2018 Forecast: How Visual Content Will Shape the Future of Content Marketing

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2018 Forecast: How Visual Content Will Shape the Future of Content Marketing

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NOVEMBER 2017

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Humans are visual creatures – this fact has been known for a long, long time. While texts and articles form the backbone of a content marketing strategy, images will increase in prominence in the years to come.

Content marketing in 2018 will be heavily reliant on visuals. Statistics from 2017 show just how important the use of different content formats is going to be for audience retention and ensuring a higher level of engagement. The digital environment is changing all the time and so is the way in which people explore online content. Such technological and behavioral shifts have to be examined when content marketing in 2018 is planned.

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What the Numbers Have to Say

The claim that visual content will rule in 2018 has to be backed up by actual data.

Visuals make it easier for prospects to remember a brand and relevant data. When people hear information, they will retain solely 10 percent of it, Hubspot data shows. When the same information is paired with an image, however, the retention rate increases to 65 percent.

The online behavior of people also proves just how important visuals are. A Nielsen study involved the use of eye tracking programs to find out what types of content audiences spend the most time on. When relevant infographics are utilized, people spend more time on the image than on reading the text appearing on the same page. A similar phenomenon was observed for biographies – people spent 10 percent more time viewing the pictures than reading the biographies.

Relevance, however, is pretty important. The Nielsen study also suggests that audiences tend to completely ignore stock photographs that are placed on the page just to have a visual there.

As far as marketer attitudes are concerned, visuals will definitely rule content marketing in 2018. Of all marketers, 37 percent believe that visual marketing is the most important form of inbound promotion. Only blogging is seen as more prominent and it collects 38 percent of the votes.

In 2016, 51 percent of B2B marketers prioritized the creation of visual content over any other type. Of all questioned marketers, 53 percent said that anywhere between 91 and 100 percent of the content that they published in 2016 featured a visual.

Visual content rules and it results in excellent engagement levels. It will continue shaping up the world of content marketing and here are a few of the most important developments to expect in 2018.

Interactive Broadcasting and Live Feeds Will be Big!

Today’s audience wants immediacy. It looks for a real-life interaction that’s somehow shaped up by the recipient. As a result, live streams and interactive broadcasts became very popular in 2017. The trend can be expected to continue in the coming year.

Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Periscope all offer live broadcast opportunities. Some of these platforms are now working towards boosting the interactivity of live streaming – a development that shows the high interest audiences have in such opportunities.

Instagram has made it possible for users to do streams and carry out a live connection with another user. Just think about the potential for branding such interactions have. Companies and influencers can easily work together to increase their reach, create valuable content and maintain audience engagement through diversification of topics and presentation styles.

While video has been great for a long time, live video is the next logical step in the evolution. While the immediacy and the lack of editing could pose certain challenges, the outcome of a successful live stream will usually be great.

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Photograph by Wayhome Studio via Bigstock.com

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More Types of Visual Content to Add to Blog Posts

As already mentioned, the addition of visual content to blog posts and articles increases audience retention. Apart from being eye-catching, visuals can also be used to provide readers with additional data. In 2018 and beyond, the types of visual content to add to texts will be more diversified than ever. Standard illustration and image galleries are an obvious choice but they’re not the most innovative option out there.

Data-driven visuals rank fourth among the types of content that are shared the most on social media. In addition, blog posts featuring charts and other data-driven visuals get a lot more trackbacks.

Other types of visuals to consider include infographics (an obvious but highly effective choice), memes (yes, they’re still here to say, especially if you have a niche audience that can relate to memes), videos, presentations like SlideShare visual content, screenshots, handmade illustrations, flip books and gifographics.

360-Degree Images, Videos and Virtual Reality

Visual technologies change and evolve all the time. 2018 will be the year during which you’ll get a chance to experiment with some new possibilities (if you haven’t tried these already).

360-degree images and videos are far from a massive innovation but they’re a visual advertising approach that numerous brands haven’t tried yet. These are ideal for the establishment of a sense of place and they also get the audience interacting with the content.

Visual effects like these, just like all other images, should be used only when the approach makes sense in terms of storytelling. Having a wow 360-degree image just because it looks pretty is not going to get the job done.

The same applies to virtual reality. The technology is still new and many don’t have the hardware required to view and enjoy such content. For the time being, virtual and augmented reality experiments make sense for niche, tech-savvy audiences. Such presentation tools can definitely be tested out but don’t expect a massively positive outcome if you’re not confident in your audience’s ability to explore such content. Be careful not to overdo it because such a mistake could have an alienating effect.

Are you wondering about the types of content that will give your company the best marketing results? Do you know how to use text and visuals alongside each other? Let the Iris Content team help you find the balance. We specialize in marketing content creation and we know what it takes to go viral in 2018. Please do not hesitate to contact us or explore our 2017 holiday packages to kickstart your marketing efforts in the end of the year.

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It’s Cyber Monday, so discounts are everywhere. Get ahead of your next month’s content needs now with these incredible prices from Iris Content. High-quality blogging, awesome landing pages, content that stands out and brings you more customers in 2018. All week long, you can have all this at 50% off. Start your great content year with our incredible offer!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_divider color=”#cc4315″ show_divider=”on” divider_style=”groove” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on” disabled_on=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ admin_label=”Blog post main Section” fullwidth=”off” specialty=”off” transparent_background=”off” background_color=”FDF3E7″ allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” padding_mobile=”off” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” custom_padding_tablet=”50px|0|50px|0″ custom_padding_last_edited=”on|desktop”][et_pb_row make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” use_custom_gutter=”off” padding_mobile=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_2=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial”][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_image src=”https://iriscontent.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Annie-Iankogg.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”left” sticky=”off” align=”right” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” border_style=”solid” _builder_version=”3.0.74″ show_bottom_space=”on” animation_direction=”left”] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”2_3″][et_pb_team_member name=”Annie Ianko” position=”Chief Content Officer” background_layout=”light” facebook_url=”https://www.facebook.com/IrisWebContent/” twitter_url=”https://twitter.com/Iris_Content” border_style=”solid” custom_css_main_element=”box-shadow: 0 0 20px rgba(0,0,0,.1);||” _builder_version=”3.0.74″]

Annie has 20 years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

If you need a professional to handle all your content during the hectic festive season, Iris Content is launching a few holiday packages that you can take advantage of. Reach out to us and we will help your business shine this holiday season!

Contact Annie to learn how you can take advantage of our holiday packages.

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