Why Online Customers Respond to Visual Content (Backed up by Data)

Mar 07, 2018


The sooner you start producing visual content and sharing it with your audience, the better. Why? The answer is simple—it drives traffic, leads, and sales to your business. Your average customer’s brain is wired to process visual content 60,000 times faster than text. A picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to giving your audience the best experience, you want to capitalize on the emotional appeal of illustrations to communicate your message.

According to a study by Brain Rules, people retain 65% of information three days later when a relevant image is paired with data. Without some sort of graphic, your audience will only remember 10% of that information.

Humans have short attention spans, and sadly this has created a gap between serving the audience and really getting them to pay attention. To keep interest and built trust with your customers, lengthy explanations may no longer cut it. You need to evoke emotions and “show” instead of telling. 

I’ll explain why online consumers respond to this type of content, and how you can leverage visuals to power up your communications, spark social interaction, attend to your customers, and grow your business. 

Audiences Want an Experience

Nowadays, just selling a product to consumers isn’t going to resonate with your audience. Consumers want to buy into an experience and really know what your company values. One of the best ways for your audience to get to know your brand is through video. Every smart marketer knows that to drive social media engagement, you must prioritize visual content. Now more than ever, video marketing must be a priority as Facebook averages 8 billion video views per day.

Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. If you aren’t producing visual content right now, you’re already falling behind.

If you aren’t sure where to start with your video marketing, we have good news—you don’t have to spend a lot of money to start. Even if you don’t have a budget set aside for video marketing, start small by creating short clips of the thought leaders in your organization speaking on a relevant topic and upload them to all of your social platforms.

This strategy costs nothing and it’s engaging because it gives users direct insight into the heart of your company. As an added bonus, it can be repurposed.

Be sure to make these videos easy to access and comment on. Pin it to the top of your Twitter and Facebook pages to ensure maximum exposure, and even consider including it on your website--statistics show that video can improve conversions by 80%.

Once these videos start to gain traction through views and engagement, you can also consider making videos about your product or service, but keep in mind that consumers are more concerned with the experience than the actual product itself.  

Creativity Equals Credibility

Before making a purchase, consumers are going to judge your brand on your high-quality visuals (or lack thereof). If your content doesn’t appeal to users, they won't even consider buying—which means the pressure is on for marketers!

In exclusive research conducted by the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, 46.1% of people say a website's design is the number one criteria for discerning the credibility of the company. Amazon is a well-known global brand, not only because of its great products and customer support — but because of the credibility and reputation the company has built over the past decade. In addition, Amazon.com is well put together and easy to use, thus increasing its credibility as a powerhouse brand.

If your company website is boring or not mobile responsive, you may want to consider a redesign because it matters to your customers. When designing your homepage in particular, use relevant and high-quality visuals to draw people in and enhance your credibility.

Using product images will establish a better relationship with 67% of your customers, according to a research paper by the University of California, Berkeley. In fact, packaging drives more purchases than TV ads, online reviews, and recommendations from friends.

So whether you’re selling a physical product, offering consulting service, or involved in prototyping, you need to design and use the right images. Even though customer testimonials are crucial, don’t rely on them solely to drive your company’s credibility to the top. You must be leveraging visuals as much as you can.

Visual Content Breaks Down Complex Information

A study by MassPlanner revealed that infographics are “liked” and shared on social media 3X more than any other content type.

One of the reasons why the human brain processes visuals 60,000X faster than plain text is because it has been broken down. Though blog posts and articles are popular types of content that any company can use for lead generation, marketing, and branding, written content does have its limitations— it tends to complicate information.

Your audience isn’t going to digest information the same because everyone processes information differently. So for those who learn more visually, consider repurposing some of those informative blogs into infographics or slide presentations to break down complex information and make it easily digestible for your customers.

As long as people can read and see visuals, your message will resonate with them. When customers can consume your content and understand complex information as a result of your visual guidance, you’ll generate more leads and sales.


Visual marketing isn’t a trend that will lose momentum anytime soon. Online consumers spend more time uploading and watching videos than any other type of content. According to Ooyala and Ipsos, 25 million smartphone users stream 4 hours of mobile video per month. Viewers spend 100% more time on web pages with videos on them.

It’s all there in the statistics, and it’s easy to see the underlying thoughts why people respond to visual content— it’s incredibly powerful. As a smart marketer, it’s time to position your brand and develop a winning content marketing strategy that’s driven by visual content.

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