Seeing is believing! – Why visual advertising should be part of your digital plan

With online shopping forecast to grow by 57% this year[1] and with many people choosing to research online before they buy it’s important for small businesses to project themselves online in a way which not only represents their business, but displays themselves and the products and services that they offer in the most attractive and innovative way possible.   So whether you are thinking about your website or your social media channels it’s important to think about the elements of your visual advertising.


Why visual advertising is so important.

It’s important to understand the fundamentals of why humans often prefer a “visual-first” shopping environment.  According to reports[2], the human mind reacts differently to visual stimuli because “the human brain deciphers image elements instantly”.  On the flip side – language is “decoded in a linear, sequential manner”.  In simple terms, what this means is that it takes most humans a longer period of time to process words than images.

According to a recent article from TreeFrog[3]:

“A professional, modern looking website can immediately build trust and guide visitors to take action. When it comes to web copy, people rarely read a piece of content word for word. On the other hand, images stick with readers longer and are more likely to give you a greater return on your content investment.”

So where should you focus your visual marketing efforts?  Follow these 3 top trends:


Clean, clear, professional photography

Many brands still make the mistake of thinking they can cut budgets and take their own product photography using accessible devices like cell phones or low level lighting gear.  However it’s worthwhile investing in professionals for all your online efforts to ensure that you get the best photos, with the right lighting, attention to detail and artistic design that best reflects your products.

Apple are undoubtedly one of the best examples of fine-tuned, sleek and sexy photography, which pans 360 degrees and feels like you can almost touch the products you’re  browsing – the next best thing to being in the Apple store!


Video is king

By 2019 80% of all internet traffic will be videos[4].  With this trend in mind it’s easy to understand why many small businesses are putting increased emphasis on branded video content.  Branded videos can range from interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, product promos or brand adverts.

In response to the rising demand for video content, brands are naturally beginning to turn their focus toward creating fresh content.  This has been a key tactic for many organisations who choose to either launch or replicate their TV campaigns online and via social media channels.

Research indicates that a customer can recall 90% of a message from a video, compared to just 10% when reading the exact same message in text .  It’s therefore no surprise that Facebook video ads are becoming the key to an effective campaign, with companies vying for the attention of millions of users.  The key is to make your video powerful, different and relevant to your audience.

As an extension of this, Facebook Live gives anyone with a phone the power to broadcast to anyone in the world and feel connected in a more personal way.  This is a massive shift in how we communicate and it’s only going to create more exciting opportunities for people to interact with potential customers anywhere in the world.  Latest figures suggest that people spend 3 times longer watching live video compared to video that is pre-recorded[5].  Therefore it’s no wonder that lots of companies and brands have quickly adopted Facebook Live, delivering sneak peaks, big announcements, celebrity takeovers, Q&A sessions and much more.  Social live streaming is where the future industry is heading and the possibilities it creates for the digital marketeer are exciting.

Animated GIFs and short videos have become more common place within social media platforms with brands and celebrities embracing the growth in this area.  GIFS, or bite-sized animations, are ideal for telling stories in a short timeframe. The motion in these images also gives them an advantage in vying for attention in crowded news feeds. We can expect to see increased use of animated GIFs in digital plans.


Augmented Reality and immersive video

Video is becoming even more dominant, with the emphasis moving to 360 degree video and delivering virtual experiences in order to attract and engage with audiences.  Augmented reality (AR) has been more commonly associated with gaming. However, more and more brands are using it to offer their audiences a unique and emotional user experience. For example, Ikea have recently launched their AR app which allows customers to view IKEA furniture in their own home[6].

Apple have recently launched the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X, which both incorporate a new chip that allows the phones to provide users with extraordinary augmented reality experiences .  It is likely that social media platforms will find ways to incorporate the new technology as well.  For example, it’s conceivable that Snapchat or Instagram will soon support filters that allow users to take a selfie with a friend or celebrity projected via augmented reality. Similarly, brands could soon project their products into the homes of social media users through special filters, allowing customers to visualise their interaction with the product before they commit to the purchase.


So where do you start?

The good news is you don’t have to start from scratch. Many brands are able to repurpose some of their existing content by converting it to video form. Thanks to modern video solutions and editing platforms, the ability to create content has never been easier.

Visual marketing is predicted to be a major growth area and with 73% of B2B marketeers saying that video has a positive effect on their marketing results[7], it’s important to start investing now. Visual advertising and in particular video is on the rise and it’s set to become one of the most powerful tools in driving your digital strategy. So start embracing these trends and stay ahead of the game.

At HoneyBadger, we have a ‘video first’ strategy which means that all of our customers get access to video adverts as a starting point.  Check out some of our work here