Do infographics have a place in the modern internet user’s cache of enjoyable content anymore? Or are they a thing of the past?
Once a sure-fire way to draw attention to a topic, infographics seem to be losing their appeal to readers, maybe due to the sheer number of infographics that get pushed out into the online landscape.
Lots of smart marketers think this means they’re not worth spending time or money on anymore.
This visual medium was once seen as a breakthrough way to present complex data in a compelling and easily digestible format. However, even digesting information on this level now seems burdensome to readers who have been exposed to the emerging trend of data visualization.
Data viz, unlike infographics, often incorporate moving and interactive components, allowing readers to filter data sets, adjust viewpoints and, essentially, understand the information better. But does the presence of data viz signal the death of the infographic all together?
I don’t think so.
What’s really happening to infographic marketing
Infographics aren’t dying out as a whole.
If you look at companies like Visual.ly (acquired by ScribbleLive) or Killer Infographics (which has over 11K Twitter followers), both of which one could argue have gotten famous because of the infographics they promote, I think many will agree.
What’s really happening is that while infographics used to be so popular that even bad ones would thrive, they’re now a competitive medium where only the best succeed.
A few years ago, it was relatively easy to research a topic, create an infographic around that information, and earn hundreds of shares for it. Today, infographics are scrutinized much more carefully by the average social media user.
We’ve been pampered with all of these amazing forms of content like time-lapse Vines, interactive data charts, and even Snapchat filters. Compared to these immediately stimulating forms of content, infographics are much more subtle.
But still, sites like Visual.ly and Killer Infographics – which started out in the heyday of infographic glory – still pull in tons of social followers, image and blog post shares, and brand mentions every month.
For example, this infographic on What Your Handwriting Says About You earned over 1M views and 3K shares on Visual.ly, while this graphic on An Anthology of Mythical Creatures earned over 704K views and 700 shares.
Infographics still matter and have an important role to play, as a form of both entertainment and information absorption. However, if businesses plan to keep using infographics for content marketing and brand promotion, it’s obvious that a shift is needed.
Today’s infographic audiences don’t want to read an infographic that’s specifically about you or your product. They want graphics (and other kinds of content for that matter) that cater to them: their problems, their lives, their goals.
For example, check out this timely infographic on Invasive Hacks in Connected Cars. The graphic was created by a Ford Mustang parts’ dealer, yet the graphic doesn’t mention Ford or Mustangs at all. Instead, it addresses the problem of hackers being able to hijack the internal functions of IoT-connected cars and using them against you.
If marketers can make this shift, I think we’ll see less, but more thoughtful, infographics grace our viral feeds once again.
Still not convinced? Here are 10 more reasons why infographics still matter to content marketers:
1. Infographics complement blogging
The most important form of content for marketers, according to a survey from the Content Marketing Institute, is blogging. That’s not too much of a surprise. Visual assets, including infographics, came in second place with 34 percent of the responses. The best marketers are combining the two as much as possible, and infographics are a simple example of that.
2. Your bosses want them
The same report from the CMO Council found that 39% of marketers wanted more money to be budgeted for compelling visual assets.
3. Your audience engages with them
Content paired with compelling visuals is proven to perform better than content without. Facebook posts receive double the amount of comments and websites experience higher engagement levels. With those results, infographics are here to stay as a way to keep audiences interested.
4. They’re good for non-readers
Infographics caught on as a way to present complex information in a simple and effective way. That hasn’t changed.
People only read about 20 percent of text on web pages, and infographics remain a perfect medium to keep readers engaged.
5. They help us remember things
Infographics vary in terms of function and goals. Some are serious ways of conveying medical information, while others are a little more lighthearted.
Regardless of the underlying intention of the infographic, they’re usually more memorable than pure text. A picture helps our brains remember 65% of what we see three days later, compared to 10% of what we see from text, which shows how important a good infographic is for creating a lasting impression.
6. They’re big on Pinterest
Each social media platform has its own pluses and minuses. For infographics, Pinterest is definitely the best way to share an infographic and increase an audience. An infographic shared on Facebook might get a lot of initial interest and then quickly drop off.
Good infographics live on for an insanely long time on Pinterest. The so-called “half-life” of a Pinterest post is 1,680 times longer than Facebook.
7. They’re getting better
While infographics might not be as experimental as they used to be, they are being refined to the point that they resonate better with readers.
There’s a science to the ideal infographic. For example, infographics that are shared the most have an average of 396 words, are dominated by the color blue, and use an identifiable color scheme.
8. They reinforce your branding
The use of color is important for all branded materials. Effective use of color can improve brand recognition by an impressive 80 percent. Infographics are a proven way to spread the word and share content, while utilizing color.
So, if you’re thinking about using some of your budget to create infographics in the later part of 2016, I say go for it. Just be strategic about the kinds of graphics you create.