The first statistical graphs as we know them today were created by William Playfair in his 1786 book The Commercial And Political Atlas, although some historians argue there are cave paintings in the Serra Da Capivara caves in Brazil with similar features to many modern infographics that date from as far back as 25,000 years ago.
Over time, infographics have become one of the most popular tools for displaying data in a way that is quick and easy to interpret and that summarises the main points accurately and concisely. Today, as many as 56% of marketers use infographics in all their content, and they are the fourth most used type of content marketing.
So what exactly are infographics and how can we maximise their potential for marketing?
Types Of Infographic
Infographics are a way of visualising information and data in a way that is memorable and easy to understand for the viewer. There are thirteen main types of infographic, each of which serves a variety of purposes when communicating different kinds of information.
• Single Charts: Single charts include bar and line graphs. They are simple visualisations of data. These are easily recognised and interpreted, but possibly not the most interesting way of presenting data. Single Charts are great for use in formal settings – like for example, in corporate presentations and sales pitches.
• Flow Charts: A flow chart begins at a ‘starting point’ and looks at the result of each subsequent action in order to predict possible results. Flow charts are useful for decision making, or to document, study, and improve processes.
• Timelines: Timelines show how a topic has changed over time. This device is useful for showing changes to a subject across several years – like for example, the backstory of a business, or the progress of historical events.
• Mixed-Chart Infographics: A Mixed Chart Infographic has a range of chart styles representing different types of data. This type of infographic is visually engaging and attention-grabbing for the viewer. Icons in Mixed Chart Infographics may be used to emphasise and clarify any points made through statistics. These icons can also be designed to amplify a sense of brand personality – i.e. the ‘image’ that you want your business to put across to clients.
• Visualised Infographics: These use images to emphasise data.
• Photographics: Photographics combine data and photography to create an engaging and visual presentation that clearly explains the data.
• Hierarchical Infographic: A Hierarchical Infographic arranges data from top to bottom according to ranking. A pyramid chart is an example of a Hierarchical Infographic.
• Location Graphics: Location Graphics show data according to location – i.e. in map format. These charts are useful for displaying population data.
• Instructional Diagrams: Instructional Diagrams are a step-by-step guide about how to use a product or service. They should clearly illustrate what needs to be done for the product to work successfully. This helps users to more easily understand instructions than simply using text alone.
• Comparison Charts: Comparison Charts show data side by side for quick and easy analysis.
• Anatomical Infographics: These break down the subject into individual components and then labels them – like for example, medical anatomical drawings.
• List Infographics: List Infographics list information about the topic in question. They are good for longer bodies of text which may require more space, and which are not as easily translated into a visualisation.
Why Use Infographics?
Infographics are one of the most versatile devices in any designer’s toolbox. Created with simplicity and readability in mind, infographics can be made to fit any shape, size, colours, or theme to suit your business’ branding and marketing materials.
According to research by Xerox in 2017, as many as 65% of brands use infographics for marketing purposes, and this may be because infographics are eye-catching, colourful, and convey information in a memorable and concise manner. In fact, colourful marketing materials may improve readers’ attention span, recall, and brand recognition by over 80%.
It is well-known that the brain processes visual information faster and more efficiently than written text. In fact, it is not just faster, but 60,000 times faster! And of all the information that is successfully transmitted to the brain, 90% is visual. Therefore, it appears obvious that marketers should display their data in visually stimulating ways.
Visual information is more memorable than auditory information too. While listening to an audiobook or an advertisement on the radio may sound engaging, in actual fact, people who receive information via audio will remember only 10% of it. On the other hand, if they view the information visually, they will remember 65%.
Using infographics is therefore one of the most efficient ways to present data in a memorable and engaging manner.
Infographics also improve the potential for sales. For example, Xerox found that infographics and other information presented in colour generated 80% more sales than black and white designs. As infographics are usually colourful and eye-catching, they are an easy way to make your advertisements and presentations more impactful.
Research by the MIS Centre has also found that information presented with a visual aid is 43% more persuasive, and this may be as a result of the brain processing visual information more quickly and effectively, meaning that viewers are less likely to forget the product or dismiss it outright.
Plus, according to Visme, using visuals in marketing also increases your viewership by 80%. This creates more opportunities for engagement with your target market, and helps your brand to become more widely known as a company.
Social Media Engagement
Using visuals in online marketing helps to improve your social media presence, particularly when they are used alongside SEO. Infographics are also very effective in generating social media shares for your business and driving more traffic to your website – all of which helps you build your brand and increase awareness among your target audience.
Infographics are an effective way to not only catch your audience’s attention, but to sustain it.
By putting data in an enjoyable and easy-to-read format, your social media reach and engagement will increase, and your content is more likely to go viral online.
Not only that, but infographics can help you be more successful in making sales, and in ensuring your customers will remember you next time they’re looking to make a purchase.