Are Infographics the Secret to Beating the 8-Sec Attention Span?

Content comes in a variety of forms. And while written content is the most common form, the most effective content combines data with visuals and text.

That content type is, of course, the infographic. And it just may be the way content marketers can overcome the 8-second attention span.

What makes infographic design so successful?

One reason is that 90% of information passed to the brain is visual.

Before getting into the in-depth psychology, consider a distinct memory from the last training session you had.

Remember anything in particular that stood out from it, like a slide, graph, or photo? Our brains naturally latch onto images, which is why despite thinking in words, we dream in images.

The best infographic designs contain these basic elements: data, images, and a story.

On their own, these are elements our brains cling to, but when all three are combined, the information becomes powerfully appealing and is stored (and later recalled) more vividly.

Why We Love Data

Numerical information appeals to our sense of organisation. When we come across information, we stop in our tracks when it’s a simple piece of data that can we process.

“6 people killed in a crash,” or “20 survivors of cruise ship capsize,” appeal to our inquisitive minds and give us some peace that we know the exact facts. We can easily file it away in our brains and later recall it, using it in a conversation later on.

Catching the reader’s attention in a sea of content is often as simple as throwing numerical data into the mix.

Well-planned infographic designs have this bit of psychology locked down. Some of the most fascinating and successful infographics contain numbers because we can’t get enough of these palatable pieces of data.

Several things happen when you look at an infographic. You first take in the colors, numbers, and images, and then the written content. Depending on what’s largest, you focus will be pulled to either the images or the data. Then the narrative will pull you through the rest.

Perhaps it’s not a subject you would normally pay attention to, but when the information is formatted like this, you can’t help jumping from one fact to the next.

Why We Love Images

Design, image, and colour stimulate the visual processing systems in our brains. Before we learn spoken language as children, we are shown images which we later associate with words.

It’s ingrained in us from a young age and our love affair with visual content continues to grow.

When we see images that appeal to us, our senses perk up and our brains actually anticipate the arrival of other stimulating content. This all takes place without our conscious awareness.

A great example of how visual content appeals to the public and drives sales is the emergence of Facebook’s timeline for brands.

Once consumers could visually connect with brands, interactions changed – and by no small margin! Within one month of the introduction of video and images, brands saw a 65% increase in engagement.

Additional mind-blowing visual content facts:

  • Visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text.
  • 40% of people respond better to visual content than text.
  • 70% of all sensory receptors are in the eyes.

Why We Love Storytelling

Our minds respond to content and search for a storyline to help put the information into a relatable context. Stories accomplish this by allowing us to make connections on a personal level. This is knowledge that good marketers use to their advantage.

What effective infographic designs master is the mixing of cold hard facts with the art of creative storytelling.

We love numbers, we love images, and we love stories. Is it any wonder that infographics continue to steadily perform?

We remember facts better when they are dispersed within a story. We are hungry for information and stories that help us relate to others. We are social and at our core look to connect with others whenever possible.

Our data-driven minds are satisfied with infographics. Teachers have long since mastered this art of learning – incorporate more senses, retain information longer.

As marketers, it took a little longer to catch up but now that we know, we are sitting on virtual content gold.

This infographic about immunisations for Better Health Victoria is a prime example of how storytelling and the desire to relate to it drives our curiosity.

In this visual content, the information is brought to us through the story of aging, something we can all relate to. We want to know if we are healthy and protecting ourselves as recommended and as a result, we readily consume this content.

It also makes us think of others, to whom we might share the infographic with if we find the information relevant to them.

Do you ever remember being told by your teacher as a child that chewing gum while studying and chewing it during the exam would help you recall what you studied?

The idea is that by involving more senses in the process, your recall is more vivid. And your audience won’t just remember the facts you present, but they’ll also remember your brand for presenting them!

And that will keep you in the front of their minds when they’re ready to make a buying decision.

Interested in introducing infographics into your marketing strategy? Get started wowing audiences with visual content today by contacting us.

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