6 reasons why pictures will still be worth a thousand words*
*and help your social media presence grow, especially in times when video based content is rising like a rocket
Nowadays, more and more social media strategies are showing a preference to more cinematic, video content, so as to face the challenge of gaining a wider reach and engagement ratio of social media users. Even social media platforms themselves are putting so much effort in promoting this trend by continually transforming the algorithms that tend to boost such type of content. It was just a few days ago, when Facebook, six months after the first announcement, put into practice a wide range of brand new tools to help video creators boost engagement and to help promote its Watch content. Newborn features like Premieres and Video Polls are addressing the marketers’ growing demands for a highly engaging experience. But still, high quality images will be one of the most powerful ways to portray products, services, even emotions. And here are six reasons why:
1. In contrast to what was common sense a few years ago when audiences tended to react most strongly to text-driven posts, today visual pieces garner the most views, shares, comments, reactions. Images on Facebook receive: 20% more engagement than videos and 352% more engagement than links. This trend is likely to accelerate given the younger audiences’ preference for visual-first social networks. As far as UK teens are concerned, according to a recent survey, a quarter of 8-11s and three quarters of 12-15s have a profile on a social media or messaging site or app. Twelve-15s with a profile are less likely than last year to say that Facebook is their main social media profile (40% vs. 52%) while the proportion who say Snapchat is their main profile has doubled to 32%. In quality research, Snapchat was the most widely-used social media platform among children, unlike last year, when WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger were the most popular. “Snapstreaks”, i.e. when two people on Snapchat send an image to each other every day over consecutive days, is particularly popular. Of the 1,000 US Internet users surveyed, more than half (56%) of Gen Zers, ages 16 to 24, said they had increased their use of Snapchat in the past year, and another 55% of respondents said they are using Instagram more. In the meantime, the social networks US teens use most often are: 1. Snapchat, 2. Youtube, 3. Instagram. Younger users say the images they like most on Instagram are beautiful and well-composed.
2. The power of images lies in the fundamentals of human nature. Our brain can process certain types of information within as little as 13 milliseconds; to put that in perspective, it takes us 300 to 400 milliseconds to blink our eye which is 1/3 of a second. This means that your brain can identify what it’s looking at approximately 30 times faster that we can blink our eye. People remember only 10% of information three days after hearing it. Adding a picture can improve recall and at this point retention soars to 65%. Consumers are significantly more likely to think favourably of ads that emphasise photographs over ads that emphasise text. When we see a picture, we analyse it within a very short snippet of time, knowing the meaning and scenario within it immediately. The human brain is able to recognise a familiar object within 100 milliseconds. People tend to recognise familiar faces within 380 milliseconds which is pretty speedy.
3. Over a third (37.3%) of UK 15-year-olds can be classed as “extreme Internet users” (6+ hours of use a day). Nearly a third of young people (27.6%) in the UK were six years old or younger when they first used the Internet. This is a period, when Marshall McLuhan’s theories has been proven correct. According to him, media can be seen as technological extensions of the body. He reached the conclusion that the most obvious “closure” or psychic consequence of any new technology is just the demand for it. Nobody wants a motorcar till there are motorcars, and nobody is interested in social media until there are social media. This power of technology to create its own world of demand is not independent of technology being first an extension of our own bodies and senses. But the need to use the senses that are available is as insistent as breathing. Images can still captivate the senses and make the best use of them.
4. Try to think when you decide to get into a store. Most of the times, this happens when you like something from outside. Similarly, when customers land on your web store page, their attention gravitates on the images of the products and if they like what they see, they keep browsing and hopefully, make a purchase. It’s a common truth today that in an online store customer regard the quality of a product’s image as more important than the product itself. As a result, marketers rank images as the most important type of content, ahead of text and video, that’s why 68% of them say they plan to use images more in the near future.
5. Modern history and pop culture in particular, is filled with well-known images that speak to all of us in ways we can sometimes barely articulate. With over 50 billion images shared as of today on the Instagram platform, with Kylie Jenner, Cristiano Ronaldo, Beyonce and Selena Gomez amassing millions of likes on each photo post, are you still having second thought about the impeccable power of photos? As for 2018 till today, the most likeable Instagram post was Kylie Jenner’s first photo of her daughter (18.0 million likes, published 06.02.2018). Moreover, just remember, at the 2014 Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles, when comedian and host Ellen DeGeneres posted a celebrity-filled selfie this was treated and adored like a Renaissance masterpiece, renowned as the second most-shared selfie in the history of Twitter with over 3.4 million retweets and 2.4 million likes.
6. Undeniably, a key benefit of images often overlooked by brands is their search impact. Visual pieces are highly valued by both search audiences and search engines themselves. According to Statista (as of March 2018), 46.1% of people between the ages of 18 and 60 research products online before going to store to purchase them. 60% of consumers say they are more likely to consider or contact a business that has an image show up in local search results. Search engines understand this preference and increasingly prioritise visual-heavy content: pages that appear in Google’s featured mobile snippets have 12 images, on average. Images themselves appeared to be valued by Google; content that’s clearly structured is valued.
- Social Media Examiner
- VidMob, State Of Social Video
- Marshall McLuhan – Understanding Media: The Extensions Of Man
- Pew Research Centre
- Education Policy Institute