The age of big data is here. Over the course of a week, billions of pieces of content are created and spread all over the web. Indeed, on average, 500 million tweets are sent everyday.
Yet, we have increasingly less time to absorb this data. Enter the infographic. Simple, attractive, fun; infographics make often incredibly detailed research and statistics easy to digest. Packed with charts, graphs, maps, icons, they are visual shorthand, if you will.
The popularity of the infographic has certainly rocketed in recent times. Here’s why and, moreover, why you should be using them:
1. Tap in to the visual web
Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat; they all rely on images. And it’s been reported by 2017 69% of all online traffic will be video. Humans are naturally very visual creatures. 70% of our sensory receptors are in our eyes, and 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Unsurprising then that we’re more likely to look at a captivating image than a large chunk of text.
If your data is colourful, interesting and engaging, more people will take time to look at it and what you have to say. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a nice piece of design? And an infographic can make even the most mundane information interesting, but don’t forget it needs to be presented logically too, so it can be easily scanned for the key information. Otherwise you risk undermining the ultimate aim – to make complex data easy to understand.
2. Create viral content
In the excessive digital noise, the marketing challenge has become not to get your information out there, but to get it noticed. Infographics are more noticeable and engaging than simple text; and crucially, more engaging means more sharing.
According to popular social network, Slideshare, people are three times more likely to share infographics than documents to social networks. If that’s not enough, technology news site, Bit Rebels, found its tweets containing infographics were retweeted 832% more than its traditional posts. So spread the word, or should I say, infographic.
3. Bolster brand recognition
Here I can’t resist using the old cliché ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. It takes less than a tenth of a second for a human to get a sense of a visual scene so the impact of your corporate identity will make the infographic instantly recognisable as yours. Since infographics have the potential to be incredibly viral, so too does your brand. Including your logo on a popular infographic is a sure-fire way to spread it far and fast.
Furthermore, what better way to let people know what you do? They can immediately make the connection between your business and the information being presented; this is particularly advantageous for new or relatively complex products and services.
4. Boost search engine performance
It’s that virtuous circle we all know about: a good link portfolio equals more web traffic, which equals a good Google ranking, which equals even more links, even more web traffic, and thus an even better search engine position.
Infographics can be an excellent source of backlinks and web traffic, especially when you succeed in making them viral. This hinges on sharing in the right way at the right time. Assuming you have good content, the infographic needs to be designed for use across multiple platforms, and then accompanied with the right text, hashtags and links to achieve optimal coverage. Context is everything. For more on the importance of context see Saskia’s blog ‘Right on Time’.
5. Demonstrate expertise
Thought leadership is a popular marketing strategy of late. In the age of the consumer, taking the time to make an informed decision has become more common. People like to research a product or service before spending their money, especially if the investment is significant. By providing the information they are looking for, you can reassure them their money is being spent in the right place.
People love an interesting statistic. But herein lies the key to a successful infographic – the data has to be deemed ‘interesting’. Once again, I find myself returning to the importance of good content. Even the best designed infographic will fall over before it’s got off the ground if you don’t have raw data that is of interest to people. You can’t just throw together a graphic with a few irrelevant stats and expect it to go viral, you have to ask the questions people – specifically your target audience – want answering.
If you are to showcase your knowledge on a topic, which an infographic does succinctly and successfully, you need to invest time and resource in to researching the subject and gathering good data. Additionally the best infographics have an easy flow and central theme, with statistics relevant not only to the customer, but one another.
Knowledge is power and a good infographic can pay dividends in representing your company as an expert in its field, providing the competitive edge you need.