Much like any other content marketing strategy, visual marketing continues to evolve every year. And while the basic principle continues to apply – use high-quality visuals – how you connect them to your overarching messaging will vary.
In this post, we’ll be looking at ten effective strategies you can employ in 2024 and show you how some brands have already done it.
Note that it’s especially worth applying these strategies to your evergreen content pieces, as they will give them the boost they may need to stand out.
1. Leverage AI to Create Visuals
One of the biggest trends we will undoubtedly be seeing in all aspects of content marketing in 2024 is the use of artificial intelligence.
The trend is already drawing wholehearted supporters as well as vocal opponents. Whichever way you may feel about it, the fact is that a lot of brands are already using tools like DALL-E or Midjourney to create images for their blog posts, landing pages, or social media campaigns. You can make some of the visuals these tools generate a part of your video marketing campaigns.
Using AI to generate content is fast and easy. While the questions of authorship, copyright, and plagiarism remain open, you’re able to create unique, tailor-made solutions with a couple of clever prompts.
How you will use AI for content creation purposes is up to you. Coca-Cola, for example, created a video called Masterpiece that blends human creativity and AI. They have also launched a contest called “Create Real Magic,” where they invite customers to use ChatGPT and DALL-E to create new works of art based on old Coca-Cola adverts.
You can also create images for your posts like this blog has done. Although the sole purpose of their article is to entertain readers, you can adopt the same principle for creating custom visuals for any kind of post. Instead of using stock photos, you can create your own, one-of-a-kind images with the help of AI.
2. Use Augmented Reality to Create More Immersive Experiences
Augmented reality has also been a trend on the rise for quite some time. It is most often used by large brands to help their customers immerse themselves in a specific kind of world.
For example, brands that sell furniture will help you see how an item will look in your home with the use of AR. All you have to do is take a photo.
For example, Sephora created their Virtual Artist, an AR-based app that lets you try on some of the most popular makeup items they stock through your phone. You no longer have to guess whether a shade will suit you or not – you can try it out on your own skin. You can even adjust your foundation or bronzer shade based on how tan you are (or not).
Note that creating an AR-powered environment won’t be as easy as using AI to generate an image or a video. It may take a much more sizable investment. You can use Apple’s
ARKit or Google’s ARCore for free, but you will need to hire professionals to help you.
You can use AR to help customers see any item in as real a life as possible without having to visit your store. This can be an especially successful tactic for e-commerce brands.
You can also provide virtual tours or virtual experiences to showcase the benefits of your product.
3. Create Short-Form Video Content
Short-form video content has been the most popular content format on social media for a while. Every platform has its own version of it: stories, reels, and shorts are all dominating modern-day feeds. And, of course, there’s TikTok.
The reason short-form video is so massively popular is its ease of consumption. You don’t need a long attention span; you need very little focus, and you can experience a massive amount of video content in a couple of minutes.
As a brand, you can leverage short-form videos in numerous ways. For example, you can create purely entertaining clips that feature your products or that are connected to your service. You can also create informational videos, sharing tips on how to use your products. You can even do full-fledged short stories.
Refer back to your buyer persona. What do they like to watch? What kinds of accounts do they already follow? Go from there and try to create your own spin on this content type.
Shopify does a great job with their TikToks. They share a lot of bite-sized advice about using their platform, but they are also perfectly happy to share something silly or ridiculous.
They also use this highly visual social media platform to promote their written content by recapping the key points of their blog posts.
4. Make Your Visuals More Inclusive
Inclusivity is a trend that has penetrated all spheres of society. From Hollywood remakes to political campaigns, everyone tries to prove they are inclusive and diverse.
As a brand, you can embrace this trend in your visual marketing campaigns. When doing photoshoots, choosing stock images, or creating visuals with the help of AI, make sure to feature people from various backgrounds.
A lot of major brands have been doing this for years. For example, Dove’s Real Beauty Pledge sees the brand recommitting to using non-models in their marketing campaigns and not retouching their images. Their Self-Esteem Campaign has been a paragon of inclusivity for nearly ten years.
5. Leverage User-Generated Content
To make your visual marketing strategy more impactful and engaging, try incorporating as much user-generated content as feasible.
This is especially effective on social media. By sharing the photos and videos your followers and fans have created, you are lending a sense of credibility to your brand. Oftentimes, these visuals will be more immersive and authentic than anything you can shoot in a campaign. Naturally, they’ll be more relatable.
You should also leverage user-generated content on your website. Encourage customers to add photos to their product reviews. Ask loyal shoppers to make a short video about your brand. Remember to always credit the author and thank them personally.
You can easily make your Instagram feed a part of your homepage as well. Lords and Labradors, for example, have a shoppable Instagram on their website.
You can also use UGC in your blog posts or on your product pages.
