Visuals, in addition to content, have come to play a central role in modern advertising. Images, GIFs, and videos are simply easier to process than written text because we are accustomed to seeing pictures of our surroundings. As much as 90% of all information that reaches the average human brain is visual, and as much as 40% of brain fibers are connected directly to the macula, the part of the eye responsible for central vision.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the human brain will process the image much faster than a thousand-word paragraph. With an ever-increasing number of available options and distractions, users are much more likely to opt for something that can be viewed quickly and easily.
Furthermore, modern digital marketing platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram emphasize images and limit word count. Even “text-friendly” sites like Facebook can get complicated for long, advertising-related posts. The concept of visual commerce marketing combines the human brain’s affinity for images and social media trends to help create quality marketing content.
The world of visual marketing, however, is not without risk. Here are some of the major visual commerce marketing pitfalls and how to avoid them:
To capture attention, a good marketing design must be aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately, some designs are released to the public without thorough inspection. Seeing a design, advertisement, or even website with mismatched font, poor color coordination, and spelling errors can generate a poor reaction from viewers. If a business cannot be bothered to check its own advertisement, consumers lose faith in that business’ professionalism and ability to deliver. Such publicity will not paint your company in a positive light.
Instead: To avoid the traps of design inconsistency and spelling errors, make sure that all visual content is checked and proofread.
Using images or designs without permission can cost your company millions of dollars in lawsuits. In 2014, Katherine Heigl sued a paparazzo for 6 million dollars for a photo posted without her permission. Every image should always be posted with permission.
Instead: Our platform allows brands to directly request permission and manage rights. Additionally, holding a photo contest with prizes for winners where contestants give your company permission to use photos can be a great way to gather stock images. In a pinch, Google offers a specified search for images that are specifically available for commercial use.
A study of gaze in 2012 showed that human attention has a strong tendency to follow gaze, which is directed by visual cues. In other words, we are likely to attend to things that are visually appealing rather than things that may be informative but more boring to our visual processing system. In many cases, adding a gaze-catching item to an advertisement will draw the viewer away from your point and cause them to fixate on the object that simply looks interesting.
Instead: Use gaze to your advantage by embedding your call to action or other vital information in the most visually appealing part of your presentation.
Many companies fail to do adequate research on image marketing and end up having to learn from their own mistakes. The concept of visual marketing has been around for some time, and there are plenty of strategies that have already been tested. Some aspects of visual marketing will work, or will not work, across the board. For instance, the “F Pattern“ is the tendency of the eyes to scan the first few lines before skipping to the bottom, which means that viewers are missing important text if it is not easily visible. While this tends to apply to written text, it also has a relevance in creating effective visuals with properly placed information.
Instead: Take the time to research and test your visuals before launching. You also have the option of hiring a visual marketing specialist who can help ensure that your company utilizes all of the known techniques.
Many companies think that it is simple enough to implement a visual marketing campaign. However, starting to use visual marketing may or may not get results. Some aspects of visual marketing have a better reception than others. Unfortunately, you will not know whether you are getting a return on investment on your marketing campaign unless you implement tracking.
Instead: Obtain a baseline for marketing before launching any visual campaign and to help track views generated from the said campaign, as well as overall consumer interest. If something is not working, it is important to examine the data and fix the problem.
Many new companies consistently change their advertisement setup and even logo colors. Unfortunately, constantly changing the visual information makes it hard for humans to associate that information with your company, and may hurt the building of your brand.
Instead: Use one logo and include that logo in your visual advertisements.
Overall, while there are dangers in visual marketing, the potential payoff of accessing a whole new and creative niche has plenty of benefits.