For the longest time we have heard the value of pictures (“worth a thousand words”). As a management consultant, we at iProceed try to use as many as visuals as we can – people find it easy to grasp a concept when it is visually presented. We find this to be true even with highly-educated, senior-level executives. My experience with helping companies develop an online media strategy tells me that an average person enjoys an image even more. You can write 10 pages of text to demonstrate how to do a yoga asana but a handful of pictures will not only do a better job, your reader is more likely to give it a try.
While almost everyone understands the value of images (and they have been used very effectively in books, magazines, videos, etc.), they were not so popular on the web. The reason was simple – search engines have traditionally done a terrible job of indexing images and delivering good results though they have gotten much better over the years. But now things have changed, with the increasing popularity of tags and websites like Flickr that allow image searches by keyword and deliver good results.
The impact is being seen in two different ways:
- The explosive growth in camera phones. The chart below shows the growth rate during last 3 years. As can be seen, the growth in camera phones has been remarkable. While it has leveled off for digital cameras, the late 90s show enormous growth in this category.
- Photo related websites are growing rapidly. These websites range all the way from those that merely allow you to store your photo album online to those like Flickr that are redefining how to search the web. At the same time, photo sharing has become one of the latest tools for community-building.
What does it mean for you?
- While the trend is transitory (before videos eventually replace both text and images), there are enormous new business opportunities emerging in targeting consumers so that they can manage their photo albums. A business model based on advertising works well.
- If you are a content publisher, leverage the power of images. If something can be said through pictures, use them. For instance, take a look at the chart above. It has been saved as a picture and because of proper tagging, it will be found by a surfer seeking global sales data on camera phones and digital cameras. Similarly include multiple photos of your products and let your visitors get to know your product better before purchasing it.
- Provide photos for use by others on your website. Online publishers and bloggers are now actively looking for pictures of products, executives, users, etc. and if you provide those photos for download, your product is more likely to be seen by others. Create a separate section on your website for downloads and let your surfers freely use these images. The picture below has been included on this page because both Motorola and Kodak are smart enough to make them available.
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