By Jim Clanin
Since the dawn of time, mankind has had the urge to post a picture what he’s eating for dinner to the wall. We have always been visual animals; sight is our most developed sense and studies have proven that images are more effective in marketing than text.
So it’s no surprise that social media has gone visual. Pinterest and Instagram took off last year and have already become household names. Tumblr, Flipboard, and a host of other visual apps are gaining popularity, and there are sure to be more. Facebook has given photos more real estate in your news feed, and Twitter has made it easier to view pictures within their app.
This shift is likely to have an impact on web design. More than ever, visitors to your site are looking for attractive, clever, or polished designs that appeal to their visual senses. Let’s look at two of the hottest visual social media apps for cues on what works.
Pinterest, a digital pin board, allows users to bookmark images. Some compelling stats:
- American pinners spend an average of 1 hour and 17 minutes, spread out in 14-16 minute average sessions, on Pinterest per day.
- There are 48.7 million Pinterest users, 80% of whom are women.
- Unique visitors to Pinterest have increased by 2,702.2% since May 2011.
- Pinterest received 10 million unique visitors faster than any independent site in history.
- Pinterest referrals spend 70% more money than visitors referred through non-social channels.
- 43% of people would prefer to interact with a brand on Pinterest, compared to 24% for Facebook.
Obviously, not every business will get the traction from Pinterest that large retailers like Nordstrom (the most followed brand on Pinterest) enjoy. However, most B2C businesses can get some benefit from this visual social media giant.
In April of 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for a cool $1 billion. This mobile sharing app has made Facebook into the place to share photos online, which is incredibly powerful, considering the millions of people who carry a high-quality digital camera with them every single day in the form of a smartphone.
Instagram isn’t quite at the same level as Pinterest where branding is concerned, but more and more businesses are adopting it for their marketing. Consider this:
- Instagram has 100 million monthly active users. There are 8,500 likes and 1,000 comments per second.
- 40 million photos are shared on Instagram every day.
- Over half of Interbrand’s top 100 brands (like Nike, Adidas, and Gucci) are on Instagram, and engagement with those brands has increased 35 percent.
- 28% of US web users between 18-29 years old use Instagram, and 14% of 30-49 year olds use the app.
- 41% of brands on Instagram post at least one photo every week.
The rise of visual in social media challenges businesses to change the way they think. Users are speaking in a new language and analytics aren’t going to give us the whole story about what works. More than that, it shows us just how powerful an image can be.
Now is a great time to talk with your web designer about the images and design aesthetic of your website. Take a look at this infographic for some stats on which images are most interesting and desirable to users, and consider how you could change your branding and web design to appeal to consumers.