More Evidence that Visuals Far Outpace Text

Digiday surveyed attendees of its Agency Innovation Camp about how visual native ads stack up against text based native ads (hat tip: Richard Binhammer). More often than not, attendees favored visuals by 75 percent or more.

The below infographic states attendees opinions about native advertising environments.The survey does not have enough of a sample to be scientifically valid (80 attendees), but it does fall in line with general trends in the movement towards a visual Internet.


The evidence continues to mount. As a strategist if you don’t include at least a hybrid visual/text approach to your content creation, then it’s fair to expect mediocre results. The argument that higher quality written content will still survive may be true for a select few properties, but the margin for success will continue to narrow.

Whether it’s photography, graphics or video, every piece of content today must communicate visually. The visual cannot be bolted on to content as an afterthought.

The purpose of said content — from an ad to a highly detailed piece of content that is text driven — must include visuals that are intentional in purpose. Visuals convey the meaning of said communication clearly and consiely, much quicker than the words do.

Text in many ways works with the visual to tell the richer story. Many won’t read all of the text. In fact, if someone is reading content on a smartphone, it’s likely they won’t get beyond the first paragraph. But the words are there in a transmedia sense for those who want to go further down the proverbial rabbit hole.

What do you think?


  • Well first, I think these informative posts that translate stats into actionable tasks are your strong point, Geoff. I always read these and love the links.

    Secondly, it’s absolutely true and for internal content as well. I used to be able to get away with “just the facts, ma’am” text based presentations and explanations of data. NEIN. You need graphics and graphs/charts are just the beginning. Good way to ease a text-focused content team into it too.

    I was in charge of a team that would not budge for visuals. Scientists who didn’t want to dumb it down. Then I happened upon some of their charts and graphs and said “why don’t you start putting these in your posts”. They agreed but of course they were confusing. So I had them whiteboard an explanation for me. Then I said innocently ;) “Well this is awesome, why don’t you include that?” After a while they got excited about it.

    When you find out WHY people won’t do something, you can navigate your way around.

    • Thank you, Tinu. While opinion is great, informed opinion is better.. I ike the writing the stats posts better, too! I love this story. The informed strategist comes through!!!

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  • I imagine if we keep harping on this long enough, people will discern this as important. Maybe some sage will sum it up by saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” or something like that

  • Definitely important, but I wonder what it means for literacy. Print came before radio, which gave way to video. Given the way on demand information has shrunk attention spans, are we to see the death of TV, as print evolves digitally into video itself? Where does that lead? Truly progressive thinkers are skipping this stage altogether in favor of digital hieroglyphics.

    There’s also the question of what happens to media if the marketeers are allowed to inundate every format with pageview gaming galleries. Everyone hates intrusive advertising, but where will people turn when there’s no way left to ignore it? Perhaps print will never truly die.

  • Pingback:Visual Media and Visual Thinking | Tenacity 5 Media

    […] and Geoff continue to ponder the state of communications. Geoff reports on how visual media is performing in the online world. According to Digiday’s survey, which assessed its Innovation Camp’s attendees’ responses to […]

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