Content marketers are producing more and more content. Our audience is reading less. Here’s how content marketers can use visual content marketing and interactive content to get read, get shares and get ROI.

On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely – Jakob Nielsen

Traditionally, the making of a book into a movie is followed by chorus of readers who felt the video version failed to live up to their print experience.

In content marketing, the opposite is true.

The research is stacking up–content marketing that includes images, video and interactive elements outperforms static, text-only content in a big way. Here’s how content marketers can use visual content marketing and interactive content to get read, get shares and get ROI.

Visual content marketing

Its been a few years since Mark Schaeffer introduced the idea of content shock and questioned the sustainability of content marketing as a strategy.

And certainly social media and smaller-screen mobile devices have spurred the demand for less copy and more video, visual and interactive content.

The average reader only spends 37 seconds reading an article or blog post. – NewsCred Insights

Marketers who test their creatives have known about the impact of relevant visuals for years. And while standing out in a content-crowded world has definitely gotten more difficult, it’s never been easier to add compelling visuals to the marketing mix.

Today, many tools and services to create more visual interactive content are available to help marketers move beyond words, including ion interactive, SnapApp, Ceros, Visme and ContentTools.

Here’s an example of an interactive chart I created with a tool called Visme. The effect is subtle, but the chart is animated and visitors can interact with it by hovering over the bars or clicking the bullet points.

Several interactive content tools are available to help marketers do that, including ion interactive, SnapApp, Ceros, Visme and ContentTools.

  • Images speak to our “old brain”–450 million years old–which developed before written language
  • Blog articles with images get 94% more views. (source)
  • Today’s icons and emojis originate from stylized ideograms used seven thousand years ago
  • A 10% retention rate shoots up to 65% with an added image (source)
  • Adding relevant visuals can increase persuasion by 43% in presentations (source)
  • Infographics are “liked” and shared on social media 3X more than other any other type of content. (source)

The bottom line? Strategic use of images can be a huge advantage, especially when many blogs continue to feature generic stock images. Notice how the infographic below delivers several data points in a colorful, eye-catching way? Much better than the dreaded multicultural millennials around a conference table or business people shaking hands.

There’s a huge stack of research to back up the ideas that visual information is processed much faster, and retained longer. Crucial for content marketers, visual information is shared much more frequently than text-only content. than If you’re looking for better content marketing ROI, plan to include more relevant visuals.

Interactive content marketing

Your audience is continually looking for more personalized, educational and engaging experiences.

One way to accommodate them is to add interactive content (which is also visual content) to your marketing mix. Popular examples include quizzes, calculators, assessments, eBooks, infographics, and product tours.

This example below from ContentTools invites interactivity by having viewers click to see comparison between interactive and passive content.

And while interactive assets are proving to be very useful for audience engagement, they provide some great benefits to marketers as well:

  1. Interactive tools like quizzes and assessments provide behavioral data that helps marketers better understand prospects and customers.
  2. Insights gained through interactive marketing enable marketers and sales teams to deliver more personalized conversations and sales presentations.
  3. People who are motivated to interact with your content are likely gratified by gaining their own knowledge of your product and industry–which they will trust more than information supplied by your own marketing and sales team.
  4. Interactive assets are attractive to prospects who are ready to engage with your brand but not ready to contact a salesperson.
  5. A high score on your quiz or assessment may mean that there’s an alignment between your solution and your prospect’s goals. A low score may allow prospects to self-select out of your funnel, enabling your team to focus on prospects who are a better fit.

Content marketing 2018: focus on ROI

As more organizations seek to boost – and measure – the impact of content marketing on the bottom line, the use of visual and interactive content is likely to continue to grow.

But like any growth strategy, the greatest lift from visual and interactive marketing will be realized by early adopters, before saturation levels are reached. These two strategies still provide a powerful advantage over your more static, text-heavy competitors. To learn more about visual content marketing, check out Six Ways to Boost Your Content Marketing Results.