According to research, the average attention span of an adult amounts to no more than 2,8 seconds. In terms of digital marketing, that is the window of opportunity to grab the user’s attention – or lose it. A period this short is not even long enough to let you finish this sentence, let alone consume a longread, iPad magazine or e-book from front to back, in a focused manner. How does digital marketing overcome this, let’s call it, obstacle?

Aware of this phenomenon, and also aware of the manner in which people tend to consume digital content – with images and videos as the dominant mode of communication – companies have started to adapt their content-marketing and digital strategies. The focus of their product and service presentation has to a large extent switched from telling (that is, writing) to innovative ways of showing what those products are and how to use them. Far from resulting in a loss of quality of the textual content, this has in fact added another dimension to that content: namely, the visual dimension – which grabs the consumer’s attention in a far more intensive manner.

People are visual creatures – up to 90% of the information gathered by our brain is visual information. In accordance, digital marketing is paying more and more attention to the visual element, creating content that will seize the user’s focus faster (in less than 2,8 seconds), and make them spend more time studying what is being presented. Content with high-quality visual elements is not just good “bait” to attract the users’ attention, but it is also shared more often on social networks and through other digital channels.

By creating attractive visual content composed of complex information that can be absorbed quickly by users, digital marketing is keeping up with the habits of Internet users, whose attention is often quite dispersed considering the amount of information that they are in contact with on a daily basis. A creatively designed infographic that presents certain information will surely attract more clicks and be shared more than an article offering the same information in a textual form. A video infographic will have the same, if not better, effect. A video itself, if it is high quality, can be a generator of a great deal of engagement, while the role of images in blogs and similar platforms cannot be overemphasized.

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The significance of the visual element is no news in the world of marketing, but it is certainly gaining importance in the digital era, positioning itself as the „spark“ that is going to „ignite“ the user’s interest in a specific content by making them emotionally invested in it. This is particularly true for users of mobile platforms, who will sooner see a video, browse a gallery or click on a GIF than consume the same information in an exclusively textual form on their smartphones or tablets. Companies with profiles on social networks are aware of how much more engagement from users they receive for images than they do for texts (which, of course, does not imply that the textual element has lost its value completely!). Furthermore, the presentation of products through images and videos provides the users with better insight into what the company has to offer, creating a more authentic image for it.

In order for the visual tactics to have the best possible effect, they should be used in situations where they actually add to what is being said. In addition, when they are being used, it needs to be done in an original and authentic manner, instantly differentiating the visual content from that of the competition. What is required is finding the right spot to position the visual content and making sure that it is appropriate for the group of users that it is aimed at. The visual identity should match the product or service, and be clear not just on websites, but also all other digital destinations. The visual tactics that are used will be further reflected on the success of activities on social networks, and they will individualize the company and provide it a more personal relationship with its users.

Creating the visual element in digital marketing is not as simple as it seems, and it is certainly far from adding random images to profiles on social networks. There is a whole line of digital outlets that make it necessary to prepare individually for each of them in order to better utilize the visual element on all digital platforms that a given company will use to communicate with its users.

P.S. – In this blogpost visuals were not used in purpose to emphasize their importance :)