The written word has defined generations of communication methodologies, and its power will never fade. But in this modern world, it’s the power of videos, animations, gifs, and photos that are truly celebrated.
From the moment we humans have been able to express ourselves, we have used imagery. It is a language that we learn for ourselves, and it requires no prior precedence. An eye-catching visual will resonate no matter what. But as the way we communicate has changed, so has the way visuals are used.
Communicators today seek to reach the biggest possible demographic in the fastest way, especially during an era when some 6,000 tweets and 60,000 Facebook posts are published every second. We no longer have the luxury of text-heavy stories. The longer a reader is expected to peruse a post, the higher the chances they will move on to the next story.
Therefore, transmitting a message with a captivating image or a video triggers an instant visceral experience. As technology offers us ways to visually express ourselves, so will our reliance on visuals be consolidated.
The top visual formats for communication are infographics, videos, and data visualization, with infographics leading by 40%, according to a 2019 Venngage study on visual content marketing. In the study, 45% of marketers employed visual content in more than 91% of their communication practices.
Looking at content marketing trends, as per the 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 32% of marketers say visual images are the most important form of content for their business, with 80% using visual assets in their social media marketing. The report also states that by 2020, marketers plan to increase their use of videos (77%), visuals (68%), live video (63%), blogging (57%), and podcasting (25%), in that order.
From webinars and animated video content to recorded videos for social media use, the visual aspect is unique in its communication but is not limited to entertainment. Infographics can be used, for example, to combine the appeal of illustrations and the informative aspect of data, while covering a variety of topics that if used correctly, will educate and entertain.
Even internal communication stands to benefit from the science behind the visual. Apply the 10/20/30 rule to visual practices—10 slides, 20 minutes, and a point size no smaller 30—to reduce filler content and capture your audience. Visual science at its finest.
Mediums will evolve, platforms will change, the art of communication and the science behind it will adapt, but the content will remain. At the heart of every shared message is a story: the faster it is received, the sooner and more often it can be shared and discussed. We have lived in a visual-first environment always. Yet it is not necessarily because one medium surpasses the other. Sometimes one medium is just faster and more efficient.