The last few years have been total game-changers within digital marketing.
Instead of just creating a few Facebook ads or a weekly blog post and hoping for the best, companies now have to find new and exciting ways to compete for consumer attention.
Likewise, they have to provide more upfront value and interaction to cut through the noise of other firms in the same crowded marketplace.
And that’s why visual marketing is bigger than ever before.
Standing out is incredibly important and creating new and exciting digital content that includes cutting-edge elements is vital.
To help give you a few ideas on how to include more visual features within your campaigns and content, we’ve created this guide with our favorites, plus ideas for how to implement them.
Here are a few of the hottest visual content marketing trends.
1. Live Streaming is Super Hot Right Now
It’s been a strange year for almost everybody.
With so many cut off from interaction with others in a social setting, the need for virtual connection is at the forefront.
That’s why live streaming has gained a huge following over the last twenty-four months.
Simply getting in front of a camera and producing live and unedited content for your customers is an excellent way to show off that you’re an authentic company with a genuine desire to offer the best product or service possible.
Additionally, it offers immediate interaction and provides your target audience the chance to ask questions, get answers, and learn more before they make a purchase.
However, it is important to remember that you’ll have to select someone within your organization to be the face of your brand.
Using the same person over and over builds trust with your audience, making it easier to grow the overall number of users in time.
Examples of how brands are currently using live streams in their marketing include those that partner with an established streamer on Twitch, YouTube, Snapchat, or Instagram for campaigns.
Some answer Facebook Live question-and-answer sessions.
And others just post a daily chat session to wish their audience a good day or provide other informative content.
2. Authentic Content Could Be Your Best Friend
It’s safe to say that most consumers don’t really trust advertising and media as much these days.
Who could blame them? With so much noise in the marketplace, it can be hard to decide what companies to listen to and which ones to ignore.
That said, authentic content is a super hot trend in visual content these days.
Most audiences no longer want to see polished stock photos with people who looked like they just stepped out of the pages of a magazine.
Instead, they want honest shots that show real people doing real things.
Even candid photos of laughter, family dinners, or just normal people doing their everyday jobs in your industry can be eye-catching.
Plus, it gives your audience a reason to share the image or graphic — which gives you more brand exposure.
3. Mixed Reality Integration is the Future
Remember a few years ago when Niantic introduced Pokemon Go?
Everyone went crazy, as it was one of the first options out there to merge smartphones and augmented reality.
These days, tech advances have made it easier than ever before for companies to offer mixed reality integration into their mobile experiences.
Think elements like being able to virtually try on a pair of glasses before buying them or seeing whether a furniture piece fits well in a room.
After the pandemic, these mixed interactive experiences have been incredibly important as more people are staying home and not buying from brick-and-mortar retailers as frequently.
That said, it is no wonder that the convenience of such content is only expected to rise.
Meaning that now is the best time to jump on board.
Even non-retail companies can offer this type of media experience, too. Consider museums that do virtual tours or question-and-answer sessions with AI-powered guides.
There are also brands that are offering virtual experiences via Facebook Oculus, the current consumer-ready virtual reality headset that’s slated to be an even bigger deal in the next years.
4. Lists as Graphics
Another visual content marketing trend this year is using lists as graphics.
Not only is it a great way to segment out important information in a manner that is much more visually appealing, doing this makes the information easier for your audience to share on social media.
If you aren’t sure why this works so well, let’s break it down.
The human mind is a highly visual tool. In fact, it perceives graphics and images thousands of times faster than just a wall of black text on a white background.
Thus, most people are able to consume the data a lot more quickly than just reading it in a paragraph or even a bulleted list.
In addition, graphic lists or infographics give context to specific content.
For example, a chart or data added to a list makes it easier to visually understand the angle or point you’re making with the content.
You can also add background images and icons that set the data apart from the rest of the written content in your blog piece or article.
Many audiences love this, as it really does make it simple to break down large chunks of information into smaller, easier-to-comprehend pieces.
5. Gamified Visual Experience
Plain graphics are out. Gamified visual experiences are in.
