March 3, 2014
Infographics seem to be just about everywhere these days. They’re popping on Huffington Post, where you can read about everything from the effect of genetically modified organism labeling laws to how businesses are using the cloud. Speaking of businesses, they’re cashing in on the trend with smart, well-researched infographics that promote their products while also conveying valuable information. Heck, there are even infographics about infographics, an exercise in meta navel gazing that’s undoubtedly bringing the site that published it a lot of traffic.
But can this infographic boom sustain itself? What’s next for this medium, and how can you benefit? Perhaps most importantly, how can you stay ahead of the latest infographic trends and deliver something truly awesome for your audience? Here are the answers to those questions and more with a look at where infographics are headed in the coming year.
Why Infographics are So Popular
From 2010 to 2012, infographic search volume soared by 800 percent. To understand where infographics are headed, it’s first important to understand why they are booming. Here are the four major reasons:
- Infographics are easy to digest. They turn complex ideas into small, bite-sized points that a reader can glean information from quickly, a valuable tool in our go-go-go society.
- Infographics are easy to share. How many times a day do you click on an infographic that’s been shared on social media? It’s simple to post them, and they have a great possibility of going viral once they’ve been picked up on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other sites.
- Infographics boost web traffic. They’re search engine optimization-friendly and get a nice kick up in traffic from all the social media shares.
- Infographics attract media coverage. You can promote your infographic via a huge number of channels because they’re interesting, different and, let’s face it, really hip right now.
Infographic Trends for 2014
Now that we’ve established why infographics are so popular, here’s a look at the trends in infographics for the coming year. Keep these in mind when crafting your own infographics to increase the number of shares and traffic to your site or blog.
Quality, not Quantity
When infographics started to become popular in 2010, it seemed like everyone was trying to get in on the craze by throwing up any old graphic with a statistic and calling it an infographic. Perhaps on the most technical level, this was true; it was information in graphic form. But a true infographic includes more than just one fact. It tells a story that can’t be delivered just using words.
The trend in content marketing these days is toward quality over quantity, and this is certainly the case with infographics. We are learning that one great infographic will generate 10 times the traffic of 10 subpar ones, because it will resonate with people and make them want to share. Ten subpar graphics will only elicit a nod or a shrug. Put the same effort into developing one good infographic that you would into developing 10 bad ones, and you’ll make up for your investment tenfold.
For instance, a recent infographic about the world’s tallest buildings by Maxwell Systems, a construction software company, uses slick packaging to convey an idea with a glance instead of presenting the information in tedious list form. The infographic illustrates the heights of nine major structures on a graph that shows not just how tall they are but how tall they are in relation to one another. It’s the sort of quality, evergreen reference that will stand the test of time.
Don’t Place Limits on Your Infographic
The goal of most infographics is to go viral online and rack up thousands, if not millions, of pageviews. But don’t limit yourself or your company to this goal. These days cross-platform marketing, where a message is delivered across a number of different platforms, has become increasingly important.
Infographics will play a part in this trend. Smart companies will push their infographics beyond the Internet to become a part of their overall branding strategy, i.e. a company that sells car parts might use a car infographic from its blog on other materials it hands out. There are dozens of opportunities to extend the reach of infographics offline by incorporating them into unexpected places, including:
- Trade show materials
- Digital video networks
- Employee handbooks
- Quarterly financial reports
Online video is hot online right now. The percentage of U.S. Internet users who watch online videos has doubled in the past four years, and this represents an exciting new way to deliver infographics. Video infographics stand out because they delve even further into a topic while still delivering the visual engagement of a graphic.
A video graphic can range from simple, moving through the different parts of an infographic in animated form, to complex, using animation or interactivity to bring different points of the infographic to life. Your approach may depend on what sort of graphic design support you have on your project, though it’s obviously cheaper to use the static parts of the infographic.
Motion infographics or simply “motion graphics” also can make great videos for your homepage, explaining the purpose of your company. Some businesses like them because they allow for a voiceover, giving you the opportunity to personalize and add more information to an infographic.
Take, for example, a recent motion graphic about bath salt zombies that went viral last fall. This was a well-planned, well-executed approach because it married a theme (horror/zombies) with the right time of year (Halloween). It included a unique approach, equating the use of bath salts to get high with zombie-like behavior. By presenting it in video form, Clarity Way, the rehab center behind the graphic, got to have some fun with animated zombies. Because really, who can resist those?
The trends in infographics for 2014 can be summed up in four words: Quality, no limits and video. While not every infographic will reflect every trend, your most successful ones will incorporate bits and pieces of all three, giving your business a great start to a new year.
Adrienne Erin is a blogger and Internet marketer for what she thinks is one of the best SEO companies out there. When she's not blogging about tech and social media, you might find her practicing her French, whipping up some recipes she found on Pinterest, or obsessing over vintage postcards and stamps.