The Future of Visual Storytelling in Digital Marketing

The Future of Visual Storytelling in Digital Marketing
As visuals are more effective than plain text to inspire user action, visual storytelling can be a life saver in digital marketing.
Akshay Kulkarni
Last Updated: Sep 12, 2020
From 41000 B.C.when our great, great ancestors started painting rough figures of wild animals on the walls of caves, to 1826when the world’s first photograph was created, until nowwhen hyperreal mediums like VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) are ruling over the digital world, visual storytelling has always been a part of human interaction.
The inclusion of visual storytelling in marketing is inevitable, as visuals are more effective than text at evoking emotion and inspiring users to take action. When presenting a product/service, instead of telling, if you can show users how it works and benefits them, they’ll be more invested in your product/service and more likely to buy it.
Videos as a format has been the pioneer of visual storytelling. Videos have been used as a visual storytelling medium in a marketing strategy since ages now. Started from the broadcasting media through Television Advertisements, now they’ve aptly adapted and conquered the digital media through channels like online ads, live videos, video podcasts, vlogs, etc.

The inception of YouTube in 2005 opened a whole wide spectrum of opportunities for marketers to include videos as a part of their marketing and advertising campaign. Once image-focused social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram adapting videos as content was also a milestone, they garnered the much needed younger demographics towards the medium.

Although videos as a storytelling medium has been present for a long time now, they aren’t going to slow down. According to Cisco, 82% of consumer traffic will be video by 2021. Also, YouTube has over 1.9 billion logged-in users each month and Facebook alone generates more than 8 billion daily video views. So, the use of videos as a visual storytelling medium in digital marketing is growing by leaps and bounds and it’s sure to expand further.
AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality)
Storytelling by VR provides immersive user experiences by taking the user to a different reality through a set of tools like VR headset and controllers. Marketers use VR technology to provide 360o videos, virtual walk-throughs and hands on experiences of their products/services.

With AR, marketers can place a computer-generated image on a physical, real-world environment which provides the user a mixed/composite view. This technology has been successfully harnessed by Snapchat through Snapchat Lenses, and by Niantic through their world-famous game Pokemon Go.

As per Statista, the augmented and virtual reality market prediction by 2025, the worldwide user base of AR and VR games is expected to grow to 216 million users and will be worth 11.6 billion U.S. dollars. Marketers need to get on this reality storytelling trend and incorporate these mediums wherever applicable.
Stories Format
Fast Loading AMP Stories
Snapchat kicked off the Stories trend in 2013 with Snapchat Stories, and it proved to be quite a success. After seeing the Stories’ potential, Instagram and Facebook also implemented Stories on their platform as Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories in 2016 and 2017, respectively. In February 2018, Google introduced AMP Stories (now known as Web Stories), its take on the Stories trend.

The social media Stories lets marketers use rich media like images, videos, and graphics to enhance their visual storytelling, that too, with minimum resources - basically a smart phone with camera. This allows marketers to capture users’ attention and keep them enthralled for a longer duration with a more interactive and engaging format.

However, Web Stories are a whole different ball game. These Stories are a step up from the social media Stories. Along with donning all the aesthetical elements of their contenders, Web Stories are shareable and crawlable too. Furthermore, they are part of Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) project, which makes them load at lightning speed while providing full-screen, tap-through, and immersive experiences. To create Web Stories, marketers can use Visual Stories’ one-of-a-kind Web Story Builder. Its smooth workflow and intuitive interface makes the creation of Web Stories a cakewalk.

Instagram is leading the Stories daily active user count with 500 million. Facebook is at 150 million as of now and Snapchat just reached 191 million. While Google is yet to reveal the user count of Web Stories, the Stories format as a whole has garnered a user base of around 1 billion.