I See You
Aug 23 2013
No, it is not about the tagline from Avatar. You would’ve been spot on had you said visual storytelling
Visual literacy : According to Study Mode, visual literacy is the ability to create a visual language and to understand a visual language. Here are some interesting facts. Did you know that 90 per cent of the information that comes to the brain is visual and the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text? Classrooms using visual aids improve learning by up to 400 per cent and exceptional students are often visual learners. Even as you are reading this, I would have a better chance of you retaining this information if I had reduced the ratio of text to graphics.
Show over tell: My daughter got her class schedule for the new school year and within minutes, she and her friends had sent screenshots to their group, eager to see if they had common classes. WhatsApp, Snapchat and other apps make it easy to take the text out of texting.
According to Business Insider, more than 5 million photographs are uploaded to Instagram every day. A study from Digital Buzz revealed that there are 575 likes and 81 comments every second on this channel. Happy, sad, annoyed? Facebook has emojis and their sticker app is fun. Who needs to explain anything more?
A study by Kissmetrics says that photo posts on Facebook gets 53 per cent more likes, 104 per cent more comments and 84 per cent more click-throughs on links than text-based posts. You also don’t have to bother to type your comments, as Facebook now allows you to embed visuals in the comment box.
The rise of Pinterest piqued everyone’s interest. The site hit 10 million monthly unique visitors faster than any other site in history. More popular among women, it is any window shopper’s delight. Retailers have taken to it too withbrand boards bringing significant direct engagement. Pinterest referrals spend 70 per cent more money than visitors referred from non-social channels.
Aim, shoot, monetise: The world’s largest stock photo and video market, Shutterstock is basking in the green. The stock has tripled since its IPO last October. The company has about 28 million licensed photos, illustrations and videos available for sale on its website. Easy to access and purchase, Shutterstock is a dream visual online warehouse. Founded in 2003, Shutterstock has over 7,50,000 customers in 150 countries. Artists, illustrators, photographers and other contributors own their content. Shutterstock estimates that the market for digital imagery will grow to $6 billion in 2016 from $4 billion in 2011.
Lights, camera, video: With 1 billion active users every month, YouTube has morphed into a visual content overlord. Successful early adopters have become micro celebrities. My daughters watch more YouTube videos and spend less time staring at the TV. They love Ryan Higa who is a homegrown YouTube celebrity. His channel Nigahiga has over 9.7 million subscribers.
Catering to a smaller but more cohesive community, Vimeo had a bumper 2012 year. The channel has less fluff and allows its creators to make money off their posted content. You have heard of Vine and Snapchat, but how about Keek and at least a dozen more apps that facilitate micro audiovisual content.
Data visualisation: With the fragmented and super segmented nature of our lives, content consumption patterns are changing fast. Boiling the endless ocean of data and turning it into marketing gold needs a strategy. You have a story to tell? Forget the long introduction. Get the point. Visualise your data. Break it up. Organise it. Include visual elements and sequence it. Now you have an infographic that can be shared, referenced, quoted. And by the way, did you know that your audience is 30 times more prone to consuming your infographic over text?
The word: I am a fan of the written word and will hang on to it with my usual tenacity. But visual storytelling is here to stay. As I write this, I am reminded of my anthropology class in college, where we discussed the communication patterns of the Neanderthals. This initially involved cave paintings, petroglyphs, geoglyphs later evolving to pictograms and ideograms. I can’t help thinking that, perhaps, we are coming full circle.