In June 2019, Mary Meeker released her annual report on internet trends. This year’s report included substantial discussion on the sharp rise in the use of visuals and images in online content.
Meeker’s report stated the number of internet users to be 3.8 billion, which is more than half of the world’s population.
That is a lot of internet usage — and those users seem to be creating and sharing more images and video than ever before.
This isn’t surprising! Recent research by TechSmith showed that video and visual content is more engaging and helps people retain information faster and better. In fact, businesses can see HUGE increases in productivity just by adding more visual and video content to their workplace communications.
So we asked TechSmith’s Vice President of Product Strategy Tony Dunckel, General Manager of Camtasia Troy Stein, Snagit Strategy Lead Daniel Foster, and Camtasia Technical Product Manager Brooks Andrus for their thoughts on why people are sharing more images and video, and what this means for businesses.
Here’s what they had to say:
The below is a transcript of the interviews:
Why do you think people are sharing more images and video?
“Why are images and video increasing in importance? I think this has been a natural progression. The human brain has a vast visual GPU that processes signals like crazy, and so we are naturally drawn to it.” – Camtasia Technical Product Manager Brooks Andrus
“Images are just becoming saturated in all our media we consume and that people create. The way to produce images has become much cheaper and easier and more accessible, where as a few years ago it was sort of something that the few would engage in. Now its really become mainstream.” – Snagit Strategy Lead Daniel Foster
“We are visual learners, so those types of iconic ways of communicating gives us a level of depth and richness that words alone just simply can’t express.” – Vice President of Product Strategy Tony Dunckel
“The fact that in 2019, people are using more images and videos when they communicate — its a natural evolution and it’s going to continue. There’s going to be fewer words and more images in the future because images are concise, tight and vibrant, and they accelerate the transfer of knowledge.” – General Manager of Camtasia Troy Stein
Meeker’s report shows more images being shared on social media. How are these trends carrying over to business?
Andrus: People are going to be drawn to visual imagery. If you can give people a quick hook into your content, there is a greater chance they’re going to sink deeper in and go for the details.
Foster: One of the really interesting trends that happened over the past few years is we’ve gone from just take a raw picture, send it to you and that sort of does the communication … to adding layers. So first it was filters and things like that on Instagram.
Then you saw the rise of stories and a number of platforms have really picked that up as a mode of communication. So what I’ve seen is that people doing that in their private and personal lives, they start to want to bring those habits to work too and be able to communicate that way in quick, visual, concise little packages back and forth with their coworkers, their colleagues, and even their customers.
What can businesses learn from people about using visual content?
Andrus: Perfect is the enemy of good. So consumers are unafraid, they are authentic, they care about the speed of communication, and that’s what businesses can start really pushing toward.
Foster: Putting too much effort into making it perfect is not really what’s needed these days. So I think that’s something businesses can take to heart- is if you’re getting hung up on having to pay for and hire a huge group and make some giant investment for visuals, maybe rethink that. Maybe bring that down to a level where anyone in the office can engage in that.
Stein: Now people are just putting content out there and you get a million views on it because it has great content, it’s fast, and it’s timely as opposed to super polished.
Will the use of visuals online continue to grow?
Dunckel: It would be very hard to imagine- especially with the groundswell of use that’s been happening- our double-digit rise that we’re seeing both in images and videos being created- only lend a hand to saying that it’s here to stay. It’s a new way of communicating- the question now will be how does it expand and how does it grow in use across all different mediums in a corporate enterprise.
Stein: Image and video use is going to accelerate because it’s going to get even easier. The tools that are out there that allow me to communicate visually- be it images and video- those are getting faster, more potent, and richer. So people are going to be using them more and more.
What makes a visual work or not?
Dunckel: At the end of the day when we look at the success of using images and videos, it’s about comprehension and knowledge transfer. Whatever helps complete that the best, works.
Andrus: Most of the time, getting closer in on the content, zooming in, not being afraid to focus the eyes, making sure there is a visual point of interest, is really important.
Foster: Adding those text labels or other visual elements to really point things out in an image can help it communicate a lot more quickly and clearly.
Dunckel: Whether you blur out the background, or you draw a circle around an area of interest, or you simply talk to it and squiggle your mouse- it’s all about knowledge transfer.
How can businesses begin using more visual content?
Andrus: If you’re a corporation and you’re trying to understand how you can start using video and images in your workflows, don’t be afraid to try. Walk right in.
Stein: Don’t overthink it. What you really want to do is solve a problem. If the problem is that you’re writing a bunch of documentation that no one is reading, make a video! You’ll see the same thing that some of our customers have found: people watch a lot more than they read. Then you can also use your resources more effectively.
Dunckel: When you’re trying to convey complex information, being able to see what someone is talking about is the same as walking over and tapping someone on the shoulder and saying ‘can you show me?’
There are so many ways that we are communicating now at work. Whether being via email, instant message, Slack, Flowdock, and all of those real-time interaction platforms. So images make it all that much richer when doing that versus just text-based situations.
End of interviews
How much could you gain from using visuals in the workplace?
So we hired some expert researchers to find out for us.
By adding more visuals to workplace communications, companies could gain $167 billion in productivity globally each year.
Each employee could gain 6 minutes and 43 seconds per 8 hour workday.
That adds up to big impacts on a company’s bottom line.
To learn more about our research into the Value of Visuals, download our report.
Sold on the idea of using visuals and want to get started?
Download a free trial of Snagit, our easy to use screen capture & screen recording tool and start communicating visually today.