THE BLOG
12/23/2014 09:59 am ET Updated Feb 21, 2015

Infographics: Content Marketing Gold or a Dead End Fad?

Infographics have long been considered a magic bullet for companies looking to increase user engagement and brand awareness. However, there is talk going around that infographics are dead and should be buried as deeply as possible. Despite this, there are many who still attest to their value.

So, who's right? Are infographics content marketing gold? Or are they a dead-end fad?

 

Infographics Are a Dead End Fad...on Their Own


An infographic is designed to offer information in an alternative format for increased user engagement. The average internet user's attention span is approximately 8 seconds, which suggests that visual elements are critical for gaining traction.  In fact, some claim visual elements count for almost 80 percent of the user experience, which would suggest infographics are a great way to capture people's attention.

But this is where a problem arises. Infographics may be a great way to deliver information and capture the user's attention, but does it actually achieve the goals you want it to?  Many claim that most people don't remember infographics and if they do, they certainly don't remember what site it originated from.

And since infographics are designed to go viral, most audiences won't see them on the source site. Thus, many users end up associating the infographic with the platform presenting it, be it Facebook, Pinterest, or any other similar venue.

In other words, infographics are great for attention but weak for recognition. This is problematic for brands using infographics for brand recognition.


Infographics Are Content Marketing Gold... as Part of a Comprehensive Strategy


If used on their own, infographics might draw people's attention. They might even keep people interested for longer than 6 seconds - if done correctly.  And they could generate a lot of traffic and links. But do they really increase brand awareness?

They can, but only as part of a comprehensive larger marketing strategy, and only if they are promoted with some degree of consistency. Publishing one infographic every blue moon will certainly not boost brand awareness, just as one post every other month won't bring traffic to your blog.

When used as part of an integrated content marketing strategy, infographics remain very effective for two reasons:

  1. They get people's attention
  2. They get people to your site
And, if you can follow-up with even more engaging content (ideally in different formats) on your site, you'll achieve higher user retention rates.

One critical aspect of succeeding with infographics the WOW! factor. They need to impact people, whether it's to make them laugh or to shock them.  Otherwise, they'll simply fade into the sea of content waiting for passive consumption.

Using infographics as a data dump or simply to present information in another format - whether it makes sense or not - is not a wise approach. Instead of starting with the intent of creating an infographic and hunting for relevant content, start with the information you want to present and then consider whether an infographic would be the optimal medium presentation.

Saying infographics are dead is not accurate, just as it's inaccurate to say articles - or any other medium for content marketing - is dead.

On their own, they may not bring the results you're looking for, but as a single component of a larger content marketing strategy focused on providing the best possible user experience, infographics are as much of an asset today as ever before.