A March 2014 Nielsen Study, commissioned by inPowered, “The Role of Content in the Consumer Decision Making Process,” uncovered that consumers depend on trusted, expert content to make purchase decisions 5 times more today than they did just a half a decade ago. The proliferation of digital and social media has led to information overload, but customers trust credible, third party expert content in all stages of the purchase process across product categories.
In addition to this expert commentary, there’s also branded commentary and user-generated reviews. The study concluded that advertisers should blend and supplement expert commentary with these to build familiarity and influence opinions about products. This strategy could be highly effective in influencing customers to make a purchase, and a skilled and seasoned wordsmith can connect the dots to put the story together. There’s no question that consumers desire something more than just stale, branded commentary. Expert content—such as insights from an industry thought leader or information from a reputable news publication—brings real credibility and legitimacy to the table. User-generated reviews help humanize content, something that branded commentary will never be able to accomplish on its own.
Millennials Will Dominate Spending Power
A 2012 Bazaarvoice white paper revealed that 84 percent of Millennials, currently in their mid-teens to mid-30s, report that user-generated commentary on company websites has “at least some influence on what they buy.” Within the next few years, Millennials will have more spending power than any other generation. Companies need to understand this coming reality.
Infographics Tell a Powerful Story and Promote Branding
Moving forward, the most powerful and impactful pieces of content will be those that can effectively juggle and communicate expert content, branded commentary, and user-generated reviews to present rich narratives to readers. Infographics are perfectly suited to do just this. As long-form images, infographics can convey all these important items and present a powerful and meaningful story to readers—all while creating brand awareness and recognition. An infographic we created for Cloudant—”How to Win Big in the App Market”—is a good example: Hothead Games had released the top “sports” cell phone game, with 80 million matches played and 20 games opening per second. To power this, Cloudant came in to help grow their back end database. Thanks to Cloudant’s help, Hothead Games was able to launch Big Win Hockey and Big Win Baseball over a course of 16 weeks. Both quickly became #1 sports games in multiple countries. To highlight success, the infographic includes user-generated content: “It’s my favorite game I play everyday in the morning in the afternoon in the night I loveeeeeeee big win.” This adds a very human touch to the infographic and may allow viewers to connect with the larger story of success.
To capture what Cloudant was up against, the infographic also includes insights from an expert source, Joel DeYoung, Director of Technology at Hothead Games: “Our code makes hundreds of millions of database transactions a day. It’s critical to our business that every single one of those works reliably and is super fast.” This is an important part of the story, as it conveys the massive challenge and undertaking involved. The infographic is able to win the attention and trust of viewers early on by presenting this mix of user-generated and expert content up top in the graphic. It then naturally flows into offering more branded commentary, especially at the bottom: “Hothead Games handled their overnight success with Cloudant. How will you handle success?” After readers feel that a piece of content has a real human and credible side, branded commentary can become even more powerful, meaningful, and impactful, as is the case with this infographic.
Infographics & Social Media: A Match Made in Heaven
The Millennial Generation founded the social media movement, and Millennials check in socially between 20 and 21 hours each month, according to Nielsen. Nearly one-third of younger Millennials (18-24) use social media from the bathroom and about half of the older bunch (25-34) use social channels at work.
What do Millennials want? They want a good, trustworthy story. There’s enough negativity in the world as is, along with talks of gloom and doom. The nature of infographics allow them to communicate rich stories in the most visually appealing of ways, making them very worthy of social media promotion. As digital goes into storytelling mode, infographics become more important than ever to enhance brands’ digital PR campaigns. How do you tell your story?