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7 reasons visual storytelling is one of 2012’s breakout trends

Businesses of all sizes are relying more and more upon visualization of data and information to make concepts easier for people to digest and remember, but why is this trend surging in marketing and tech circles?

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The rise of visualizations

You’ve seen infographics on websites, embedded SlideShare presentations, illustrated videos, and more, that give consumers a way to consume data more concisely and in a more memorable way. Visual storytelling is compelling and the art and technology supporting the trend are improving, as are the standards and expectations of consumers.

Jason Amunwa at SlideDeck 2 tells AGBeat that “though it’s early in 2012, the importance – and necessity of visual storytelling is already one of the year’s breakout trends.”

According to Amunwa, below are the seven reasons that visualization is a breakout trend:

  1. A Better Experience for Users is Essential. A bad experience can leave a sour taste in a user’s mouth, but a good experience will keep them coming back for more. More and more brands are picking up on this: i.e.: Spotify, Instagram, etc.
  2. Social Media Is Becoming More Visual. From Facebook Timeline, to the sale of Instagram, to the immense growth of Pinterest, people are more interested in using photos to show their stories rather than tell them using 140-characters or less.
  3. Apps Have Changed Our Expectations. App design has spoiled us because now we’re expecting that seamlessly beautiful experience from everything we interact with. As a result, “app design” is forcing web-based designers to be more innovative and creative.
  4. Multi-Resolution Viewing Is Becoming Standard. In the early Internet, everyone was using the same type of browser and getting the same web experience. Nowadays, everyone has a smart phone or a laptop or a tablet. There are multitudes of different devices an individual could be using to view a webpage – and it’s up to the designers to account for that.
  5. Minimalist Designs Are Getting More Done With Less. Whether it’s a business site like Simple.com or a blogging platform like Tumblr, using visuals to create minimalist designs that convey only the essential information is making the web more responsive for users. Sites that are clean and simple to use allow users to do what they need to do in a fast, responsive, and intuitive way, thus producing higher satisfaction and loyalty.
  6. Special Effects Adding “Wow” Factor. Advances in web technologies have given designers the freedom to break away from archaic, newspaper-like navigation and explore new realms of possibility. As we mentioned earlier, apps have changed people’s expectations. As they’ve gotten used to slick app interfaces they also expect the same from their web experiences.
  7. Visuals are Universal. The Internet is a place that is constantly changing, as is the language used to talk about it. However, visuals are a universal language that can withstand the tests of time. Visuals are capable of evoking emotional connections in a broader audience of people while words can limit the scope of where a message can go and who can understand it.

There are many methods being used to visualize content, like Amunwa’s team at SlideDeck 2. Social networks like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are forcing brands to think and act more visually. With that in mind, digital-telepathy, the company behind the original SlideDeck and the Hello Bar, designed SlideDeck 2: a simple way for websites to showcase social and web content in a visually stunning way through an easy-to-use premium WordPress plugin. SlideDeck 2 is a dynamic content slider that brings a new aesthetic to website design.

Instead of forcing website managers to create content from scratch or reformat what they’ve already shared via social media, SlideDeck 2 automatically pulls in content to show on WordPress-powered sites. It integrates with Instagram, Flickr, Vimeo, Google+, Dribbble, YouTube, Twitter, Dailymotion, Picassa and RSS feeds. As a design company, digital-telepathy is focused on the beautification of the web. By adding a new layer of design to content sharing, SlideDeck 2 is a major step forward in helping brands easily make their content visually appealing.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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Social Media

Why Trump’s lawsuit against social media still matters

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Former President Trump snagged headlines for suing every large social media platform, and it has gone quiet, but it still deeply matters.

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It was splashed across headlines everywhere in July: Former President Trump filed a lawsuit against social media platforms that he claims unrightfully banned him during and after the fallout of the January 6th capitol riots. The headlines ran for about a week or so and then fell off the radar as other, fresher, just-as-juicy news headlines captured the media’s eye.

Many of us were left wondering what that was all about and if anything ever became of it. For even more of us, it probably passed out of our minds completely. Lack of public awareness for these things is common after the initial media blitz fades.

Lawsuits like these in the US can take months, if not years between newsworthy milestones. The most recent news I could find as of this publishing is from August 24, 2021, on Yahoo! News from the Washington Examiner discussing the Trump camp’s request for a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit.

This particular suit shouldn’t be left to fade from memory in the shadows though, and here’s why:

In the past few years, world powers have been reigning in regulations on social media and internet commerce. The US is actually a little behind the curve. Trump may have unwittingly given us a source of momentum to get with the times.

In the European Union, they have the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), widely acknowledged to be one of the toughest and most thorough privacy laws in the world, a bold title. China just passed its own pair of laws in the past four months: The Data Security Law, which took effect on Sept. 1, and The Personal Information Law, set to take effect November 1st. The pair is poised to give the GDPR a run for its money for that title.

Meanwhile, in the US, Congress has been occupied with other things and, while there are five bills that took aim at tech monopoly currently on the table and a few CEOs had to answer some questions, little actual movement or progress has been made on making similar privacy protections a thing in the United States.

