It is fairly common knowledge that businesses should use a mix of text, photos, and videos in their marketing efforts. However, I’ve come to realize that many people fail to recognize the importance of each form of content and do not consider why or how each one can be effectively utilized in marketing.
Based on a report released by Microsoft in 2015, people have been said to have an attention span of roughly 8 seconds, which is shorter than the average 12-second attention span of individuals in the year 2000.
Although these claims are highly contested and are debated by psychologists, their premise is undoubtedly something that your business should take into consideration when producing content. The speculated drop in our attention span also forces marketers to understand the importance of producing advertisements that are eye-catching, interesting, and engaging for their targeted market.
In this article, I’d like to provide insight on why you should include a mix of written text, photos, and videos in your business’ content marketing.
People Can Read Anytime, Anywhere
There is a common conception that multimedia is taking over the internet. Perhaps related to our shortening attention spans, most of us would prefer to watch an online video rather than to read a piece of text. However, there are many instances where we find ourselves in a situation where watching a video is not a viable option. In these cases, written text would be better suited for consumption than other forms of media.
Written Content Improves SEO
From a business standpoint, it is important to note that written text helps your content to rank higher on internet search results. With Google’s automatic search engine bots working tirelessly 24/7, ensuring that your content is SEO optimized is crucial to your business’ success. Although Google’s bots are highly sophisticated and advanced, they aren’t capable of reading a photo or a video and they still rely on written text to determine the content’s relevancy.
Written Articles Can Increase Sales
Although videos are excellent marketing tools (which I will talk about later), they are normally best at generating consumer interest in your business’ product or service. A more descriptive and informative body of text can help to persuade a potential customer to complete a purchase, especially if said purchase is more expensive.
Writing Can Be More Efficient
Although the use of videos and pictures can quickly capture your target audience, written subject matter can also help to clarify details or information in a video or photo that your viewers may have misconstrued.
A well-written article is also generally easy to skim through due to its headlines and sub-headlines. Therefore, readers can easily find the information that they are searching for without having to scroll along the time bar of a video.
Finally, written content is generally faster to produce and can be done at a cost that is less expensive to produce for your business than other forms of subject matter.
People Still Love Reading
It is also fairly common for many people to have a preference for reading text over other forms of consumption, especially for certain types of content. If this were not true, the book industry would have vanished as soon as the film industry hit the scene and televised news would have rendered newspapers obsolete. Surprisingly, despite our society’s technology-focused reality, reading has been becoming increasingly popular since 2013. In 2018, 675 million print books were sold in the U.S. alone while other book formats (e-books, audiobooks) continue to yield billions of U.S. dollars in revenue each year.
In recent years, there has been a significant shift favouring a combination of both text and visuals. While the text-only subject matter has many advantages, the proper use of photos will undoubtedly add spice to your content and will help to engage your audience.
Today’s business trend sees increasing use of visual content. Your company’s website, for example, is a visual experience for users. Understanding how to effectively utilize images can dramatically increase your business’ performance.
Photos Enhance Your Text Content
According to Fast Company, content that uses visuals gets 94% more views, and readers are 80% more likely to read presented information if visuals are involved. Perhaps more surprising, however, is that posts with images produce 180% more engagement than solely text-based posts.
Images Increase Communication Speed
Back in the 1970s, the average person reportedly saw between 500 to 1600 ads per day. In 2020, however, we live in a very fast-paced world and are estimated to encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads each day. Using images in marketing is essential because the mental and emotional impact that is felt by a viewer after seeing an image occurs in about 100 milliseconds or one-tenth of a second. In contrast, it takes an average reader almost 10 full seconds to digest and fully appreciate the message that is relayed through a written text.
Images Are Memorable
Have you ever wondered why you might listen to a song for days on end but will never be able to sing along to all of the words?
Dr. Lynell Burkmark, an education consultant who writes and speaks about visual literacy, helped to explain this phenomenon by saying “…unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about seven bits of information (plus or minus 2) […]. Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.”
Burkmark’s statement can be applied to marketing and explains why images are more easily remembered than text by consumers. Our brains are extremely complex with 90% of the total information absorbed by the brain being visual. We are actually able to recall over 65% of what we see while our brain can only recall around 10% of what we hear.
High-Quality Images Drive Sales
One of the most common uses of photos in business is to showcase a product to potential consumers. With online shopping being more popular than ever, buyers rely on photos of the product to get an idea of what the product might look like in person. Therefore, high-quality photos that accurately showcase your product are so important. 67% of consumers agree and say that the quality of each product’s image is very important in making their purchasing decision.
Videos are an excellent way to showcase your product, service, company values, or anything related to your business. Wyzowl’s 2019 report indicated that 87% of marketing professionals use video as a marketing tool. Because the majority of the population is highly affected by visual stimuli, an added auditory stimulus makes video marketing highly effective.
Demand For Video Content Is Increasing
A study conducted in 2018 by HubSpot revealed that 54% of consumers want to see an increase in video content from brands or businesses that they support. Although this statistic refers more to engagement-focused content rather than sales-driven content, releasing videos of this kind can help to increase your engagement with your consumers while bolstering their brand loyalty and brand association.
The Optimal Video Length For Marketing
As previously stated in this article, attention spans are short. People often don’t even watch an entire video, even if it’s only a minute long because there’s always something else on the screen that can grab the viewer’s attention. Therefore, it would make sense for your video’s length to be short as well. However, it would be better to say that your video should be as long as it needs to be to relay all of the relevant information, although not a second longer. Your video should provide information or tell a story in a compelling way without any added details. This claim is backed by Animoto’s survey on consumers which states that 59.9% of people indicated that a video being too long would strongly deter them from watching.
A few short seconds may be enough to showcase a specific promotion or product in an advertisement while a how-to video’s length should be as long as it needs to be to provide viewers with the required information.
Animated Explainer Videos
Many businesses can struggle to explain what it is that they or their product do in a way that potential customers can understand. This difficulty is why animated explainer videos are becoming increasingly popular among businesses. However, whether an animated video is effective or not is largely based on the quality of the video itself. If the explainer can accurately and simply explain what it is that a business does, the explainer video will generally be well received.
Well-developed animated explainer videos, historically, have proven to be highly successful. Major businesses such as Twitter and DropBox relied upon animated explainer videos to explain their products and the videos were instrumental in their companies’ early successes.
Videos Drive Sales
The rise in popularity of video content and video marketing is associated with an increase in sales experienced by many. According to Optinmonster, video marketers experience 66% more qualified leads per year while realizing a 54% increase in brand awareness. 93% of marketers also say that they have successfully landed a new customer due to a video that they posted on social media.
A survey by Wyzowl revealed that nearly 80% of respondents had purchased software or an app after having watched the brand’s video. Furthermore, the power of video marketing was realized throughout the buyer’s overall purchasing experience. A whopping 96% of surveyed consumers turn to posted videos to gather more information about a particular product and/or service while 90% of customers agree that videos help them to make purchasing decisions.
Although video marketing is gaining popularity at a rapid rate, that does not mean that you should neglect using photo or text-based content. Each of these three forms of communicating information to your potential customer is important and effective in its own way. However, keep in mind that both pictures and videos require some text (via description) that Google will use for ranking your content’s relevancy in their SEO algorithm. There is next to no point in investing time and/or money to produce content, regardless of its quality, if it is never seen by your target audience.