – produced by employees, highly valued in terms of uniqueness and authenticity.
Freelance production – more than 50% of marketers look to this option.

Unsurprisingly, user-generated content (UGC) is not preferred, with only over 20% of marketers choosing this sourcing option.
Question: The more visual content the better, right?
Answer: Yes, as long as you can keep the right balance in all of your posts. It means if you use more images/video, please add more text. Though human brain doesn’t have a limit on visual input, losing this balance will harm your results, because:

Search engines “read” text to index and rank pages, at least at the present. So text is indispensable to maintain your SEO effectiveness.
It takes less to load text on a page, which increases accessibility.
Most people like variety. And to some certain customer segments (usually the older generations), industries, products and services, articles with a number of images are still well-received.

visual content marketing

Visual content marketing

Visual Content: The Benefits

There are 4 main goals or key benefits you can expect from the right use of visual content and any other types.

Brand recognition

This should be the first goal of any new brand. It also works for established brands in their main markets, but at a much less extent.


Video is the most often chosen type for this purpose as it provides more engagement. But it doesn’t mean anything informative must be made into video to be impactful. In many cases, infographics triumph over video in presenting statistics and trends.

Try to apply visual content for onboarding or introducing new internal processes or regulations. Your internal communication will definitely enjoy a boost.

Web traffic, lead generation, conversions

In general, you are aiming for digital results which are often the goals of any digital marketing campaign.
But visual content alone can’t ensure you reach your goal. You also need to pay attention to the web design and the UX/UI of any platform you are going to post on. User experience will suffer if your site isn’t user-friendly or mobile-friendly, or both.


Some may argue that this should be classified as a digital marketing metric. But we are not just talking about the engagement rate in percentage or the number of clicks and likes. This is more about how your audiences think and feel about your brand.

The growth of earned media is a good way to measure this goal, as only highly engaged users care to voluntarily create UCG for your brand.

In summary, your visual content strategy should be based on the main goal or benefit you want, and the overall marketing plan.

visual content for business

Visual content for business

Visual Content: The Best Practices

Visual content has become a must in the content creation strategy of any company with an online presence. But not all of them know how to realize its full potential.

visual content that provides all these four benefits?
Answer: Yes, with conditions.
There is hardly any content made for only one purpose, because businesses always want to kill two birds (or more) with one stone. But there should be one main goal, and it will subtly or substantially impact your creation strategy.

For example, if your main goal is brand recognition, just images or short videos are enough. But if you want to educate the users, you need a more informative format such as tutorial videos, infographics or articles with relevant images.
visual content best practices

Visual content best practices

Provide meaning and value

First, the information you provide should be useful, multi-faceted, updated and relevant to the needs of your audience. This is the key to any effective content marketing strategy.
Second, depending on the information, try to present it in the easiest way to understand, memorize and share. After all, your capacity to distribute can’t surpass the power of the mass.

Enhance user experience

An always fresh experience is your goal. So try to keep a good mix in your topics and presentation styles. For example, if you want to illustrate the science-backed development of your premium service, use infographics; or if you want to show how your product can be used for multiple purposes, a how-to video serves best.

Also, take care of your owned channels, which are your sites, mobile apps, and social pages. Make sure they are intuitive and optimized for different devices.

Ensure consistency

No matter how and where you publish your posts, follow the same brand book to demonstrate the same brand image. It’s not just about the colors or logos, but the unique spirit that no other brand can copy.

The increasing number of UGC may make it a bit harder for you to manage as not all of them follow your standards. But that’s not a sound reason to disregard this authentic PR source. Instead, try to think of ways to better manage user generated content that can be integrated into your current plan.
Now that you understand the requirements of great visual content, the next question for you to solve is, “How to create visual content that satisfies all 3 criteria?”
why needs visual content

Why needs visual content

Visual Content: The Predictions

As long as our brain doesn’t change the way it’s wired, visual content is not going to lose its charm in the future. Some trends are growing stronger while several emerging ones are beckoning. Let’s have a quick look at key trends to expect in this decade.

visual content

Visual content

Social media

With the social media surge, posting visual content on social media should be automatically put in your priority list.
As speed is one inherent characteristic of social pages, your posts should satisfy this requirement.

On social media, livestream video and ephemeral content which disappear after 24 hours will serve best as they create the sense of urgency.

Shoppable visual content

Social commerce or social shopping is one emerging trend of Generation Z – the generation of Digital Natives. The increasing use of social media plus impulsive shopping habits also contribute to this.
When viewing images or videos on social pages, users can click on them to immediately purchase what they see. For example, Instagram is teaching users how to add “shopping stickers” to their Stories, facilitating the buying process.

what is most important about visual content

What is most important about visual content

Mobile video content

As stated in the article about The Future of Content Marketing, video will continue to rule in this decade, as long as they are mobile-friendly.

Snack-able content such as short form video is the most preferred on mobile devices as they are quicker to view and easier to share.

Note: Always add subtitles to your video (if there are speeches). This is to ensure users can view your video in any environment.[divider height=\”30\”]

Authentic content

This may be the oldest trend in this list, because people have always had the tendency to be attracted to anything that features authenticity, such as UGC.

In other words, behind-the-scenes stories work better than stock video, no matter how beautifully the latter is made. Therefore, if possible, try to utilize internal resources.

But it doesn’t mean to compromise technical quality due to a lack of expertise. Video marketing is a wise investment and should be taken seriously.

AR and VR

AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) are becoming more popular and permeating into various products and services. The app IKEA Place is a great example.

However, businesses need to think twice before embracing this trend now. Analyze your resources and abilities as well as your target customers’. Some customer segments are simply not ready for this type of advanced technology yet.

If you want to test the water, how about publishing some 360 degree visuals first and see how they are received? Tread carefully and make your decisions with the customers at the center, not at the back of your mind.
visual content marketing plan

Visual content marketing plan

Find out more: The best types of visual content for digital marketing.


Visual content is a go-to choice for many digital marketers thanks to its popularity and effectiveness. However, without proper implementation, what you get in the end may be noise instead of impact.

On the other hand, visual content is indeed important but by itself can’t make your digital marketing campaigns shine the brightest. Along the way, you can’t ignore social media, SEO, KOL marketing, web and app design… if you want to unleash the full potential of your visual content strategy.

On Digitals is honored to help you reach the highest results with all-in-one digital marketing solutions, tailored to your specific needs and business cases. Contact us today for free consultancy and updates on the latest trends.

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