The importance of visual content can’t be overstated, especially for an industry as reliant on image as the travel sector – beautiful pictures and video content are at the core of most digital content marketing strategies, whether that’s native advertising, social media posting, influencer outreach or content marketing.
With new trends and methodologies cropping up daily, there is real value in being flexible and entering 2017 with an open mind. If you’re ready to try something new and add even more visual content to your digital content marketing efforts, read on as we dissect the most important visual content trends of the year.
1. Be prepared to face fiercer competition
A recent study by Venngage showed that there is an overall trend of increased use of visual content. In fact, between 2015 and 2016, marketers increased their use of visual content by 130%. 53 percent of 300 marketers surveyed by the company said that between 91 -100 percent of their published content contained a visual element.
At the same time, AdWeek said, “When it comes to marketing strategy going into 2017, marketers are in agreement on the best ways forward: 60 percent said visual content is “absolutely necessary,” and 31 percent said it is “very important.”
So, whether you’re planning your native advertising, figuring out how to bring influencers on board to help promote your hotel or creating a blog schedule, visual content is increasingly important.
Of course, with more marketers doing it, there’s also increased competition and we suspect that we’ll see lots of creativity and new visual content styles being rolled out this year. One of your biggest challenges as a marketer will be how you differentiate your visual content from that of your competitors.
2. Look out for more diversified content formats
When it comes to adding a visual element to your content, the default option will usually be a nice picture. However, we predict that this year, there’ll be more of a creative focus and more brands will start to use a wider array of visual content formats to help elevate their content and better resonate with audiences. Try adding some of these to your visual content mix:
- Charts and tables
3. 2017 will be the year of the infographic
Infographics have been around for a while now but, we are definitely seeing their design evolution reaching maturity. Where once they’d be quite dry and formal, we’re witnessing a definite move towards brighter, more fun pieces.
41.5% of marketers believe infographics and other original graphic content to be the most engaging, so make a plan to include them in your digital activity in 2017.
Think infographics don’t work for hotel marketing? It’s all about perspective. Collate some interesting stats from your hotel such as how much water is re-used, how much food consumed each day, how many cups of coffee served, how many hours of sleep guests rack up in total each day, how many towels are cleaned, how much is recycled etc. You can turn this data into an interesting infographic that reinforces eco-conscious and sustainable brand values.
If your hotel is located close to a major tourist attraction, it’s easy to produce an infographic on that sight. Or, say you are in London, you could create an infographic comparing your city with that of New York or Sydney. The possibilities are endless.
4. Expect to see more stock photos being used on your site and by rivals
Let’s face it, you don’t always have your own photo to hand which perfectly encapsulates your blog post, native advert or other piece of content. Many marketers are increasingly realizing that stock photos perform incredibly well – the Venngage survey found 35% of marketers used stock photos regularly but this looks like it will creep up over the next 12 months as the battle to produce memorable content also hots up.
If you do plan to use stock photos to shore up your visual marketing, be very selective about the images you use. Some stock pics can be bland and boring or have too much of a corporate feel. Look out for images that reflect your hotel’s identity. If you run a hip city boutique hotel for example, you’ll want a whole different set of images from your photo library of choice than you’d select for a business hotel.
5. Investment in visual content will increase in 2017
For the majority of marketers, visual content accounted for less than 20% of budget spend in 2016. Expect to see this figure rise in 2017 as a result of the greater time invested in content and a growing awareness of just how effective and engaging visual content can be.
If your visual content budget won’t stretch to much more than 20% of your overall spend, don’t be afraid to turn to DIY tools such as Canva to produce your own graphics, GIFs and charts. This is an easy way to create a consistent style and is a fun way to add a more personal touch to your native advertising and digital content marketing.