Marketers and businesses have used visual content to bring visibility to their brand for it’s effectiveness with consumer engagement. In this article, we explore the scientific reasoning behind this determine and how we can apply this psychology to create top-notch marketing content.
Content posted with colored images produced 180% more engagement. Customers are 85% more likely to purchase your product after watching a video about it. It’s no wonder then that social media platforms are becoming more and more visually-oriented, such as Instagram, Facebook live, Snapchat and YouTube. Lucky for us as marketers, this opens up a big opportunity to engage with our customers and show off our products and services. But in order to maximize our effectiveness, we need to truly understand the psychology behind it and how the human brain works. So why do we love visual content so much?
Although we have 5 senses, our primary sense that is used to make sense of our world is sight. Simply put, we interact with our world through looking. Which is why 90% of the information that is transmitted to the brain is visual. This is what our brains are made to do and have done since day one. When we are first born, we immediately begin seeing things and are able to retain and make sense of that visual information right away, but we don’t learn to talk or read until much later.
Since our brains are made to be visual, and by the time we are “consumer-age,” our brains are able to process this visual information at an alarming rate. In fact, we process visual content up to 60,000 times faster.
And we don’t just process more, faster. We also retain and remember visual information far better than text, which the average person will only remember 20% of.
Color is very powerful to the human brain and our emotions. Have you ever seen one of those viral videos that documents the reaction of someone that is color blind seeing a new color for the first time? It almost makes the viewer want to cry with joy!
But here we are, left wondering why is colorful so powerful to us?
There are two primary components of the eye that allow us to capture visual information to send to the brain. Rods and cones. The cones are responsible for color, and were developed to help us stay away from danger, particularly poison. So color really taps into our “lizard brains,” making it an extremely powerful tool for our survival. And although it has been a long time, these innate and instinctive behaviors don’t just simply vanish from humans. A recent study from the University of Berkeley, California concludes that we do still have strong negative and positive associations of color. While some of these will differ from the individual’s personal experience, the following can be generalized: Blues and greens are associated with nature, good health and cleanliness, white, along with blue is also associated with ‘freshness’ and clean living, and browns and certain shades of yellow evoke negative connotations (because these were colors we wanted to generally avoid while foraging for food – and we still dislike them thousands of years later).
You know that feeling when you abruptly see something move out of the corner of your eye? It might give you an eerie feeling because you can’t tell who or what it was. Our heads immediately snap to the direction of the movement.
Rods, which capture peripherals and movement in our eyes. According to this article, “these rods in our eyes are more sensitive to movement for one very good reason, perhaps the ultimate reason – to keep us alive.”
Movement is so powerful to us for the same reason as color – it taps into our lizard brain for survival instinct. So when we see movement, it will capture our full attention and keep it, until we know it’s no longer a “perceived threat.” So if you are constantly changing the movement and information coming in, you will hold attention.
Our human brains are extremely complex. So complex, that they are simple. Or rather they simplify everything that they can in order to process complex information more efficiently and rapidly. Essentially, our brains identify and create shortcuts for us to make everything seem more simple.
So as much as our brains need stimulation, they really crave simple ideas and simple tasks where we can create these shortcuts. A shortcut for our brain is visual processing, because it is able to process that information much more quickly and with less effort. In fact, it only requires 50% of our brain to process a visual advertisement. This is also why public signs so often have a distinct look and portray information visually. Yes, it breaks down the language barrier, but it also makes things more efficient. Just imagine you’re driving and a sign reads “watch out, upcoming road will be windy and have a lot of turns.” You might pass that sign before you even read it all! Or you could just have a visual of an arrow and turns like the one below.
And this is exactly why we always say “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Perhaps the one thing that the human brain loves more than visuals are emotions. Reading facial emotions is universal according to this science brief by the APA. While we can experience emotions through text, we are true experts at reading facial expressions and emotions. “One of the things we are watching from day one is faces. Babies, even before their eye muscles are capable of focusing, still turn and face their mothers. We are hardwired to seek out a round object with two dark bands (one for the eyes, one for the mouth) even before we can see them clearly.”
Reading emotions visually through facial expression is one thing. But we also have the ability and oftentimes will feel that emotion in one of three ways. 1. Nostalgic – when we see an expression on another’s face, we often remember a time when we felt that emotion too, 2. Imagination – we will imagine ourselves feeling a certain way too, or a uniquely human characteristic 3. Empathy – we truly feel the emotion of that other person.
Other visuals also play a role in emotions, including color. For example, if we see a picture of someone with a slight smile and a white background, it will not be as emotionally powerful to us as an image of that same person with a background of the blue sky and a bright yellow sun.
Now that we truly understand the science behind our love of visual content, we can apply this knowledge to developing more effective digital marketing strategies and better content. Here are some points to consider:
The human brain’s obsession with visual content has driven the rise of visually-oriented social media channel. This has opened the doors for companies to promote their products in a visually engaging manner, to audiences across the globe. But due to the short life of every Instagram Post, or Boomerang video, it’s crucial to get the very most out of each advertisement or content post. And after reading this article, you now understand the science behind how to capture the attention of and win over your customers. Use this knowledge and the ideas provided to create captivating visual content that is sure to fuel your marketing strategy and convert customers.
