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Marketers still deciding on what exactly the visual web is, study says

Although we’ve all been exploring the visual web for years, marketers are still not unanimous as to what that means. Let’s explore.

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visual web

There is no unanimity on the topic of the visual web

Attention digital storytellers: We’re all confused, so we’re all in this together.

No one can agree on one universal definition of the visual web. Come again? Considering websites have spicy design beyond their basic HTML skeletons, isn’t everything on the Web technically “visual”?

Well, yes and no. The simplistic nature of buzzwords like “visual web” makes them easy to confuse, but there are certain traits to the visual web that set it apart.

The most common definition

According to a recent study by GumGum, a visual web digital marketing platform, the most popular response among US marketers was a “social media phenomenon derived from cameras on smartphones and the rise of photo sharing sites.” The second most popular response had to do with user experiences with mobile design adapted for smaller screens.

There were six category options in total, and more than half of the respondents (55.4 percent to be precise) thought all of the definitions were relevant. Check “All of the Above.”

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Most consider visual elements part of their daily work

Despite the confusion, nine out of 10 brand marketers considered visual elements important to their daily work. The survey also explored what type of visual content brand marketers were looking to integrate to amplify their online presences, with custom video and photography in the lead. That’s good news, because who actually likes stock photography?

Fully 92.4 percent of respondents listed Instagram as the most popular platform associated with the visual web, followed by Pinterest, Facebook, Vine and Snapchat, respectively.

This could all change, as it frequently does

This line-up may change soon as brands discover new, innovative ways of using Snapchat in their daily marketing efforts. What once started as a medium through which friends could send each other unlimited hideous selfies is evolving into a legitimate branding platform, recently labeled the “hottest social network in marketing” by Adweek. To throw out some numbers to back this claim up: Snapchat gets 4 billion video views a day, a figure which Facebook video reached earlier this year. The selfies are still there, of course, but Snapchat has a lot of untapped potential for businesses.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the survey is that although we’re still undecided about what exactly constitutes the visual web, we know that it’s important to branding nowadays.

Whatever “it” is, it’s essential.

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Written By

Staff Writer Larisa Manescu cringes at the question "Where are you from?" because it's a long story, but it's one she loves to share if you ask her. Her interests include storytelling, social justice and choreographed group dance classes.

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