According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013–one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.
The folks at Widen Enterprises have studied how and why marketers should make the most of the 8-second, goldfish-like attention span consumers now have. The key, according to their research, is with images and visual storytelling tactics.
Our brains love pictures. So much, in fact, MIT neuroscientists have found that the human brain can process entire images the eye sees in as little as 13 milliseconds. “The fact that you can do that at these high speeds indicates to us that what vision does is find concepts. That’s what the brain is doing all day long — trying to understand what we’re looking at,” resolves Mary Potter, an MIT professor of brain and cognitive sciences and senior author of the study.
Photography experts offer six reasons we enjoy photos as much as we do. Photographs signify what’s important to us, and are part of a complex language that allows us to share and communicate. Photos are part of our legacy, and are a fundamental human art form.
Because of all this, the marketing experts at Widen recommend combining visuals with storytelling, in order for brands to multiply content reach and conversion. Metrics supporting this include:
- Social media posts with visuals deliver 180% greater engagement.
- Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets.
- Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video.
- Images make up 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook (up from 85% in 2012).
- Articles that contain images get 94% more views than articles without.
- Users clicking on photos of real people are 200% as likely to convert to a sale.
- Blogs that integrate video attract 300% more inbound links.
- Video is 53 times more likely to generate a first-page Google ranking.
The company has created an infographic outlining these essential storytelling points.