“Pictures” Matter: Why Visual Content Is King

March 18, 2014

We respond to visuals faster than we respond to words, meaning that when we communicate visually, we’re able to take in more and communicate our message faster. Just look at social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Photos on Facebook generate more likes and comments than the average post. More than 16 billion photos have been posted on Instagram. In July of 2013, Pinterest topped 70 million users.

Visual content seems to be king. On our own website, customer testimonial videos on the homepage consistently generate increased engagement from site visitors. Photography that is authentic and real resonates with users – people want to see themselves in the story you are telling. This is especially true for our higher education clients. We’ve found that the cost of a photo shoot is well worth the investment. Our clients like Cambridge College, Northeastern School of Law, and Norwich University have invested in photography and seen it return great value with an immediate positive reaction from their users and peers.

Infographics tell a visual story quickly and effectively – this time with the help of words. Days after posting our own Infographic on the Student Lifecycle, it was featured here. For OHO, infographics are not only an efficient way to distill years of expertise into one graphic, but they also help a story spread quickly while supporting our role as thought leaders.

Words are important but visuals are currently leading the content race because they act as the hook, reeling in users. However, they must be chosen with intent and purpose in order to tell your story in an authentic way otherwise, after the click, users will promptly leave. Choosing visuals for the sake of adding a pretty picture misses the point entirely. Creative designers get this. At OHO, we consistently stress the importance of visual content and the positive impact a good visual story can have on a brand.

So, the next time you’re thinking about stock photography for your website, ask yourself if you would ever buy ‘boilerplate’ copy to describe your business versus writing it yourself. I bet that given the option, you’d always choose to write your own unique messaging. Visuals should be given the same consideration – because as you can see – they matter.

Photo credit: (OHO's own) Chase Clark

Related Reading

Four Data Sources to Guide Effective Higher Ed Digital Storytelling

When you think about digital brand storytelling at a college or university, you may initially think about stories of outstanding individual achievement: faculty conducting groundbreaking r

Jumpstart Your Higher Ed Website Redesign with Content Strategy

Planning a website redesign can be daunting. There’s a lot to consider:

Three Pillars of a Successful Higher Education Content Strategy

When I talk to higher ed marketing communications professionals about how to create a content strategy, it sometimes seems like we’re talking about Excalibur — some exalted, unattainable relic that

diagram photo
Managing Internal Stakeholders During a College or University Website Redesign

A website redesign can be an invigorating exercise for a college or university — people are excited about a new look, a new direction, and a new strategy.