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The 2018 Visual Content Marketing Trends

Visual Marketing
Visual Marketing

Visual content has a great impact in every area of our marketing and digital life. Everything we visualize around us is some sort of content.

Also, if we talk about social media we can’t exclude visual content, because it’s a big part of this industry. Even if we talk about videos photos, live streaming, photos and gifs.

In 2017 I was very focused on what was happening in the digital environment, how platforms take advantage of visual content to engage with their users, how marketers use visual content to get more clients for their brands and also how users benefit from visual content every single day.

Back in december 2016 I wrote an article in which I pointed out a few visual marketing trends I then believed that will happen in 2017.

Let’s see if I was right or not:

  • Instant and real video content: I saw more and more video content in my social feeds. I’ve also noticed that the main social media platforms are working to leverage the live videos in their social media strategy.
  • Clean web pages: many bloggers and websites redesigned their interfaces to make them more clean and create a better experience for their users. I saw websites like StudioPress, GaryVaynerchuk, Jay Baer and Bannersnack who had redesigned their websites to make them more clean and ready for 2017. Oh! And I redesigned my blog too (here are the 2 articles you must read about it: this and this).
  • Web projects: I didn’t see so many visual based web projects as I thought I will. Maybe because the most online projects and campaigns were focused on social media platform.
  • Constant video content: more and more content creators jumped into the video content creation game. Some of them are trying hard to keep up with their daily vlogs and some of them are trying to be constant and put out videos every week.

So as far as I can see, from 4 of my guesses, only 2 were 100% correct and the others where only 50%-60% right.

Now let’s jump to my thoughts about the visual content trends in marketing for 2018.

So let’s begin.

01 Ephemeral visual content on a rise

Have you ever created a short video on Instagram Stories or in Snapchat in 2017? Or maybe you just read in an article or heard at a conference about why these types of content are the new leaders in social media.

Well, as far as I can see this feature and how other brands are looking into it, I believe that the ephemeral visual content will be a trend in 2018.

But first, let’s define what ephemeral visual content is?

Ephemeral Visual Content represents that video/photo that lasts for only 24 hours. After that, it disappears forever from your profile/account/page.

It’s the kind of content that millennials (ah yes, I’ve been waiting to use this word) use every single day in order to connect with their friends, family and community.

And Facebook is pretty much struggling to push the stories format on their native platform too. But as far as we can all see, Instagram is leveraging this feature very well.

There will be no more perfect videos or perfect photos, it’s all about creating content and publishing it fast. People don’t want to see visual that took 3 weeks to mek, they want something authentic, published fast.

02 The power of vertical content and mobile

vertical content

We’ve all heard that mobile is the first screen, that mobile rules the digital world and that mobile is the most important/intimate object that we have, right?

But there is this thing with mobile and with the creation part. When you create a video or a photo which you want to upload on a platform you need to edit that piece of content for that platform. For example, there was a moment when you could only upload 1:1 photos and videos on Instagram. That meant that even if you’ve created a great portrait, you had to crop it in a square, so it could fit on the platforms screen.

But today’s platforms had found a workaround in order for you to be able to create content without having to edit it or to turn your phone horizontally.

major social media networks that currently have stories feature

Social networks and features like Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories, WhatsApp Status, Medium Series, Messenger Day, Facebook Stories and Skype Highlights embrace the vertical visual content and are pushing it to their users to create and engage more with it.

For example, Instagram had a problem with their users base before they launched Stories. Their users were only accessing the platform a few times a day because they were used to only upload a photo, comment to someone else’s post and scroll a few times.

But now, with Instagram Stories, they spend way more time on the platform, because it’s more engaging and it gives a more transparent view from the ones they are following.

So why will vertical visual content be a trend in 2018?