Recent trends suggest that Disruptive campaigns are now becoming the new normal in the advertising industry globally. The case is not different in Nigeria, where advertisers are combining both technological innovations and experiential marketing alongside conventional/digital media platforms to not only advertise their products but to engage their audiences on personal levels.
Perhaps, advertisers have realised that reliance on conventional media and regular media messaging techniques can only go so far in driving brand expectations, which includes market penetration and gaining market share. They do not want to wait for audiences to return from a 9-5 job, then tune in to their favourite TV or Radio program, before catching the advert messages. Chances are that these audience might be tired and miss the show entirely or even skip the advert, as technology has made it easy to do so.
Now advertisers are going the way of innovative, penetrative and experience oriented marketing. These in many cases needs a fusion of conventional media and technology to make it quite disruptive and attention grabbing.
In an audacious move, Johnnie Walker, a leading Whisky brand, during its #ISeeYouLagos campaign, in commemoration of Lagos at 50, did the unusual with a disruptive activation at the Admiralty Lekki tollgate.
They flipped the script on Out of Home (OOH) adverting. Where a billboard advertising Johnnie Walker’s Lagos at 50 message is necessary and still effective, it is also likely to be ignored or missed by the millions of people who ply the toll gate, but paying for toll fees for drivers which allowed free flow of traffic has done much more for Johnnie Walker’s brand visibility. By way of innovation what Johnnie Walker has done was unusual and created a more memorable marketing experience for existing and new audience.
The campaign went viral; a priceless commodity in marketing communications. Many that experienced it could not stop talking about the “nice gesture” from Johnnie walker.
Posterscope, the OOH agency, that conceived, planned and executed it, described it as “an integrated out-of-home media campaign that showcased how a combination of digital out-of-home with experiential, mobile and social media can deliver earned reach many times the worth of paid media.”
Naturally, other brands will emulate this trend and this is one way to gauge its effectiveness. Pepsi has done the same with its #NoShakinCarryGo hour! From the early morning of August 11, to 6pm, it was a Zero toll at the Lekki Tollgate.
Digitally, advertisers are exploring highly targeted and effective Geo fencing technology. This is arguably the most disruptive tool for advertisers at the moment. This location-based mobile phone advertising technology targets users based on specific geographic areas and demography.
Using a filter, it tags all the smart phones in the area to acquire the required demography. Advertisers can now customize messages to specific audiences with high impact.
in Nigeria, Strata Media Limited is pioneering a Geo fenced ad campaign for Mall for Africa. This campaign that is running at Mbolaji Anthony and Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos is seeing people around that area at scheduled times receive ad notifications persuading them to do their shopping at Mallfor Africa. What this means is that anyone within these areas are compelled to view these messages. As intrusive as this method is, it is gaining popularity fast due to its accuracy in targeting the right audience and it is expected that other brands will latch on to this soon.
For advertisers, these innovations are just ways to counter the clutter of messages that are competing for the attention of audiences from different sources every day.
While Brands will continue to utilize traditional media, however, the race is on for strategies that are innovative and capable of making audiences stop and ask questions about what they are seeing and to go a step further by participating.
When it comes to video marketing, many businesses start creating video content without a clear and consistent strategy. This leads to their video getting lost in YouTube and other search channels. Here we offer seven valuable tips that will help elevate your video production to the next level.
It’s important to focus on high production values. Editing techniques such as the quality of the transitions and graphic overlays will make all the difference to the finished video. Develop a strong title sequence, and create a watermarked logo to display in the corner of your screen. Make sure the music is consistent with what the video is about, and ensure that each section of the video is relevant.
Videos under three minutes long tend to get the most engagement, so keep your videos short and to the point. If you’ve got a lot to say, why not break your video up into several segments? Brevity is key with video, so think of the one takeaway message you’d like viewers to take from your film and then chop out any unnecessary content.
Creating a great opening to a video is what keeps the viewer engaged, and watching until the end. Think about how you can position your video so you don’t lose viewers after the first twenty seconds. Will you start with a bold statement? Will you open the video with dramatic music or a dramatic scene? Try and grab the viewer’s attention so it makes them think or question what’s next.
Creating a video is one thing, but getting it out to a wide audience is another. Make sure that your viewers see your video by including relevant keywords in the title and in the description. Don’t be too generic – add in some longer tail keywords and some more descriptive words, so that viewers who are really interested in the subject matter will be able to find your video.
A strong title is important because it affects the viewer’s decision to click on your video in the first place. Make sure the video title is engaging, yet uses your primary keywords. Titles such as ‘Why I …’ or ‘Ten ways to…’ get good engagement because it encourages the viewer to find out the answer and click on your video.
Make sure your video message is clear and consistent throughout. A good way to ensure this happens is to write a storyboard before you begin filming. Get a piece of paper and down one side, list the timings of the video. On the other, write down what we’ll see on the video, and if there is any narration to go with it. This provides structure to the video, and you’ll be able to see if there are any sections that don’t fit or are not needed for that particular video.
A call to action is really important because it inspires your viewers to take the next step. Once they have finished watching, what do you want them to do? If it’s visit a website, include your URL at the end. If it’s download a brochure or call you, make sure you show that on your end title screen. The call to action doesn’t need to be too obvious, but it should be clear to the viewer that this is the next action that they should take.
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