Have you noticed the new trend in social media and blogging (and pretty much every other source of media out there)? Everywhere you look, there is an attention-grabbing, eye-popping visual. All my social media shows so many more pictures than it used to. Why are people moving to visual media and how can you use the same approach to get your content read? Keep reading to find out.
Color images increase readership by 80%
Color impacts your engagement more than you realize. There are libraries full of books about how each color, hue and shade effects people in a visual. I had a friend who even made a career through color theory. People would pay her to tell them what color to wear and you know what?! It works!
According to a study by Xerox, adding a color image to your text pulls people into the message of it. It also helps increase attention span and retention of information.
Use your colors wisely. Use this color theory wheel to make sure your colors work for you. You would be surprised by how the use of color can change the impression of your visuals.
Visuals are Quicker
The brain processes pictures much quicker than it does words. According to the Visual Teaching Alliance, eyes can process 36,000 visual messages per hour which is 60,000 times faster than text. That means when you use a picture instead of words, to communication is quick. Real quick. 1/10 of a second quick.
A viewer can connect to a visual so fast that it can barely be measured. I’ve heard that the average adult attention span is about 8 seconds right now. But think about when you’re scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. How long do you look at a post? Five seconds would be a generous estimation if it doesn’t grab your attention.
Visuals Trigger Responses
Text works in our brains to create images, but it’s slow. Looking at a photo gets an immediate response. It conveys a ton of information in the blink of an eye. Most importantly, it compulsively gets an emotional response.
Think about a picture as opposed to a verbal description or even a graphic. I can convey a ton of information in just a blink. Check out this picture from the movie Drive.
You get so much in this snapshot. The girl’s expression of mixed hope and empathy. The melancholy detachment fo the driver. Then, the shocker of the child’s face in the mirror. Visually, this image goes beyond that through the use of color and light. It’s compelling.
Visuals Tell Stories
Imagery condenses a lot of information into a slice in time. That means they are processing the story in the photo and collecting information about it to be used while reading.
Here’s the psychology behind the picture and why it’s so arresting. Subconsciously, anyone who sees the picture is trying to work out the motivations of the relationships. It just happens. Any visual where it isn’t just smiling faces (staged) evokes this kind of response.
But here’s the kicker. When we see one of these kinds of images, we can’t help but to place ourselves into the snapshot as a viewer. Our perspective on the visual forces us to include ourselves in it. Crazy, right?!
Here’s what you can do about it:
The next time you create a visual for any of your content, think about what you can do to help your viewer connect with it. Do you need tension? What color(s) should it use to get the right response?
- Use color wisely in your photo
- Make sure it’s high quality
- Play with composition by having a focus that’s off-center
- Put it at the beginning of your content
- Let it explain your text rather than just describe it