6. Ensure You Stay Consistent
For your brand to become recognizable and relatable, ensure all touchpoints, especially visual ones, are branded.
This does not necessarily mean that you need to slap your logo onto all of your social media posts. However, you should always use your brand‘s color palette carefully. Use the same fonts and maintain a singular visual style.
You can easily use some of the custom images you’ve created for articles in your social posts. You can also create slides specifically for social media, featuring quotes or statistics from your website.
You want your audience to recognize you the second they come across your content. You don’t need to brand UGC if you don’t want to, but you can add a pop of brand color as a border for recognizability.
Make sure to edit your visuals in the same style as well. If you are using a certain filter or color grading your images in a certain way, make sure every editor and designer is familiar with it and uses it repeatedly.
Lanteria is a good example of a brand that has nailed consistency. If you check out any of their social media profiles, you’ll notice their signature orange and purple popping up.
They specifically select orange emojis to make themselves more recognizable and often use custom images for their posts.
7. Match the Format to the Message
An often underrated and overlooked aspect of visual marketing is correlation. You need to ensure that the medium you are choosing is appropriate for the message.
Think of it this way: the goal of your content is to spark an emotional response in your target audience. To do that, you need to carefully align the way you tell them something to the nature of what you are telling them.
For example, if you want to make your audience feel relaxed and uplifted, you won’t fill your page with black-and-white photos.
Let’s look at an example to explore this point further. Bay Alarm Medical uses a video in its header to inspire a feeling of urgency and emergency. The images of sirens and ambulances quickly give way to images of the solution: their medical alert system.
Further down the page, they want to inspire a feeling of comfort and safety. For that purpose, they show images and videos of their product in use and share stories from their satisfied customers.
8. Ensure All Visuals Are Mobile-Friendly
Unfortunately, a lot of brands forget that video SEO must be an important part of their visual marketing campaigns. If you fail to optimize your images and videos properly, they may hinder the performance of your pages.
The most important box to tick is ensuring your visuals are mobile-friendly. If they are too large, both in terms of file size and pixels, they will impair mobile user experiences.
Try to look at your mobile and desktop websites as two different entities. You don’t need to replicate your desktop website on a smaller screen. On the contrary, you want to ensure that users surfing on mobile have an experience tailored to them and their needs.
This means making all calls to action easily clickable. It means not auto-playing videos. It means muting any sounds. It means taking the time to set a size for each image and video based on the size and orientation of the screen. Finally, it means preloading header visual elements and lazy-loading everything else.
Surfer does a brilliant job with their optimization. Their mobile page is quite similar to their desktop page, but all the clickable elements have been strategically relocated.
The images have retained their high quality, but they are served in next-gen formats and in significantly smaller file sizes.
9. Connect Your Visuals with Your Brand’s Identity
To improve conversion rates and customer engagement, you will need to ensure that the visual marketing techniques you use are aligned with your brand’s identity. Your entire online presence needs to show your potential customers who you are, what you stand for, and what they can expect from you.
This will mean choosing a color scheme that is aligned with your message. Rely on color theory to help you out.
It will also mean showcasing as much of your staff, products, and customers as you can. The better your audience can get to know you, the easier it will be for them to relate and connect. It’s not enough to publish lots of captivating images if they are in no way aligned with your brand’s ethos.
To reinforce this point, take a look at the Amazon repricer tool Aura. They have recently rebranded, and their competitive edge now lies in the edginess of their graphic design.
They are juxtaposing blacks, whites, and grays to achieve a professional, understated effect. The product speaks for itself through lots of product videos and images. Also, notice how fewer words are used and the brand is relying more on the visual components.
10. Don’t Make Your Landing Pages Overwhelming
You don’t want to confuse your audience. While you certainly want to include various types of visuals on your landing pages, you don’t want them to feel suffocating or overwhelming.
Make sure to consider the goal behind a particular page. For example, on a product page, you will likely want to put the product front and center and make it the focal point.
On an About Us page, you will want to show your employees and tell their stories. You can use a variety of content formats on the page.
For example, animated videos of every member of staff can help you stand out. Short clips from the office can help showcase your work ethic. A professional shot (perhaps with a twist) can add a bit of humanity to the page.
HubSpot did a great job here: they created an entire Instagram profile showcasing the company’s employees and behind-the-scenes, then (naturally) featured that profile on the Careers section of their website.
And to see what a great homepage can look like, check out Love the Night Sky:
They feature plenty of visual content when linking to their product pages or blog posts. The rest of the imagery is simple and neutral. Other than a couple of astronomy-related images, the page is dominated by negative space that lets these elements shine.
Which one of these visual marketing strategies appeals to you the most? Have you already been deploying some of them, or are you planning to make them a part of your 2024 tactics?
Before you settle on any of them, don’t forget to first consider what your target audience needs and how your visual marketing choices can help them connect to your brand and solve their pain points.