  • It drives the full attention of the user and doesn’t allow the user to be distracted by other types of content
  • It’s more authentic, natural and transparent than other formats
  • It’s a new type of advertising (think about the 3V’s of Snapchat or the Instagram Ad Stories)
  • It’s much more easier to create using mobile

03 Interactive broadcasting

interactive livestreaming

I’ve done several live videos on Facebook and a few more on Instagram. In fact, I’m a big fan of Instagram Live, maybe because I believe that it’s a cleaner place (for now) then the one on Facebook.

But as far as I can see, the platforms who embraced the live video feature are now trying to develop it and make it more interactive.

Think about the last features we received from a live video point of view. Like when Instagram launched the feature to do a live stream with a friend. You can do a live video on your Instagram profile and connect live with another user. And if we go further, this can be a great feature for all the big media publishers.

Live streaming won’t mean anymore and only person or a brand broadcasting for a community. With live streaming you can interact with your fans, and also include other users in your live experience.

And I believe that we will see live streaming developing more and more. Maybe they will go with 360 live streaming on Instagram, or maybe they’ll introduce ads in the lives on Facebook.

These are only some guesses I can think about right now.

The thing is that live broadcasting will get more and more attention in the digital marketing space.

04 Visual Discovery features

visual discovery tool

Another trend I believe that can get a lot of attention in 2018 is the visual discover feature. First I saw it on Pinterest but then I heard that other platforms, like Facebook or Amazon will work on something similar.

As we can see in this article from Social Media Week, Pinterest wants to move forward and personalize the discover feature because they found out that customers expect the same great experience on their mobile device that they received in person at the store (if that was a great experience).

How does the visual discovery feature work on Pinterest?

Pinterest users are instantly able to pull up visually relevant photos, specifically one’s that are similar to one they are already interested in. They can also click on an object, such as a pillow, and find out where online they can get that object. The lens feature uses image recognition to find items like the one shown in a photo the user took. SMW source

This can be a game changer for every platform who wants to sell something. And just think about what Facebook can do with their Marketplace or even Amazon. Maybe it won’t be a trend in 2018, but it will be a start for a beautiful visual discovery friendship.

As far as we know. Facebook is improving the image recognition technology that will give some great opportunities for brands.

05 Illustration and cartoons

Illustrations are a great way to help your online platform stand out. You can use illustrations in your social media strategy, as featured images on blog posts or include them in your entire visual communication strategy.

And many brands have already begun embracing this type of content. For example, Dropbox has redesigned the brand’s logo and added an illustration to it to bring more life and authenticity in their products and feature.

As Dropbox said “Our style is inspired by the moment when you first have an idea, and serves as a reminder that the “canvas is only blank until you make the first mark.” in an article for Underconsideration.

If you are a blogger or a content marketer and you want to deliver high-quality content, you can use graphic design combined with illustrations and do something like what Brian Dean does in his guides. Here is a great example in his latest SEO trends for 2018.

Other brands who are using illustration on their website are Intercom, Moqups or Help Scout Blog.

Moqups interface Intercom interface

06 Bring it on the Bright Clean Color

bright colors visual trends 2018

There was a moment time when I used to follow many instagrammers who create colorful illustrations and photos, like Amy Shamblen, Matt Crump, Andoni Beristain, Lizzie Darden or Jaime Sanchez.

visual content color trend 2018 visual content color trend 2018

What I love in these Instagram accounts is that they are unique in their style but they are also using very bright and clean colors. And this is something I’ve heard a lot lately when talking to specialists about web design trends.

Think about the rebranding of Ebay or Asics!

ebay color new brand

Marketers want to be unique, have different styles and get the attention of their communities. So why not using these types of colors and create something interesting that will make the users double tap that photo, right?

Conclusion

If more than 37% of marketers said that visual marketing was the most important form of content in their business, that means that we don’t need to ignore it.

And neither should the platforms that aren’t in line with the trends!

What do you think about these visual marketing trends in 2018?

Your turn to comment:

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Robert Katai

Visual Marketer and Content Strategist

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

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