Trump’s lawsuit, while labeled by many as a toothless public relations move, may actually create momentum needed to push regulation of tech and social media forward in the US. The merits of the case are weak and ultimately the legislation that would give it teeth doesn’t exist yet.

You can’t hold tech companies accountable to a standard that doesn’t properly exist in law.

However, high profile attention and someone willing to continue to make noise and bring attention back to the subject, one of Trump’s strongest talents, could be “just what the doctor ordered” to inspire Congress to make internet user rights and data privacy a priority in the US, finally.

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Even solopreneurs are doing live commerce online – it’s not just QVC’s game anymore

(SOCIAL MEDIA) When you think of watching a show and buying things in real time, it invokes thoughts of QVC, but social media video has changed all that.

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After the year everyone has had, one wouldn’t be remiss in thinking that humanity wants a break from live streaming. They would, however, be wrong: Live online commerce – a method of conversion first normalized in China – is the next evolution of the ubiquitous e-commerce experience, which means it’s something you’ll want on your radar.

Chinese company, Alibaba first live streamed on an e-commerce site in 2016, allowing buyers to watch, interact with, and buy from sellers from the comfort of their homes. In 2020, that same strategy netted Alibaba $7.5 billion in presale revenue – and it only took 30 minutes, according to McKinsey Digital.

But, though western audiences have proven a desire to be just as involved with sellers during the buying process, live commerce hasn’t taken off here the way it has elsewhere. If e-commerce merchants want to maximize their returns in the next few years, that needs to change.

McKinsey Digital points out a couple of different benefits for organizations using live commerce, the main one being an influx in traffic. Live streaming events break the buying experience mold, and consumers love being surprised. You can expect that prospective buyers who wouldn’t necessarily visit your store under normal circumstances would find value in attending a live event.

Live events also keep people on your site for longer, resulting in richer conversion opportunities.

The sense of urgency inherent in in-person shopping doesn’t always translate to online markets, but having a stream showing decreasing inventory or limited-availability items being sold inspires people to act expeditiously rather than sitting on a loaded cart–something that can kill an e-commerce conversion as quickly as it starts one.

There are a ton of different ways to incorporate live events into your e-commerce campaigns. Virtual auctions are popular, as are markets in which individual sellers take buyers through inventory. However, the live event could be tangentially related–or even just something impressive running in parallel with the sale–and still bring in a swell of revenue.

Screen fatigue is real, and there isn’t a true substitute for a brick-and-mortar experience when done correctly. But if you have an e-commerce shop that isn’t utilizing some form of live entertainment–even just to bring in new buyers–you’re going to want to try this strategy soon.

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LinkedIn is nixing Stories this month (LinkedIn had Stories!?)

(SOCIAL MEDIA) LinkedIn tried to be like the cool kids and launched “Stories,” but the video feature is being shelved and “reimagined.” Ok.

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linkedin stories

Creating the next big thing is essential for social networks to stay relevant, continue growing, and avoid shutting down. Sometimes, this leads to businesses trying to ride along with the success of another app’s latest feature and creating their cloned version. While the logic of recreating something already working makes sense, the results aren’t universal.

This time around, LinkedIn is saying goodbye to its short-lived Snapchat-like video product, Stories. In a company post, LinkedIn says it’s removing its Stories experience by the end of September.

Why is LinkedIn retiring Stories?

According to a post by Senior Director of Product at LinkedIn Liz Li, “[LinkedIn] introduced Stories last year as a fun and casual way to share quick video updates.”

After some testing and feedback, they learned this is not what users wanted. Seems like they could have beta tested with users and heard the same thing, but I digress.

“In developing Stories, we assumed people wouldn’t want informal videos attached to their profile, and that ephemerality would reduce barriers that people feel about posting. Turns out, you want to create lasting videos that tell your professional story in a more personal way and that showcase both your personality and expertise,” said Li.

What does this mean for users?

Starting on September 30, 2021, users will no longer be able to create Stories for Pages. If you’ve already planned to have an image or video ads run in-between Stories, they will now appear on the LinkedIn feed instead. For those who used Campaign Manager to promote or sponsor a Story directly from your Page, the company says “these paid Stories will not appear in the LinkedIn feed”, and the user will need to recreate the ad in Campaign Manager.

What’s next for LinkedIn?

According to Li, LinkedIn is taking what it learned from its finding to “evolve the Stories format into a reimagined video experience across LinkedIn that’s even richer and more conversational.” It plans on doing so by using mixed media and the creative tools of Stories.

“As we reimagine what is next, we’re focusing on how we can provide you with a short-form, rich interactive video format that is unique to our platform and that better helps you reach and engage your audiences on LinkedIn. We’re always excited to try out new things and learn as we go, and will continue to share updates along the way,” the company said.

Although Stories didn’t work well for LinkedIn as they hoped, one thing is for sure. LinkedIn isn’t giving up on some form of interactive video, and we can only hope they “reimagine” something unique that keeps users coming back for more.

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