In case you’ve somehow missed the memo, visual content is bigger than ever. The last few years have seen an explosion in photo and video content, and marketers are giving chase in a big way.
According to researchers, the human brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster than text. In fact, somewhere around 90 percent of the information inside our brains is visual.
Visual-focused social channels like Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram are still growing steadily. In fact, Instagram just reached the 300 million users milestone. With mobile leading the charge, more users around the world have access to visual content than ever before.
Pinterest, although not yet Instagram big, drives more traffic to content publishers than Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter combined. The plucky startup accounts for roughly 25 percent of referral traffic all by itself. It’s sort of the best-kept secret in marketing.
Let that sink in for a second.
Very soon, marketers will be able to reliably detect brand logos, products, locations, and other visual data in social media users’ pictures and videos, and use that information to target an audience in a very specific way. The technology might even help us figure out what’s actually in some of those Pinterest recipes:
Then again, do we really want to know?
Although text-based social channels like Twitter are comparatively easy to monitor and pull data from, visual content is a lot trickier, and a lot more expensive. There are several companies working on perfecting the technology (Adobe is certainly one of them) but the real gatekeepers will most likely end up being the visual-focused social networks themselves.
These channels are already preparing to become big players in the social advertising space. Instagram and Snapchat both recently starting focusing on paid ads, and Pinterest is reportedly about to release its advertising API. The company has been testing “promoted pins” with several big-time companies, apparently pretty successfully.
Although Snapchat’s first foray into the ad space was pretty conventional, the company recently took a big leap with an entirely new advertising concept.
Leveraging the semisuccessful “Our Story” feature that it unveiled in June, the company has begun organizing photos and videos around live events, giving users a never-ending stream of organic and sponsored content relating to whatever’s happening in the moment:
Whether or not this becomes a huge draw for advertisers is anyone’s guess, but it’s definitely an innovative concept.
Just as Twitter slowly began to realize the marketing value of its trove of data, so will Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, and every other visual-focused platform—just as soon as it can be reliably sifted and acted upon.
Long story short—2015 will be a pretty picture for marketers.