Content marketing has changed immensely in the past year. The pandemic elevated the virtual world above the real one, making visual content marketing the go-to strategy to reach customers.
Brands need to create more and better visual content now to stay afloat in a noisy digital environment. How can they go about this strategy?
Venngage has been conducting an annual study on visual content marketing statistics to examine how visual communication is used by marketers.
We surveyed 200 marketers globally this year, (with help from Typeform), and asked them about their visual content marketing strategy, the changes they’ve made due to the pandemic, and what the visual content landscape will look like in the future.
We also decided to segment our results according to the countries we surveyed. In this post, you will see the results of our survey for marketers in the United Kingdom.
You can also take a look at the results in our general report as well as in three other countries:
Visual Content Marketing Statistics to Know for 2021 – United Kingdom Report
We spoke to marketers in the United Kingdom and asked for their thoughts regarding visual content marketing in 2021 and beyond. There was a clear impact from the pandemic that will become obvious in our results.
To better understand the results, we’ve created an infographic that summarises the data we collected. We also asked marketing experts for their insights on visual content marketing.
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Visual Content Marketing Statistics to Know for 2021
Why is visual content a necessary part of content marketing strategies? The digital world has become suffused with content, both text and visuals. To make a statement, marketers need to design visual content that sets them apart from the rest.
Here are the results of our survey of marketers in the United Kingdom about the impact of the pandemic, the challenges they face creating visual content, and what kind of visuals work best for them.
1. Did you pivot your visual content marketing strategy in 2020 based on the pandemic?
The overwhelming majority of UK marketers we surveyed, 73.3%, said that the pandemic had affected their business communication strategies. Only 26.7% said they managed to continue working the way they always had.
2. On a scale of 1-10, how much did you change your visual marketing strategy due to the pandemic?
The majority of responses to this question fell firmly in the middle, with most respondents voting for between five and seven out of 10, resulting in an average of 6.3 in 2020.
4. What kind of visuals did you use most frequently?
33.3% of British content marketers surveyed said 81-90% of their content includes visuals. 20% said they included visuals in 91-100% of their content. 13.3% include visuals in 61-70% of their content.
With such a large majority of British content marketing including visuals, we wanted to know what types of visuals are most used.
Stock photos took the lead with 40% of votes, followed by 20% for original graphics. Charts and data visualizations shared the same percentage of votes with videos and presentations, at 13.3% each. Multi-page documents came last at 6.7%.
4. Which type of visuals helped them reach their marketing goals in 2020?
Despite coming in last in the previous question, 40% of respondents said videos and presentations have been the most effective visual type for achieving their goals.
Though original graphics came in lower on the list for types of visuals used, they ranked second for effectiveness, alongside charts and data visualizations and multi-page documents. Each of these earned 20% of the votes.
5. Which type of visuals did not help you meet your marketing goals?
Though stock photos were the most-used visual, they were the least effective for the British marketers we surveyed. They got 53.3% of the votes for this question.
Multi-page documents and GIFs received 20% and 13.3% of votes, respectively, from respondents saying they were the least effective.
As we saw in the earlier question, both original graphics and charts and data visualizations were effective tools. It wasn’t surprising that they received only 6.7% of the votes for this question.
Interestingly, videos and presentations didn’t receive any votes, which is understandable because they topped the charts for the previous question.
6. How much time did you spend each week producing visual content?
66.6% of British marketers said they spent less than five hours a week producing visual content in 2020. 13.3% spend 5-10 hours creating visual content, while 20% spent between 10 hours to upwards of 20 hours creating visual content.
7. What tools did you typically use to create the visual content?
Results for this question have varied from country to country. For marketers in the UK, the choice seems to be in-house designers, with 33.3% of respondents voting for it.
26.7% of British marketers use online solutions, such as the Venngage infographic maker. Advanced design software was the choice for 20% of marketers surveyed and the same number also use freelance designers.
9. What was your biggest struggle when it came to producing engaging visual content?
Visual content isn’t an easy strategy to execute so we asked our respondents about the challenges they face when creating visuals.
In 2020, the percentage of British marketers struggling to consistently produce visual content was 60%. Sourcing data and statistics came in second place, with 26.7% of respondents voting for it.
Creating great design came in third place with 13.3% of marketers saying this was a major challenge. While finding the right layout to depict data and statistics has been a hurdle for other countries, it is not a problem for British marketing experts.
9. What percent of your budget was spent on visual content in 2020? And how will that change in 2021?
One of the challenges of creating visual content is having some budget to rely on. And this continues to be a struggle for British marketers.
26.7% of respondents said that less than 10% of their marketing budget is being spent on visual marketing, The same percentage, 26.7% spent between 21-30% of the budget on visual content marketing.
The majority of respondents, 40%, said 11-20% of the budget has been allocated for visuals. Only 6.67% of marketers spent over 40% of their budgets on visuals in 2020.
