According to a 2015 study by Microsoft, the average attention span of an internet user is about 8 seconds (down from 12 seconds in the year 2000).
The reasons for this are manifold, however, it’s easy to see that the surge of content consumption across our emails and social media accounts encourage us to hop to the next piece as we scroll along on our smartphones.
We are in the information age, and current consumption habits require content creators to make easy-to-understand information readily accessible. So how can businesses effectively market to get people to not only stay on their content, but also engage?
One smart way: Well-planned and well-designed infographics!
How Infographics Work
We humans have been using infographics for centuries. (Those hieroglyphics on the walls of Egyptian pyramids—you might call them infographics.)
At its core, an infographic is a piece of visual content that uses charts, diagrams, or other icons to represent information or data. So while the modern-day infographic has come lightyears from hieroglyphics and cave drawings, the same definition applies to infographics created then and created today.
Infographics have remained an effective mode of communication for centuries because the way we can absorb information hasn’t changed a ton. In the western world, readers absorb content from left to right, and the eye is drawn to larger icons and words first, before moving along to the finer print. So, by creating a visual hierarchy in how content is presented, you can aid the reader in better understanding how to consume and interpret your content.
The Benefits of Infographics
Infographics are the perfect medium for building out visual hierarchy in your content. They allow readers to digest a lot of information easily and at-a-glance, and they also simplify complicated information. Infographics also make learning fun and empowering for the reader—numbers and facts become more relevant and comprehensible, so they have more light bulb moments, rather than walking away from your content still confused.
For example, check out this infographic from the U.S. Census Bureau on the number of members in the Armed Forces since 1915.
In this short infographic, readers can easily see 100 years of data charting how many people were in the armed services, the trends on when people entered the service, time markers for the country’s biggest conflicts, and the percent of U.S. population who wore the uniform (even breaking it out between genders).
This infographic is a creative way to illustrate data that otherwise
might not be as engaging to the average reader, and is more portable for
use across different platforms.
Where to Use Infographics
People often wonder where and how they should use infographics. Our answer? Use them wherever it makes sense!
Infographics are great to use in presentations where you want to supplement any data in a more visual form that doesn’t detract from your speech. They’re also great for use on social media, where attention spans are short and you need to think of creative ways to “stop the scroll.”
The important thing to remember with infographics is that you want them to be digestible and accessible—so when picking where to use infographics, keep in mind the amount of information you’re wanting to convey and how easy it is for readers to receive and understand the information you’re presenting.
For high-traffic areas (like your social media account), it’s better to create a shorter infographic versus a longer one, and keep in mind that super large file sizes that make your infographic hard to download or using super tiny script to fit a lot of information in one space will reduce the effectiveness of your infographic.
Other smart ways to use infographics:
- Printed flyers
- Social media graphic series
- Business plan or an investor slide deck
- Explainer videos
How to Make a Good Infographic
Okay, so you’re sold on the idea of creating infographics for your business. Now you’re probably wondering: How do I make a good infographic? Before you attempt to do it on your own, make sure you can answer two questions:
- How can I make this infographic super simple for readers to understand?
- What elements do I need to add to keep in line with my visual brand?
Note that different lengths of infographics work on different platforms. For example, a longer infographic that you have to scroll through a few times to see all the info works well on blogs and emails, but gets cut off on social media. Likewise, square infographics that have to be shared on a presentation screen should be sized appropriately as to not appear blurry across an auditorium.
Before you pick up your mouse to start getting your hands on an infographic template, you also want to keep in mind how the infographic will tie into your visual brand. (Check out our archives for a good primer on building a successful visual brand.) Just as your logo, website, and other sales materials should be cohesive and memorable, the same goes for any infographics you create.
Whether you’re using infographics as part of your business plan, in a testimonial, or in a specific piece of marketing collateral, you must remember that good infographics tell a story. Infographics take the hard facts and figures and put them together in a way that connects the dots for your readers and tells the story behind the data. You want this data to be easy to grasp but also engaging.
Do you need help connecting the dots when it comes to creating effective content—yes, even infographics—for your business? Our Harvest Media team specializes in designing graphics that help tell your business’s unique story. Contact us to learn more.