Lauren Kaye

It’s hard to go online and not notice how much of the web is now dominated by visuals. Instagram is the new darling of social media, and websites are experimenting with videos as homepage backdrops. A recent Digiday study proves the power of visual marketing – 95 percent of marketers say it’s more effective than text-only content, and 9 percent say it’s 10 times more effective.

visuals are more effective
What kinds of visual content are marketers producing to keep up with this trend?

  • Stock photography
  • Commissioned photography
  • User-generated pictures and videos
  • Original illustrations
  • Custom graphic design and videos.

Stock photography is the most popular kind of imagery because it’s the easiest to source. In fact, 55 percent of marketers said it requires almost no effort to source stock photos and incorporate them into their content.(Some might argue it takes time to pick a good stock photo that matches your brand aesthetic). However, these are far less effective than original images and other kinds of visual content.

The good news is: Brands are ambitious about their visual marketing, and more companies are moving away from cheesy stock images and investing in visuals to create a consistent experience across channels.

Professional photos are the most effective form of visual content in the market today, but they take a significant amount of time and money to produce – more than any other format. And when you look at this as just one part of a marketing strategy, combined with infographics, videos and user generated content, it’s easy to imagine how it starts to eat into a marketer’s time and wallet.  

Around half of the people surveyed admit their teams spend at least a quarter of their day on visual content, between generating ideas, editing drafts and uploading, embedding, posting, etc. Another 30 percent said it takes up to half of their time and 15 percent spend as much as 75 percent of their time on marketing images. That’s not always time they can afford to give up.

Visual content takes up a lot of marketers' time

Time and resources are the number one challenge they face in keeping up with their visual strategies. It’s a bigger stumbling block than relevance and timeliness, measurement or approval processes.

How can marketers have their cake and eat it, too? A lot of companies outsource their design work to agencies to get custom visuals that are on-brand without having to shoulder the workloads. Just looking at one vertical, 51 percent of tech companies outsource their graphic design work and that solution will become commonplace across industries as businesses look to improve their overall aesthetic.

Want to see how custom visuals impact marketing results? Here are some examples from our clients: