A new survey shows marketers are investing in visual content, like custom infographics and original illustrations, as their online strategies evolve.

The Content Marketing Institute just released its 2015 B2B Content Marketing Research, showing that companies are making huge leaps in their marketing strategies. Compared to last year when 49 percent said they didn’t have a content strategy, only 14 percent have yet to create one (and a small pool of marketers revealed they aren’t sure if they have one or not).

It’s essential to have a clear strategy to be effective and drive results online. In a sign that content marketing is maturing, about 83 percent of marketers said they now have a strategy – and they’re investing in diverse content formats to better support the buyer’s circuitous journey.

According to the CMI, the fastest growing content type is infographics. Last year, just over half of surveyed B2B marketers were creating infographics, but that number has risen to 62 percent.

As further evidence of the importance of custom visuals, the 2015 report added a new content category to account for the illustrations and photos 69 percent of businesses are producing for their marketing campaigns. Six in 10 marketers say creating visual content is an effort they’re actively working on already, and another 26 percent say it’s something they plan to tackle next year.

We’ve seen first-hand how good-looking graphics can impact a company’s web marketing and drive more ROI:

Additionally, a Quicksprout study found that custom graphics far outperform generic imagery in terms of social shares.

More Social shares for custom graphics

It makes sense for the market to move in this direction. Brands that produce custom visuals for their websites and to pair with their content have a clear advantage.

They SHOULD BE cultivating a distinct image that prospects will remember, and controlling the visual messages they’re sharing. Not to mention, hand-crafted graphics and images add a personal touch that consumers crave as they vet companies online before making purchase decisions.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.