15 March 2016 | Team Tamar

Does the world need another infographic?

Data visualization has been around for years, but a few years ago the mass production of infographics for marketing purposes peaked, and we all sat back exhausted and suffered from infographic fatigue.

Since infographic mania, we’ve seen a gradual move towards other methods of creative marketing solutions.

Thank heavens.

We say this not because we don’t like them, the opposite, we love them. However, the amount of times we’ve bit our tongues when someone refers to ‘this infographic’ to then show off an image with a couple of pictures and a few paragraphs of text, has taken its toll. It hurts that we were calling anything with a bit of data or illustration an infographic, when the real infographics take an awful amount of time and talent to produce.

Additionally, a recent report discovered that infographics received around the lowest amount of links and shares amongst the other creative content formats.  Nearly 100,000 infographics were measured, with over 50% having 0 links and 25% had 10 shares or less.

Obviously, this raises the question of what we call an ‘infographic’, but this is still not good news for the impulsive infographic champions among us.

So now we’ve all calmed down, how do we know if the world needs another infographic?

Data first

Good data visuals will lead with the data. If the data is interesting, in-depth and current then displaying it in a simple graphical way will only make it more digestible and therefore shareable. If an abundance of data is there, then it’s crying out for the infographic treatment, but if you have a few stats and want to beef up your campaign with something visual, stick to something simpler instead. But don’t forsake visual impact, as everything is more shareable when visual.

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Additionally, some of the best and most shared infographics have been created with unique data we have researched ourselves or from clients. If the data is new and excites you, then it has to be an infographic.

Keep Copy Brief

If you can’t get your point across in a few words, then it’s probably not suited to an infographic format. If you need to include paragraphs, then either think how you can reduce the copy or if you really must include the bulky text, put it at the bottom via a key.

If you really have a lot to say, then why not consider video? You can include supporting visuals to emphasize points and still create something equally sharable, if not more so.

Mobile over Desktop

When infographics first hit our screens a lot of them were landscape as that suited the desktop format and our reluctance to scroll. However, with more people using mobiles now than desktop and our user behavior changing, we normally prioritize mobile use, over desktop. This can mean that infographics can seem very long and simple on desktop, but for the majority of users it will be much more readable and shareable, than some of the older infographics.

Additionally, there is an issue with interactive infographics not working on mobiles. We always hope to make our interactive infographics responsive, but when it starts to seriously compromise the desktop experience, we might switch to a static long version for mobile. Generally, think responsive and mobile first.

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Data is growing exponentially, and the need to visualize it in any context has become crucial. Traditional visualizations allow important data to become lost when viewed on a small screen, and the web traffic speaks for itself – viewers repeatedly demonstrate their preference for responsive design.
Building Responsive Data Visualization
by Bill Hinderman

Promotion, promotion, promotion

We have a rule at Tamar that you should spend three times the amount of time on promotion as you do on production. So if we’ve spent half a day creating a video, we should then spend a day and a half on promotion.

If you haven’t got the budget or time to invest in solid promotion, then don’t spend the time in production. It’s a totally false economy to spend all the budget on a great looking piece of creative, to then short change it on promotion. You might be happy with what your agency or in-house team has produced, but you won’t get the results with a lot of nice creative which nobody knows is there.

You would be better off spending less time on creating a smaller piece of creative, and thoroughly getting it out there.

Timely and Shelf Life

Promotion is increasingly important if your data has a short shelf life. For example, if the data is about Christmas shopping behavior in December 2015, then it won’t be long before the infographic becomes out of date, so will become increasingly less shareable as the year progresses.

Obviously, it could take you the same amount of time to create an infographic that will never get old, so you may want to make the time spent on creation relative to it’s shelf life.  If timing is important, make sure the promotion is immediate and short-term, such as relying on social rather than directories for promotion.

With all the data in the world growing, data visualization is increasingly important. When done well infographics tell a great story in a visual and creative that way, that couldn’t be achieved by any other medium.

However, when you can use blog posts, guest posts, lists, surveys, howtos quizzes, video, vines, animated gifs, podcasts, slideshares, eBooks, guides, white papers, memes and competitions – is an infographic still the best way to get your message across?

Team Tamar