It’s a case of the digital world imitating the real one.
You’ve heard that 90 percent of person-to-person communication is non-verbal. With online communication? Well, we’re approaching those levels. Larry Kim of MobileMonkey.com has written that at some point this year 84 percent of online communication will be visual. (Here’s the original WebDAM article from which he gleaned his data, complete with a gorgeous infographic.)
It’s the Buggles all over again.
It seems words are, once again, losing their hold on us. (And yes, I see the irony in telling you all this in a blog post.)
So what is visual communication?
Visual communication is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the conveyance of information through images.
Kenneth Louis Smith wrote in Handbook of Visual Communication that — and this is where it comes into the context of our online world — visual communication explores the idea that a visual message accompanying text has a greater power to inform, educate, or persuade a person or audience to make an impact.
That is to say, when you include an image in your tweet, you boost its chances of being shared and changing minds.
But you already knew that.
Where it gets interesting is when we look at just how far-reaching the impact of visual communication can be.
Why is visual communication important for my brand?
People don’t have time.
They don’t have the luxury to browse leisurely through your latest blog post or pore over every detail of your most recent bit of earned media coverage. And that’s why some people think AVEs are a meaningless metric—because it’s not a clear indicator of how many people are actually being exposed to and absorbing the content.
Absorbing. That’s the key word. And the reason that visual communication is taking over.
Two facts that make visuals appealing as a medium:
- Humans can process and absorb an image in just 13 milliseconds — 60k times faster than text
- 94 percent of content with visuals gets more total views than text-only
That first point is fascinating.
With so much content being created and distributed at all times — there were 1989 posts published on WordPress every minute in January 2018 — you need to find a way to emerge from the crowd and earn those eyeballs. And like I said earlier, people no longer have the time — or the attention spans, really — to do anything other than scan digital text. The answer to conveying your message is through visuals; absorbing images IS something that humans have time for.
And that second point is just a very, very nice bonus. By using visual communication, not only are you already ensuring your message is sent and received, but you’re all but guaranteeing yourself that the surrounding piece will be seen by more people.
Here’s a question: what’s the point of PR?
It’s to manage the information that flows between an organization and the public, and have that organization’s message consumed by its target audience.
When you adopt and commit to visual communication, you increase your chances of fulfilling these purposes; you increase your chances of being a successful communicator.
And that’s why visual communication is important to your brand.
It’s also why Agility PR Solutions has launched AI-powered image monitoring, a first-of-its-kind feature in the media monitoring industry. Rolled into our CAPTURE package at no additional cost, you can now go beyond text-only monitoring and get the full picture of coverage by tracking how your brand is being visually represented in earned online media.
Visual communication will soon account for even more than 84 percent of online messaging. It’s best you prepare.