Visual content is essential to grab attention and get your message out there in the era of the infoxication
This is the age of information. Never before has our brain been subjected to such an avalanche of information as great as that pounded into us nowadays.
According to Dr. Martin Hilbert from the University of Southern California “only 100 years ago, people were reading an average of 50 books throughout their whole lives at the most”. Over the course of a century, these figures have increased exponentially. If we use a newspaper as the unit of measure (about 85 pages), Dr. Hilbert discovered that in 1986 we received a daily amount of information equal to 40 newspapers, daily! And this figure had shot up to 174 newspapers in 2007. Incredible!
It is what has been labelled “Infoxication“, a new term with an evident significance: the human brain is being subjected to a veritable intoxication through excess of information. Information overload resulting from the empowerment provided by digital technologies to users. This has many consequences, logically. One of them, for example, is that our attention span has been reduced by 4 seconds since the year 2000 and currently lasts only 8’25 seconds. Less than that of a fish! And another consequence, easy to imagine: anyone wishing to communicate a message in these conditions will have to plot a way to not go unnoticed. This is where visual content comes into play.
The human being is an eminently visual species
Sometimes we forget that human beings are prepared to process visual signals much better than those based on text. In an Nieman Reports interview with Marcel Just, director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at the Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Just explains: “Processing print isn’t something the human brain was built for. The printed word is a human artifact. It’s very convenient and it’s worked very well for us for 5,000 years, but it’s an invention of human beings. By contrast Mother Nature has built into our brain our ability to see the visual world and interpret it. Even the spoken language is much more a given biologically than reading written language”. In light of this, here is an example clearly obvious when you put alongside these two graphic comparisons.
A forceful comparison, isn’t it? Our brain only takes 150 milliseconds to process an image. Whilst with a text… Nearly half our brain is involved in the visual processing. If you add to this that people generally only remember 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read, but up to 80% of what they see and do, it is obvious that visual content is destined to succeed in the era of the “Infoxication“. It’s a win-win situation. Visual contents manage to attract and withhold attention. They are easy to digest and assimilate as well as being interesting to share on social networks.
Explainer Videos and Infographics, the two main types of visual content
The era of “Infoxication” has brought about the boom of visual content, mainly through videos and infographics. Some figures are staggering:
- 300 hours of video per minute are uploaded to YouTube.
- YouTube has more than one billion users.
- Companies that include an explainer video in their emails increase the number of clicks by between 200% and 300%.
- Internet users spend 88% more time on a web with videos than on one not containing videos.
And among the videos, explainer videos are being established as an especially useful and interesting version.
In 2007, a company from Seattle called Common Craft created an explainer video called Twitter in Plain English to make what it was and what Twitter did more obvious. It is considered the beginning of the era of explainer videos. But what are explainer videos? They are videos that skillfully use the teaching power of images, combining a more or less complex speech with animated illustrations that help make it easier to understand and assimilate. Here is an example:
Infographics are attractive, didactic and easily viral
Along with explainer videos, infographics are a great content marketing tool, because they provide complex information in a clear, snappy, empowering way through data visualization. A sign of their popularity can be seen in this chart depicting the evolution of searches for the term “infographics” in Google Trends over the last 5 years:
And what better way to end this post than gathering all its contents (along with extra information of interest) precisely in an infographic?