I believe that visual marketing is not going to be the next big thing. It already is. Otherwise I wouldn’t have invested my time and resources in building Tyle, the next generation tool that combines DIY graphic design with artificial intelligence.
As powerful as visual marketing is, it's more than just inserting some images in your social media posts or other content. If you aren't serious about doing it right, then don't expect any big returns.
And a big part of doing it right is staying on top of the latest developments and techniques that are working well with regard to visual marketing.
The world of visual marketing is changing fast. Businesses and media companies have already started creating more slideshares and infographics than ever. And this year, even more new types of content and strategies are in store. Let's take a look.
Use Of Emojis & GIFs
It takes time to create quality visual content. And it takes time to distribute and measure the performance of that content. Yet lack of time is one challenge most of us struggle with the most.
Similarly, depending on your niche and business model, your target audience may be facing the same challenges. They may not have the time to watch your long video or infographic.
As a result, marketers are now also focusing on creating content that takes very little time to consume and engage with. Yes, I am talking about emojis and gifs.
Don’t believe me? Just take a look at your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram newsfeed and you'll see more of this type of content than ever.
Yes, Instagram as well. Why do you think they created the Boomerang app.
When I log into my social media account, there are often days when I see more gifs than other image updates.
The reason for that is simple. It works.
A while back, the New York Times launched a new homepage. Around the same time they shared a gif depicting the evolution over time, which got a lot of people talking.
People love looking at gifs, and they love to share them with their friends and followers. Many brands are already on board and are investing in sharing engaging gifs with their fans to make them viral.
Having said that, the reality is that gifs aren't for everybody. They may fail horribly for some type of businesses and audiences.
To really enjoy gifs, your prospects should at least be familiar with the current pop culture to some extent. So who's the primary target for gifs?
You guessed it. Millennials.
Emojis are the international language that millennials can use to communicate with everyone.
So before you jump into creating and implementing a strategy to include gifs into your content marketing efforts, make sure that your customers get it and enjoy it.
If your target audience doesn't get the gif culture, or you operate in an industry that hasn't embraced this trend yet, tread carefully.
User Experience Gets More Significant
As important as user interface already us, I am seeing it emphasized even more with regard to visual marketing.
As an example, while working on Tyle, we got a ton of questions about UX from customers, followers and other stakeholders. So we have started even deeper conversations with our customers to identify their exact needs.
For example, take a look at what Bellroy does to convey the value of their product.
There's a beautiful slider comparing Bellroy wallet with a regular wallet, followed by an autoplay video showing the process of how it's crafted.
It not just about creating stunning visuals anymore. But it's also about bridging the gap between information and data. And displaying it in a way that leads to a great experience on all devices.
Curating Visual Content Into Cohesive Stories
Google+ was relaunched a while back and since then it's investing more towards collections and communities. In my mind, it's just another way of giving people a platform to curate scattered information to tell a meaningful story.
And Google+ isn't the only one. What do Pinterest, Flipboard, Pocket and more have in common? They let you curate and share your favorite content to refer later and provide value to your followers.
And this trend is not only good for your audience, but benefits you too. As a busy professional or business owner on a budget, you may not have the time and resources to consistently churn out high quality visual content in large quantities.
But thankfully, now you can search for and curate content from others and share it with your audience on a consistent basis (as long as you maintain credit to the original content creator).
For example, let's say you're a b2b training company, and you want to educate your target audience on how to be more productive in their work.
But apart from a website and a blog, you have social media channels and newsletters to maintain. There is only so much content you can create to fill up all these venues.
So the solution is to keep on a lookout for great resources which you can curate and share with your audience.
Another benefit of content curation is the relationships you get to build with content creators whose content you are curating and sharing. Because you're helping spread their content, they may also be open to do the same, or more for you.
Repurposing Visual Content
If a piece of content that you created is doing well on one platform, why not create it in a new format for another platform and milk the exposure you get from it as much as possible?
For example, let's say I create an infographic and post it on Pinterest. And it really resonates with the audience and gets lots of pins in a few days.
So a good idea is to turn it into a presentation and upload on Slideshare. And maybe later share that Slideshare presentation on twitter. For example, when you tweet a slideshare link, your followers can preview the slides without leaving Twitter.
Reformatted visual content tailored to a specific platform will always perform better than posting a single generic content on all platforms.
For instance, you can post an infographic on Slideshare. But when it's already known that slides work better in Slideshare, why take a chance?
Each platform out there has a specific set of audience more interested in a specific type of content. So give them your content in a format they prefer and see your engagement soar.
Real-time Communication With Live Video
Ever since the news of Twitter acquiring Periscope broke out, live video is a trend that's increasingly being adopted by major players in the social media space.
Facebook came out with Facebook Live. And now you can also stream live video in Youtube and Instagram. Both content creators and brands are using livestreaming more and more to connect with their audience.
Why do you think people love Snapchat and Instagram? Because both let users upload simple content which is authentic and quick, even though not perfect.
Tough Mudder, an endurance events group with a highly engaged community, is a great example of using live video to engage your community, even the ones who can't attend your event.
They broadcasted one of their events a few months ago. By watching the event on desktop or mobile, the audience can keep up with the event, or just get a feel of what it's like to sign up.
And it's not just brands that are using live video to be more transparent, even consumers love using it to share real footage of their everyday moments, like playing a game, attending a concert or climbing a mountain.
In-Depth Visual Content
With so much that I have talked about short, quick-to-consume content, it doesn't mean that high-quality, long-form content has lost its value. In fact, it's getting stronger and bigger than ever.
Visual content such as infographics and presentations takes more time and resources to produce, but the amount of traffic and leads it can generate in the long term makes the effort worthwhile.
Here's an example from Referral Candy:
No matter how busy your audience is, they will always find the time to consume top-notch content which helps them, inspires them, or entertains them in a big way.
Focused Video Content
Video content has already been on the rise for some time now, but a new trend that I see emerging now is keeping a story, theme or topic constant among a series of videos.
Content marketing institute, for instance, created a series of documentary videos on the story of content marketing, covering the times in history to present.
The takeaway here is to have a central theme or focus which is shared by all your videos. So your audience will have a clear idea of what to expect from you every day or every week. As a result, you'll have stronger relationships and better loyalty from them.
At the end of the way, it won't matter if one of your videos got viral or you got a short spike in number of subscribers or followers. What matters is if you can hold this trend, and do the same with your upcoming pieces of content, consistently.
These are some trends and examples I have noticed and I assume they are going to continue and spread more in the next few years.
However, this is not to say that you've got to jump on into each of these trends and start investing your time and money everywhere.
Take a hard look at your business model, target audience, brand message and try to experiment with which of these strategies can give you more exposure and profits.
Any trend, no matter how huge, doesn’t matter for your business if it can't be justified in terms of benefiting the business.