The future of marketing is visual and interactive. There is not a doubt about it. People are capable of retaining information easier and for a longer period of time if they watch a video or some graphics, than if they read a text. And most companies understood this very important principle. So, what are the visual content marketing trends for 2021?
We want to start by pointing out the growing importance of presenting your marketing messages in a visual way. Thus, we will start with the numbers.
Statistics on Visual Content and Its Role in Digital Marketing
We will start with a statistical study prepared by Think with Google. The findings with respect to visual content are an eye opener (pun intended):
- 50% of Millennials and Generation Z admit they don’t know how they would manage in life without video
- Learning something new is the second in the top 20 reasons to watch videos
- 50% of shoppers are watching videos online while they are in the store to get the full specifications before they speak with a shop assistant.
Even the B2B field – where buying decisions are made based on logical and economic arguments, not emotions – is not immune to visual content. In a poll conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, infographics, charts and photos ranked 6th in the top of content formats used in the last year, and pre-produced videos ranked 4th.
Last but not least, the consumers have their say. In terms of types of technologies they are most excited about when it comes to shopping experience, the top four results are:
- Visual search
- Shoppable content
- Product recommendations
- Augmented reality.
All four of these choices are related to visual content. This being the current situation, let us look at the top visual content marketing trends in 2021:
1. Authentic Stories
The concept of Stories – short videos that disappear after a period of time or after being watched – has become hugely popular. In general, consumers prefer video bits – no more than a few minutes long.
However, the biggest thing on the list of visual content marketing trends for 2021 is authenticity. Consumers no longer want polished visuals, carefully scripted ads and presentation films. They want to see and hear the human voice behind the brand. They find more reasons to trust a company if they see a short behind the scenes film showing the team at work, than an ad featuring professional actors.
2. Put Numbers in a Visual Format
Patience is something that disappears day by day. Consumers are no longer willing to spend time looking at lists of data and process them. They want to get the point from the first look.
The only way of doing this, according to content marketing trends for 2021, is putting numbers in charts or infographics that help people understand what you wish to communicate. Abstract data was never popular with the everyday person. Now it is even less than ever.
3. Optimise All Visuals for Google Images
Before you start creating any visual content, go through the existing ones you have. Mainly, browse the back-end of your website and check that all photos, graphs, charts and infographics are properly optimised for your keywords in:
- The image name
- The image description
- The image Alt-tag.
A lot of people are looking for information on Google Images. They may not know the exact name of a product, but they enter a short description and pick the photo that looks most familiar with what they have in mind.
Plus, high quality and properly optimised original graphics may earn you some valuable backlinks.
4. Live Streaming
This is one of the visual content marketing trends for 2021 that will grow bigger from year to year. Live streams became the main source of information, education and entertainment for people worldwide during the 2020 lockdown.
For content creators (actors, musicians, tutors, etc.) live streaming became their only option for earning money and staying in touch with their audiences. And a lot of brands embraced this concept, especially with respect to new product launches. But it does not have to stop at that. Whenever your business is doing something good, meaningful, fun or notable, you should live stream it.
5. Sketches and Cartoons
No one grows too old to enjoy cartoons. And many brands have understood this. Thus, they replaced expensive pre-produced videos, with animated sketches or cartoons to deliver their marketing messages, teach consumers how to use their products or tell their brand story.
There are many advantages in using these forms of visual content:
- They are simpler and more affordable to produce
- They look authentic and create a bond with consumers
- You can include as much information as you want.
Pro-tip: add speech bubbles to include written content to your cartoons and sketches. Google will index the text, and consumers will feel like they are reading a comics book.
6. Gamified Interactions with Users
One of the most popular types of content on Facebook is the “who wore it best?” format. Essentially, there are two images side by side, one a celebrity, the other an animal of even an object. What they have in common is an outfit or hairstyle. Page followers cast their vote by choosing one of the reactions set by the content creator for each image.
It sounds like a fun way of interacting with your followers, right? And this is exactly why gamified interactions are among the top visual content marketing trends for 2021. Do not just show people videos and photos. Let them interact with them, let them make choices and vote for what they like. In this way, they feel that they are a part of your brand story and decisions. And it gives them a good feeling. From a good feeling to a good customer there are just a few small steps.
7. Video Snippets
From a social media platform for kids, TikTok has grown into a force to be reckoned with. Their success formula is simple: very short videos. How short? Between 5 and 15 seconds. What do they have in common? All the content creators post fun and quirky snippets, in which they don’t take themselves too seriously.
Can a brand get a bit silly and attract customers? Definitely! You should put away that scrubbed business look and go down among your clients, looking, acting and talking like them. People want to buy from brands they can relate to, first of all.
8. Shoppable Content
This is something that Pinterest launched and Google Lens is trying to perfect. In essence, people see a photo or a video online and they want to find various items featured there to buy them. This is what shoppable content is.
When you post a photo on Pinterest (now on Facebook, too), you can embed a link that takes the customer directly to the product pace in your online store. Watch, tap and buy – what can be simpler than this?
9. Extended Reality
Last, but not least, in the top visual content marketing trends for 2021 is extended reality (XR). XR includes both augmented reality and virtual reality. Both technologies are used to push the boundaries of real life, by adding virtual objects and creating virtual interactions within a real life scenario.
A simple example in this respect is the growing number of apps that allow customers to virtually try on products before they buy them. This kind of app is available for a wide range of products and services: hairstyle, cosmetic products, clothes and footwear and furniture.