A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words... Even In Mobile Messaging

Take a deep breath and close your eyes for a second. Imagine a sunny beach with beautiful white sand, palm trees and clear, glistening turquoise water. Gives you a feeling of relaxation and peace, doesn't it? Reading the description automatically paints a picture in your mind of the setting, even if I hadn't told you to imagine it. It's simply how our brains are wired. We prefer pictures and visuals rather than having to read.

Text goes into our short-term memory and information that needs to be processed. Psychologist George Miller researched this function of our brain and published his findings in an article in 1956. Miller determined that the working memory can remember "7 plus or minus 2" pieces of information. Images, on the other hand, go into our long-term memory, allowing us to store and remember them much more vividly.

Keeping this in mind, it's no surprise that most marketing and advertising utilizes visuals of some sort to leverage this emotion and create a brand experience. Messaging should aim to do the same. When given the option to read a text message from a company or to receive some sort of visualization, most consumers would prefer the latter. It engages the customer more and provides an image -- something that resonates better with our brains. The better experience a potential consumer has, the more likely he or she is to complete the purchase journey.

Evolution of Marketing

In the 19th century, a man by the name of Aaron Montgomery Ward revolutionized the advertising and retail world by including pictures in his business catalog. He was the first to attempt such a tactic, realizing that people will be more affected by visuals than plain text. Although at that time no studies or experiments were done to prove that visuals resonate more strongly with customers, he used his intuition and what was deemed to be logical for marketing purposes.

His innovative idea to change customs in order to better serve his customers led to huge success while creating a new standard for advertising. The evolution of marketing did not end with pictures in catalogs. Rich content with images and videos made it to nearly every marketing channel, except mobile messaging. Today, we can complete what Ward started and apply it to modern day direct mobile marketing -- especially mobile messaging.

Research done by Nielsen suggests that there are 27 million pieces of content shared a day. That's about 313 pieces of content shared every second. People are blasted with messages from every direction on a daily basis. With more and more competition for the attention of consumers, companies must engage in techniques that will be unique and grasp the audience's attention.

Visuals are processed up to 60,000 times faster than text. A picture of a cute puppy will elicit an emotional response from a person much faster than a textual description of the puppy would. The same concept can be applied by mobile marketing to your customers.

Visualizations and Advertising

Not only can imagery help grasp the attention of customers, but it can also help with a company's branding efforts. We have seen the enhancement of advertising in a variety of domains as new technologies become more sophisticated over time.

This situation is also relevant to email. When it was introduced, email was plain text and then simple html. Since then, it has developed and expanded to include banners and rich media along with a whole set of analytics, telling us if the e-mail was actually opened and how the customer interacted with the email content itself. Advertisers figured out that a visual together with behavioral analytics is much more powerful to a consumer than plain text, which offers very limited feedback on customer engagement. It only makes sense for new mobile touchpoints, like mobile messaging, to follow the same image evolution.

With new innovations like Rich Media Messaging (RMM), companies can deliver branded and personalized messages to customers with high quality video and images to any device. Better yet, it is delivered as a message, meaning there is no need for a data plan or links directing the consumer to a Web site, and the set of analytics available upon message delivery is much closer to email rather than simple text message. When sending out RMM to consumers, it is very easy to include a branded image along with customized device specific content to enhance the user experience. The image portion of the message helps to enhance brand recognition, and if paired with a product image, it generates twice the performance of a text-only experience like SMS.

1 comment about "A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words... Even In Mobile Messaging".
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  1. Andy Mcnabb from McNabb Broadcasting, August 19, 2014 at 4:08 p.m.

    Yes, pictures are worth a thousand words - but WHOSE thousand words? That's why picture selection strategy is critical, combined with a headline/subhead that interrupts the prospect based on their most intensely held hot buttons (positive or negative) and promises decision-facilitating information. Having walked the talk in media ownership re the following, for national and local advertisers, plus local media, here's a two page summary that shows how to jump advertisers' sales in 13 weeks - no discounting - in any market by 7-9 figures, generating an extra 6-7 figures in premium rate ad revenue:

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