by Dan Purvis
How often do you see a brand-related tweet, Facebook post, or something similar without some form of visual content? Almost all marketers have accepted the need for a visual-led strategy to amplify their social media and digital marketing activities, but how do you know if your content marketing is working?
74% of social media marketers use visual assets, and this figure is only going to increase. Whether you create your own visual assets or utilize those already out there, to have a measurable impact, it is essential you’re delivering what your audience wants.
In this blog, I’ll cover some key aspects of visual content marketing your business has to consider to achieve the conversion rates you desire.
Image Size Matters on Social Media
Nothing looks more amateurish than a poorly posted image, pixelated graphics, or a visual asset that isn’t right for the particular social media channel. All channels have their specific image sizes which you have to be aware of to ensure you create content which fits. The dimensions below are subject to change over time but are the current sizes for each channel.
Profile pictures/Business Page profile pictures: 180 x 180 pixels (or 160 x 160 on a desktop)
Cover photos: 820 x 213 pixels (displays at 640 x 360 on most smartphones)
Shared images: recommended size of approximately 1200 x 630 pixels
Shared links: when you share a link on Facebook the image often comes with it, and this share size is 1200 x 627
Profile photo: 400 x 400 pixels (displays at 200 x 200 pixels)
Header photo: 1500 x 500 pixels
Stream/Timeline photos: no smaller than 440 x 220 pixels
Profile picture: 110 x 110 pixels
Thumbnail sizes: 161 x 161 pixels
Regular photo size: 1080 x 1080 pixels (scaled down to 612 x 612 and appearing in your feed at 510 x 510)
Personal profile picture: 400 x 400 pixels (recommended size)
Personal background image: 1584 x 396 pixels
Company logo: 300 x 300 pixels
Profile picture: 165 x 165 pixels (appears at 32 x 32 across the platform)
Pin sizes: you have a range of options when pinning but the pins on the main page will always appear at 236 pixels with the height to scale. Expanded pins have a minimum width of 600 pixels
Size is really key to effective visual content marketing. Badly formatted and sized images will put potential clients and customers off, and it raises questions about your ability to properly use the platform you’re advertising on.
Exploring Your Visual Content Options
Visual content comes in so many forms, and while a lot is prominent on social media, it isn’t always the case. Traditional advertising methods, including banner ads, are still extremely valuable and can be used effectively in your broader marketing campaigns. Here is a closer look at some of your visual asset options and how to succeed.
Banner advertisements are a direct form of advertising. Visitors know it, and so you have to work hard to keep them interested and convince them to click through. There are some fantastic examples of effective banners ads to learn from, even from seemingly dry sectors like IT! So, when putting together your banner ads, be sure to keep these points in mind:
Why is your ad compelling? What are your users getting in return for engaging?
How relevant is your ad? Consider the context of your advertisement—its placement and the timing of it are all vital to its success.
Remain committed to your campaign. If you initially don’t get a positive response it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to pull your ad, it can confuse your audience if you change your branding/ads too often and will dilute your brand image.
Animated GIFs are typically associated with social media humor, but things have seriously changed. With apps such as GIPHY integrated into Twitter and Facebook, as well as brands consistently producing high-quality GIFs of their own, it’s easy to include GIFs in your marketing campaign.
Brands succeeding with GIFs include:
General Electric maintains a whole Tumblr page dedicated to teaching us about science through GIFs. The account exists to provide education and learning about science solely through GIFs.
Using engaging visual and video content is proving to be a definite success for General Electric, as the above GIF received 479 engagements (such as likes, reblogs, and notes). The success is highlighted even more so when comparing to their main Tumblr page—a recent wind farm picture sparked just over 150 engagements, and a video about using light to measure athletic performance only received 50.
Boden UK clothing brand Boden incorporate GIFs both on their website and in their emails, adding a more interactive and fun twist to their offering. They are also used on social media to promote offers and highlight new product lines:
Your moves might be questionable but your outfit definitely isn’t. Shimmy on over to shop the suit with 30% off › https://t.co/9BrEys1pXs pic.twitter.com/JZ2Dw7pC12 — Boden (@Bodenclothing) November 25, 2017
Adult Swim TV company Adult Swim is one of the top brands showing how GIFs can be effective on Twitter. With a wealth of their own content to play with, their Twitter account is often alive and interactive with fun and humorous GIFs to attract and engage their followers:
#thefuture pic.twitter.com/R9qMEOrv35 — [adult swim] (@adultswim) 22 September 2017
With over 100 retweets and 567 likes, the original and engaging nature of this content was perfectly in keeping in the style of the brand and attracted the attention of their followers, many of whom responded with memes or GIFs of their own:
The future… pic.twitter.com/HFnvuPOiNp — ElFrikiAnalizador (@FrikiAnalizador) September 22, 2017
Just sitting here waiting for flcl s2 like #thefuture pic.twitter.com/TZCkzFaaqF — Helst vs Christmas FT10 (@_Helst_) September 22, 2017
Memes are sometimes thought of as a little discourteous, and getting it wrong could be dangerous for a brand’s reputation. But those who get it right, get it so right. Memes inject humor into a brand and can help it connect on a more informal level with its audience.
BarkBox is one of the leading companies on Instagram showing just how powerful memes can be. Indeed, almost every one of their posts is a meme, and they never fail to get a considerable amount of attention. In the below example, BarkBox attract over 23,000 Likes with 100s and 100s of comments—all from a cute picture of a dog in a car with an amusing caption!
In this example, the brand is not only keeping true to their humorous and meme-led approach to Instagram, but they are also utilizing the popularity of a well-known Instagram “star” in the form of the well-known Pomeranian Cupcake (who has more than 86,000 Instagram followers herself). Combining the engaging and humorous meme format with influencer marketing has proved a real success for BarkBox.
Much like Adult Swim, Nickelodeon are able to use their own program content to drive their visual content marketing, and they do so in the form of funny and attention-grabbing memes on Twitter:
#TFW your friends want to hang out this weekend but there’s a new episode of #GameShakers on Saturday at 8:30pm/7:30c ?? pic.twitter.com/Om6ijHOwab — Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) 3 November 2017
Engaging with fans of the program and attracting over 100 likes, Nickelodeon show how repurposing their own content in a new way can be a real success.
Traditional video content continues to be popular, but in terms of visual content marketing, it is often quick and attention-grabbing forms, such as memes and GIFs, which instantly draw in users and cause them to engage with your content. Although there are certainly ways you can embrace longer form video, such as via GoPro, to improve the impact of your video marketing execution!
Image Only Advertisements
It’s a brave brand that finds an effective way of using just images in their advertisements, but there are many fantastic examples of ads with no or very few words, including these campaigns from Kit Kat, Chupa Chups, and Sensodyne:
Succeeding with Your Visual Content
Visual content marketing is all about conversion, much like any marketing technique. However, with the fun factor, entertainment focus, and enjoyable process involved in putting these types of campaigns together, it can be easy to get carried away.
The critical thing to focus on, as mentioned earlier, is relevance. Is what you’re posting truly relevant to your audience? Will it add something to their experience of your brand? Will it help build a connection with your brand, and make it memorable?
Just because something is funny and relatable doesn’t mean it will bring something positive to your brand, and this should always be in your mind when creating and sharing visuals.