It was interesting to see where British marketers believed budgets would be spent in 2021 and further. 46.7% predicted that their marketing spend would cross into the 11-20% bracket, followed by 26.7% saying their budgets would go up to 21-30%.
20% said they expected their budgets for visual content creation to be more than 30% in 2021.
10. What do you spend the most on for visual content?
There has been a lot of variation in responses for this question according to geographical lines.
For British marketers, 26.7% spend on tools and software, while 20% each said that their budget is spent on designing visual content, video production, animation, and interactivity. Stock photos represented 13.3% of the votes.
11. If they could automate one part of creating visual content, what would that be?
We asked marketers how difficult it was to create branded visuals regularly and the average came in at 6.1. We could see why automation was a hot topic among those surveyed.
46.7% of the marketers we surveyed voted for auto-generating multiple types of design, while 20% wished for better auto-resize options when sharing to social media.
13.3% preferred real-time team collaboration automation features, and the same number wanted automation for using consistent branding across visuals. 6.7% of marketers said they didn’t see any need to automate.
Venngage for Business gives marketers a host of features to make their visual content creation more powerful. You can get access to live team collaboration, auto-branding, automatic resizing, as well as priority support when you sign up.
12. How essential is visual content to their marketing strategy?
33.4% of the marketers we surveyed said that visual content was either essential or very important to their strategy. However, 66.7% of respondents said visuals were quite important or somewhat important for their marketing.
13. Which platforms do they create visual content for primarily?
40%, the majority of respondents, primarily design visuals for blog posts. Visuals content creation for Instagram and landing pages represented 20% of votes. 13.3% focused on creating visuals for Facebook while only 6.7% of respondents use visuals for print or branding materials.
Interestingly, none of the British marketers surveyed use visuals on LinkedIn, a marked departure from the results from other countries.
14. How frequently do they publish content that contains visuals each week?
We also wanted to know how much content generated in a week actually contained visuals. 20% said they published visual content between two to five times a week. The same percentage also produced visual content between five and 10 times a week.
26.7% of respondents publish posts more than 10 times a week, and 33.3% create content with visuals less than twice a week.
15. In 2021 and 2022, what percentage of businesses do you think will rely heavily on visual content as part of their marketing strategy?
We rounded off our survey by asking for predictions on visual content marketing in 2021 and further down the line.
The vast majority, a whopping 80%, believe that over 60% of businesses will use visuals in their content marketing.
Only 6.7% of respondents said that between 31-60% of businesses will be using visuals this year and into the next. 13.3% said that less than 30% of businesses will use visual content in their marketing strategy.
16.In the last decade, what were some of the biggest wins for content marketing in general?
We asked the marketers we surveyed to share some insights about the biggest wins they’ve had in content marketing and design in the last decade. Here’s what some of them had to say:
“Time. With more time on their hands, buyers have extended the consideration phase of the customer journey. They’re spending more time reviewing and researching, which has given content marketers greater opportunity to engage them with informative, highly relevant content.”
Partner at Hampson Nattan Williams
“I would say it is the democratization of information, content marketing has changed the way people interact with brands and what they have to say, simply because of its innovative and ever-changing ways of delivering information.”
Content Marketing Manager at Samanta Bullock
“The rise (and rise) of Google and search engines, and the increased focus on creating original, quality content in order to get your business seen.”
Content Marketer at Instructus Skills
“The obvious industry shift has been a general move away from using content marketing as a link-building exercise and, instead, using it more as a value-added PR process.”
CEO at Market Labs
17. What do you think some of the biggest wins for design and visual content were specifically in the last decade?
And finally, we asked British marketers about their biggest for content marketing and design wins in the last 10 years. Here’s what some of them had to say:
“The rise of visual-first channels like Instagram, which allow brands to market key information to large audiences, without the need to make them engage with long-form content.”
Content Marketer at ProfileTree
“Various online tools to design creative video content and inforgraphics.”
“Access to easy to use, powerful design tools means that anyone can now make sophisticated digital content. Companies no longer need to rely on a professional design team and more can be done in house.”
“The emergence of social-friendly infographics. Those done in good taste, while conveying valuable information, have astronomical potential in terms of shares.”
Head of Content at Enterprise Nation
The virtual world has become a far more powerful way to connect brands and customers. That is why visual communication needs to be taken more seriously. Great visuals can set brands up for success and boost their revenue.
Our survey has proven the importance of creating effective visuals regularly. This is a strategic move that brands around the world will be prioritizing in 2021 and through this decade.
Do you have any other marketing insights from the United Kingdom to share about visual content? Have success stories about using visuals in your marketing strategy? We’d love to hear all about it. Leave us a comment and share your visual content story with us.
You can also take a look at the results in our general report as well as in three other countries:
Not a designer? No problem. With Venngage, you can start visualizing your ideas without any design experience.