The field of content marketing has been boosted by the addition of visuals over the past few years. Now, it is almost impossible to imagine a piece of written content without accompanying visuals, be they featured images, graphics, or videos.
With less than half of 2019 left, what visual marketing trends have we seen dominating the year? And what can marketers still do to leverage these trends?
We look at the top five trends in visual content marketing in 2019 that marketers need to know.
Example of an infographic. Source: Venngage
The marketing infographic was all the rage between 2010 and 2016, but their overuse by marketers saw a sudden decline in their popularity.
Part of the reason for this was the abundance of poor quality infographics and the fact that marketers were creating infographics on subjects that really didn’t warrant one.
But infographics have been seeing a resurgence since 2017—according to content marketing statistics, 40.2% of marketers found that infographics performed better than other types of content.
This renewed popularity can be attributed to the rise of a select few online resources that offer high quality, customizable infographics.
Additionally, infographics have become so rare now, that when consumers see an infographic, they are tempted to engage with it.
Not only are infographics engaging on social media, but website heatmaps and eye-tracking software have shown that infographics maintain the attention of site visitors longer than other visuals.
With their unique ability to combine text, visuals, and data, infographics are an excellent resource for marketers to attract and maintain attention on social media and on websites.
If marketers aren’t already using infographics in their visual marketing, they need to start doing so.
Example of a minimalist Twitter post. Source: Venngage
While infographics leverage a variety of elements to gain attraction, minimalism is also making waves in the visual marketing world.
Though many marketers equate minimalism with a lack of color, in essence, minimalism is more about decreasing the elements in a single image, rather than reducing the number of colors used.
Minimalism in 2019 is all about creativity and flair—it eschews complexity and clutter for simplicity, but this aesthetic still aims to be bold.
Marketers are now using color gradients but in smaller elements in an image so the variety of colors don’t dominate. They are also incorporating bold fonts in a sparse design.
Alternatively, marketers are adopting a single vibrant pop of color in their visuals, accompanied with easily readable fonts.
The kind of colors being used here aren’t just black, white, and neutral. Pastels and neons are the popular choices—anything that can be used to create a strong contrast that holds a user’s attention when they’re scrolling through their social feed.
3. Live Video
Martha Stewart’s Facebook Live video. Source: Martha Stewart
According to the latest social media marketing insights, video content will draw 82% of consumer traffic by 2021. And within the video marketing sphere, live video has been gaining popularity in 2019.
Though Periscope, which popularized live video, faded away a few years ago, marketers have a number of new avenues to leverage live video—Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and YouTube Live.
Live videos have been getting brands more traction than pre-produced videos with marketers getting more creative with the ways they use this visual marketing form.
Marketers are using live video for event coverage, tutorials, behind-the-scenes videos, Q&As, and interviews.
Live videos add a level of interactivity that pre-made videos don’t have. Consumers feel like they are getting to speak directly to a brand, and with users’ ability to comment in real time on Facebook and Instagram Live, that interactivity is boosted to another level.
More importantly, live videos showcase the human side of brands—especially through behind-the-scenes tours of a company, or by putting a face to the brand.
Additionally, live videos are great for placing people in situations and events that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend—like the Met Gala or a product launch party.
Marketers are also sourcing questions from audiences before hosting a live video so users can have their questions answered during a live Q&A.
With influencer marketing still growing, live video is a great way to tap into new audiences. Influencers are invited to promote products, services, or brand partnerships via a live video, thus allowing brands to reach a new target segment.
Live video is one of the trends that is going to keep growing and marketers will need to be on top of it to encourage positive brand building.
4. Augmented Reality
IKEA’s augmented reality at work. Source: IKEA
Virtual reality (VR) was all the rage a few years ago but the need for separate VR players seems to have affected its popularity.
On the other hand, augmented reality (AR) is taking the visual marketing world by storm. Augmented reality became popular through selfie filters on Snapchat and Instagram, but it has since evolved in its marketing function.
Brands are now creating AR-compatible apps for users to simulate environments or products in a kind of try-before-you-buy model.
For example, IKEA’s app allows users to place items in their own home before opting to buy it. IKEA’s AR app is sophisticated enough to measure the space and color requirements of your home and place the product in a way that simulates realism.
Users are thus saved the hassle of measuring their rooms, and then going to IKEA to measure a product—everything can be accomplished within one app.
And AR is seeing uses beyond marketing—it is making strides in gaming (like Pokemon GO), education, agriculture, training, and security.
AR apps aren’t the easiest to create, and they do require businesses to dip into their budgets. But if marketers want to engage their audiences, this is definitely the way to go.
5. Social Issues
Gillette’s ad against toxic masculinity. Source: Gillette
The internet is a hotbed for discussions on social issues and it is impacting content marketing. People are no longer afraid to call businesses out on their practices—they will head to Twitter to complain the moment they have reason to.
Users are now more aware than before of what brands are doing with their money and power. But they are also cognizant of what side of an issue brands fall. This is impacting how consumers interact with brands.
Brands that take a stand on political and social issues, through advertising and visual content, are more likely to see engagement with their audiences.
Navigating social issues as a business is a tricky ask. The marketing team needs to understand where the company stands, and why, before creating messaging that reflects the brand position.
When it comes to visual marketing, brands need to have a clear understanding of what they want to convey. A text post or tweet may work in the interim, but strong visuals concerning a social issue will place a brand firmly in a positive light.
Visual content marketing is ever-changing. Staying on top of trends can be difficult, but the ones we are seeing in 2019 seem set to continue for a while.
Graphics, such as infographics, that are attractive and engaging are a great way to maintain audience interest. While minimalism in 2019 can involve a number of styles, it is more about the aesthetic than the elements involved.
Live video and augmented reality are continuing to grow and need to be incorporated into marketing strategies.
And finally, brands that engage with social issues are boosting their connection with politically conscious consumers.
By adopting some, or all, of these visual marketing trends, businesses can increase their engagement with audiences in 2019.
Author Ronita Mohan
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic and design platform. Ronita is interested in a variety of topics related to digital marketing, visual content, and online engagement, which she enjoys researching and writing about.