What do we mean by this?
Creating interactive content that gives your audience a reason to do something — whether that’s clicking a button, moving an icon on the screen, or flipping to the next page.
The more interactive you can make your content, the easier it is to keep website visitors on the page for an extended period of time.
If the experience is especially fun or enjoyable, they might even share it with their friends and followers, which is better exposure for you.
But what about brands that aren’t in a consumer space or simply don’t have a niche that really handles entertainment?
You can still use this type of media, too.
Think interactive slideshows that require the user to click a next button to see more information.
Or quizzes that help match them to the solution necessary to fulfill their needs.
In some ways, sales teams can even use these experiences as a way to qualify leads in a more streamlined fashion.
6. Content Around Green Living and Healthy Lifestyles
The other content marketing trend in 2021 to pay close attention to isn’t really about visual style, but more the context or subject matter of the content itself.
More people these days are interested in the topics of green living and healthy lifestyles.
They want to know what’s best for the environment, their families, their wellness, and other related topics.
As a digital marketer, it is wise to take this angle in your content by including it in as many relevant posts as possible.
Of course, if you’re in a B2B industry that has no logical link between these topics and your normal content, you probably want to skip out on this trend.
But a little brainstorming might give you a few ideas, even if it is just talking about how your team helped at a fundraiser or took on a special cause in the local area.
For example, when you spent a day planting trees at a local park or how you encourage employees to destress with lunchtime yoga classes.
These are all topics that most people can relate to within their own interests and hobbies, making them feel more connected to your brand.
Plus, there’s an emphasis right now on companies that care, which means showing the world that you’re one of them is always a wise idea.
7. Shoppable Content for Improved Sales
eCommerce retailers can get in on this year’s hottest visual content marketing trends by using shoppable content on most major social media platforms or their own website.
What does this mean?
Shoppable content is a term that explains how customers are able to buy products from the images they see without having to add an item to a cart or go through a full checkout process.
Some platforms even allow instant payment with digital methods like Apple Pay, which is a bonus.
Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube all currently utilize this option. And more platforms are jumping on the trend soon.
Why does this work so well? It likely has to do with the fact it is instantaneous.
Customers don’t have time to get distracted or have a change of heart before they check out.
Instead, they’re able to place an order the moment they spy an item that they absolutely cannot live without.
8. Branded Visuals for Google Images
Search engine optimization (SEO) has gone far beyond the bounds of just a linked keyword on the SERPs.
These days, Google tends to show a list of images that match a particular search.
The visual content marketing trend right now is to add brand logos or other identifiable information to these images.
Why? If someone randomly finds your image based on a keyword or phrase search on Google Images, you want them to know to come back to you as a trusted resource.
In addition, it also gives off a much more professional vibe.
When an image matches a specific company’s font and color choice, it is easy to tell that they have a cohesive aesthetic, which a lot of customers equate to being more trustworthy.
By taking this extra little step with your graphic design, you can help boost your brand and improve the overall experience of your audience.
9. Teaser or Snack Content for Visual Breaks
When it comes to marketing visual content, too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing.
Instead, make sure you’re using teaser content or so-called snack content for better visual breaks.
Tables, borders, and different colored backgrounds help.
Using H1 and H2 tags accordingly are also good for an improved visual experience, while additionally helping with SEO.
For video content, consider using short pieces under a minute as a way to tease longer forms of content, like full-length videos, series, or even a written blog post.
Main point: your audience is short on time and has a limited attention span.
Use blurbs and other forms of visual tidbits to get their focus.
Wrap Up: Planning Your Visual Content Marketing Strategy
There’s still plenty of time to utilize these popular visual content marketing strategies in 2021.
In fact, we highly recommend that you diversify a bit and use multiple forms of them to really impress your target audience.
After all, having a mix of different types is always a good way to reach more of your ideal customers in a meaningful way.
Are you ready to learn how having a diversified content strategy that includes interactive and visual elements can really boost your business?
Our Rock Content team has put together this great Diverse Content Strategy guide to help you learn more.