Facebook’s somewhat notorious Timeline feature will become a mandatory in coming weeks. Facebook is so committed to the change, they are making it more user friendly for the non-techy types before flipping the switch and moving away from the old layout. This is an important shift to note, as this revamp is part of a larger trend of social media, and the Internet as a whole, to more visual platforms.
Why is social media going for more pictures and less copy? Recent articles point out, and commend, social media’s major shift to a more visual platform (like Timeline). Simply put, online, visuals win. Even small things make a difference, as Ellis Hamburger points out in Business Insider article Facebook Now Looks Just Like Tumblr, And That’s a Great Thing. For instance, the photos next to links on Facebook and other social media outlets greatly increase the likelihood readers will click that link. “Visual credibility,” Hamburger calls it. He also recognizes Facebook’s visual shift to the new Facebook Timeline as “a conceptual move that defends it against visual blogging platforms like Tumblr.”
These shifts are not only evident in social media. Consumer Web sites get an incredible boost from well-thought-out visuals, like simple and elegant graphic design, easy-to-navigate online systems, photos, video and motion graphics.
If this wasn’t enough information to convince you to go visual, here are four more reasons to get on the bandwagon.
Social Media Users are Getting Used to Visuals
Matthew Carroll, in the Forbes.com article How Tumblr Drove the Evolution of Content into an Image Dominated Experience, enlightens us as to the major shift of social media to a visual experience as a way of quickly digesting lots of information, like dozens of status updates. Online users are getting used to seeing Web sites optimized for a more visual experience. Therefore, they will come to expect it from your Web site as well. Note: Carroll makes the case in his article that search engines are not yet optimized to search for visual content (as opposed to text), but there is strong evidence that search is moving in that direction, and fast.
It’s How You Will Stand Out
More than 20 million new Web sites were created in 2011 and there are more than 265 million Web sites online worldwide. Amazingly, even with new tools that make creating a Web site much easier than in bygone years, so many sites are still, let’s face it, ugly, difficult to use and full of useless text no one will ever read. Your Web site will stand out with useful visuals (like photography, video and graphics) accompanied by thoughtful Web site flow and copy.
People watch video and video’s visual
Two billion videos are watched on YouTube each day, and 35 hours of video are uploaded every minute. This doesn’t even include numbers from other video sites like Hulu, Netflix or traditional TV outlets like ESPN or ABC. Impressive. Internet users are getting used to gathering information and being entertained through online video. Rather than including a bunch of text on your company product, a better use of your time and money would be to create a classy, entertaining, short, to-the-point, video case study. This way, you’re increasing the likelihood your visitors stay on your site because they are actually consuming your useful content.
Video boosts sales
This leads us to another pertinent point about video. Retail site visitors who view video stay two minutes longer, on average, and are a whopping 64 percent more likely to purchase than other site visitors, according to Comscore. In addition, Internet Retailer says that visitors who view product videos are 85 percent more likely to buy than visitors who do not [view product videos]. Convinced yet?