Infographics are everywhere these days. You’ll find them on your Twitter feed with great regularity. Facebook pages are posting them with regularity. Even blogs are posting new infographics with their content to generate interest. Although they’re quite popular, are they the right thing to include with your content marketing efforts? The pros and cons of infographics listed here will hopefully help to make that decision a little easier.
What Are the Pros of Infographics?
1. It turns complicated information into visual graphics that are easy to understand.
The average attention span of someone on the internet today is worse than the attention span of a goldfish. You might have 3,000 words of brilliant content, but the average person isn’t going to take the 7-10 minutes it may take to comprehensively read it. Infographics can make it easier to access the key points being made in a way that is easy to consume.
2. The information is easier to retain.
Can you remember what you had for breakfast yesterday? Or what the last episode of your favorite TV show was about? We ignore a lot of information we feel that is not meaningful just because there is so much of it available to us today. Infographics turn key information points into visual memories, which helps the average person remember over 80% of the data they’ve seen. Other information formats retain 20% or less of the data.
3. They catch the eye of the reader.
Headlines are important for modern content, but so is the image being used with that content. Infographics create a natural thesis statement which readers can use to determine if there is value in continuing to read the content. And, if the reader is short on time, they can review the infographic and feel like they got what they needed from their time with your content.
4. It is easy to share infographics.
This is why you are seeing them everywhere these days. One click is all it takes to pin an infographic to a Pinterest board or share it on Facebook. Save the image and you can tweet it or upload it to your blog. This enhances the value proposition being offered because your readers can quickly show their followers the value of what you’ve offered, which then expands your potential outreach.
5. There isn’t a specific template that needs to be followed.
Infographics can be designed in virtually any way, giving designers a lot of options to explore their creativity. Most readers will look at an infographic from top to bottom or left/right depending on their language, but those are typically the only restrictions in place.
6. There are higher levels of viral potential.
Any content has the possibility of going viral. Whether it does or not, however, depends on the quality that is put into the infographic being offered. Because these graphics are so easy to share and the information so useful, a brief shining moment can turn into many long-term visitors, more customers, and ultimately more revenues.
7. It’s an easy way to demonstrate industry expertise.
By condensing what you feel are the most important points, any subject can offer meaningful lessons to a reader through the use of an infographic. You’re saving readers research time because you’ve placed your expertise into a precise format that makes sense to them. You also get to stay in complete control over the message, which makes an infographic just as much an advertisement as it is a content posting.
8. You can also receive a brand boost.
For many, this might be the primary reason why an infographic is being considered in the first place. They are attractive, which in internet lingo means they’re clickable. People can share them with family and friends. The boost all of this gives your brand can be enormous and outside of the cost of creation and research, is relatively affordable as well – if not free.
9. Your site can receive a valuation boost.
Infographics are a great way to begin creating inbound links because your readers can grab and post your information with relative ease. Although this may take some time to be useful to your overall domain, the potential benefits these inbound links can provide shouldn’t be ignored because of the valuation they are able to provide.
What Are the Cons of Infographics?
1. They can take a lot of time to prepare.
It can be very time consuming to create an infographic. You don’t just type up some words, post them, and call it good. You need to design a layout that will be easy to read, include graphics that correspond with the data, and craft a story throughout the infographic to make it a meaningful experience. People remember stories much more readily than they remember facts that are seemingly random.
2. Search engines don’t always recognize the value of an infographic.
Many infographics are still treated as a digital image only. This means the true SEO value of the information included on the graphic is ignored for search results. For this reason, many sites are posting text content in addition to the infographics so they can rank highly on search results immediately instead of waiting for the inbound links to develop naturally.
3. The information on an infographic can still be misinterpreted.
Even though you offer statistics and facts on an infographic, not all of the data may be absorbed by the reader. Some visitors might even believe that you’re using a personal bias to influence the data being presented. Because there is limited space for in-depth information, some people will never get the full story that you’re trying to present through this visual graphic.
4. Many infographics are difficult to read online.
This happens a lot because far too many infographics try to pack in way too much information. The image can be so small in its natural form because of its length that you have to zoom in to read the content. This extra step might only take a few steps to complete, but not everyone on the internet is computer savvy. If they see text that is too small to read, they might just give up and go somewhere else to get the information they want or need.
5. You’ve got to use legitimate sources of information with references.
When you see content that says, “Multiple studies say that inforgraphics improve data retention,” what is your reaction? Skepticism? Doubt? Laughter? It’s the same way with infographics. You must use proven, legitimate sources for your infographics and provide links to readers so the data can be verified. That way everyone knows you aren’t just making up the facts to prove a personal point.
6. Good infographics can be quite costly.
There are several free infographic templates that are available online right now, but they look and feel cheap and generic. If you want something that will be visually remembered, then it must be unique and incorporate proven design skills. That means breaking out your checkbook to get the job done unless you’ve got graphic design experience and that’s often a costly proposition.
7. It can still cause a data overload.
Some infographics look like a huge blog post, but just in a different format. Others have so many statistics and figures that it would cause a rocket scientist to wonder what the data really means. It can be very tempting to throw out fact after fact to prove their value, but this type of structure just causes a data overload. There must be meaning behind your message. Otherwise great graphics won’t matter because the message isn’t understandable.
8. Not every site that grabs your infographic will be within your industry.
Some infographics aren’t always liked. There will be times when an infographic is picked up by sites outside of your industry, which does your branding efforts little good. Even promoting an infographic isn’t enough to boost traffic sometimes if the story of the facts fails to connect. When the “wrong” sites grab your graphic and give you inbound links, you might rank in ways that aren’t relevant. You may need to disavow certain sites with poor reputations on a regular basis.
9. Similar designs can create information confusion.
You’ve just hired a freelancer to create an infographic for you. What you don’t realize is that the freelancer has used the same design for another customer as well, so your data looks the same when presented online at first glimpse. If a visitor were to see both graphics, the information confusion could cause them to seek out someone else within your industry for what they need.
The pros and cons of infographics show that when they are designed correctly, they can be a useful tool to get a specific message across to a reader. Consider these key points as you work on designing your next infographic and the authenticity you’ll be able to provide will make a real difference in the impact you’re attempting to make.