One industry that has really benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic is visual marketing. As we all set up our offices at home and shops closed their doors for long periods of time in countries around the world, we all shifted our behaviour, especially when it comes to how we consume content online.
Over the past 18 months, visual marketing has exploded, both here in New Zealand and around the world. Businesses have had to get more creative in the way they reach out to their audience as they have been unable to talk to their customers in person – a valuable sales and customer service tool.
During this time, we have seen a growth in certain trends when it comes to visual marketing and we have highlighted five of the most popular visual marketing trends to look out for in 2022 below.
1. Video content continues to grow in popularity
You could perhaps argue that video content has been a visual marketing trend to watch for the last five years. There is no doubt that video content has quickly become the most popular form of visual content.
According to a recent study by Contently, out of 1,072 participants, 30% responded that the content format they enjoy the most is video, followed by photography/still with 28%.
According to a report by Wyzowl, brands have been increasing their video marketing efforts in a response to global lockdowns and this is a trend we can expect to continue into 2022 and beyond.
Of the 813 people surveyed, 91% responded to say that video has become much more essential for brands in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2021, the most commonly-created types of video were explainer videos (73%), social media videos (67%), presentation videos (51%), sales videos (41%) and video ads (41%).
Over the past 18 months, webinars have become an increasingly important visual marketing tool. In 2019, just 46% of people surveyed by Wyzowl reported that they used webinars. In 2020, that rose to 62% with 91% saying that their use of webinars had been a success.
In 2021, that figure was expected to grow by 11% and webinars have become an integral part of video marketing strategies around the world.
Consumers are also responding favourably to video content:
- 84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
- 79% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy or download a piece of software or app by watching a video.
- People are twice as likely to share video content with their friends than any other type of content, including social media posts, blog posts/articles and product pages.
2. Stories provide authenticity
Another trend that has continued to grow in popularity over the past 18 months is the increased use of stories by brands. The most popular platforms for stories include Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
Stories provide brands with the opportunity to produce visual content that lasts for 24 hours before disappearing. Whilst it is classified as video content, stories can be made up of a series of stills to create highly engaging visual content.
It can be quite labour intensive to maintain a steady flow of stories, no matter the platform you use, however, with the option to monetise these stories now for brands by giving customers the option to click through to products without having to swipe up. This is an option available to all brands – not just those with 10,000+ followers, given businesses a genuine opportunity to drive sales from stories.
Brands use stories for a variety of reasons and whilst sales have become a more popular option, brands are also using stories to provide a behind the scenes look at their business – showcasing staff, customers, the workplace and other factors that let the customer get a sneak peek of what goes on away from the limelight that a customer would not usually get to see.
This often helps to demonstrate the “authenticity” of the brand and encourages more brand loyalty and ultimately, more sales.
In a recent Instagram Stories report, more than half (58%) of people surveyed by Instagram claim they became more interested in a brand after seeing it in Instagram Stories and 50% of people surveyed said they have visited a website to buy a product/service as a result of seeing it in Stories.
3. Visual shopping experiences
We have touched above on the opportunity to use stories as a way of pushing out products through this highly engaging visual medium, however, the visual shopping experience extends beyond just stories.
Whilst Facebook and Instagram are undoubtedly pioneers of visual shopping experiences, other brands are quickly cottoning on and it is no surprise to find that Google – a brand that are always looking for opportunities to monetise their products – have integrated the shopping experience into their fantastic Google Lens app.
If you have never used Google Lens before, it’s a fantastic application that has a variety of uses. Whilst a lot of people use Lens for identifying plants and animals simply by taking a photo of them, there are many more practical uses of Lens that are not as well utilised but that will become important visual marketing tools.
You can scan and translate text from anything you can take a photograph, copy and paste handwritten text into Google Docs or, and this is where the visual shopping experience is taken to the next level, you can find a look you like simply by taking a photograph. See an outfit that caught your eye? Or a chair that’s perfect for your living room? Get inspired by similar clothes, furniture, and home decor—without having to describe what you’re looking for in a search box.
4. Visual SERPs
As an SEO agency, our primary focus is on achieving better rankings for our clients for the keywords that are most likely to drive relevant traffic to their website. One thing we have seen over the past 2-3 years is that search results pages (SERPs) are getting more visual.
Whether that’s a simple map visual for local map pack results or image and video results appearing more often in search results, there is definitely a move towards a more visual experience for searchers on Google.
Recently, it also appeared that Google was testing a new kind of result in the SERP. When we search for a specific product on Google, every organic result on the page included an image of the product. This could be a major gamechanger for e-commerce websites if they are optimising product images on the page as they could see a ranking boost based on image attributes such as alt tags and optimised files.
Visual SERPs are evolving all the time and visual content is becoming almost as important as creating and optimising text content. Branding your visual content is a great way of increasing brand awareness and exposure, especially through organic search.
Below is another example of a visual SERP where you can see that it’s not just organic results with images, but also ads, local listings and related searches that all contain a visual element.
5. Pinterest resurgence
When we talk about visual marketing, it would be remiss of us not to talk about one of the most visual marketing platforms out there – Pinterest. Whilst Pinterest may seem like it is not a mainstream social media platform, their numbers don’t lie.
According to their own data, Pinterest drives 3.8x greater sales than the average digital campaign. 97% of top Pinterest searches are unbranded, providing outstanding organic opportunities for brands to be discovered through visual content. 46% of weekly Pinners have discovered a new brand or product on Pinterest and 87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest.
Whilst Pinterest might not jump out at you straight away as a discovery platform for your brand, do some research and find out what your competitors or other brands within your industry are doing on there and take some inspiration.
Pinterest is a great way for telling your brand’s story and engaging with your audience in a visual way. If you are going to use Pinterest, make sure you set out some clear objectives first. Determine what it is you want to achieve and how you are going to get there.
Design your Pinterest boards around the keywords that are most relevant to your business and make sure you also align these to the way people search on Pinterest. By adding the Pinterest Save Button to your website, you can also boost your opportunities for organic discovery.
Visual marketing is becoming an integral part of any successful digital marketing strategy. The tactics above are not for every business, however, within that list, there is likely to be a tactic that could potentially benefit your business and provide a positive ROI. Whether it’s brand discovery through Pinterest or boosting your sales conversion rate through visual shopping experiences, work out which platform is most relevant to your business and carry out some due diligence.
Of course, if you’re looking for help and guidance, you can always drop us a line and we would be more than happy to talk you through your options and provide you with guidance on your next steps.