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Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum

President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization, Infographic Design, Visual Thinking, Product Development and Marketing professional fascinated by good infographics.  Always looking for better ways to get the point across.

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Wednesday
Feb252015

Five Innovative Ways Companies Are Using Infographics to Share Data

The popularity of turning data into visuals has skyrocketed in recent years. Especially the keyword “infographic,” as evidenced through Google Trends. This has sent capable marketers scrambling for a competent team of: designers, copywriters, and producers to create new and exciting content. While charts and graphs are nothing new, the way they are displayed visually (and the stories they can tell), is expanding into uncharted waters.

via: Google Trends - “Infographic”

Infographics and data visualizations were once the playthings of academics. Beautiful displays of information were created and tucked away in their ivory towers of academia. Those days are now long over, and the power of data combined with visual information has been passed on to the masses.

For a while, it seemed nearly everyone under the sun was creating infographics. This resulted in an over-saturation of infographics online, with marketers cranking them out as fast as possible. Complete with often poor designs, and misleading data.

While this over-saturation did hurt the online marketing reputation of infographics slightly, their growth in online popularity did not. This online exposure and awareness of infographics has driven a significant increase in the use of infographics inside companies as well.

To help clear the air, check out these six examples below for how companies are coming up with innovative ways to use infographics.  

 

1. Hotels.com: PR Infographics

Traveling and flying to new cities can be equal parts exciting and terrifying. This infographic from Hotels.com, provides travelers with valuable insights they should know before arriving in major cities around the world. This infographic is great because it gives their customers valuable information (and saves a bit of decision-making time) to make their transition from the sky to the city that much smoother.

Another great thing about these infographics is that they are specifically targeting the press with their proprietary internal data. This builds their credibility by sharing their expertise and valuable insight into the hotel industry. They’re not just telling the press, they’re showing them the data visually as well.

 

 

2. Wine Folly: Food and Wine Pairing

This infographic from Wine Folly looks at all the different taste profiles, such as sweet and sour, to create the perfect food and wine pairings. The great thing about this infographic is its online life span - which can easily last for many years. Twenty years from now, the information will still be the same, and the design will still be relevant to readers.

Online lifespan can make a huge difference to the ongoing SEO value of any infographic, and should be an integral part of the topic selection process.

 

3. SumAll: The Internet is a Zoo - The Ideal Length of Everything Online

This infographic from SumAll looks at something we all struggle with: our attention spans. How many characters long should a Facebook post be? What is the ideal subject line length? How many words should a blog post be so that it actually gets read? All the answers to your burning questions are here in one place. 

What makes this graphic so good is that these observations apply to all social media audiences, no matter what industry they come from. It’s a valuable topic for marketers in any industry.

 

4. Warby Parker Annual Report

The annual report is getting a strong makeover thanks to innovative companies like Warby Parker. The annual report used to be a non-event. Everyone made an annual report, and they all basically looked and felt the same; i.e. lots of words, mixed in with some charts and graphs. Warby Parker really hit the mark with their 2013 Annual Report

In an article on Business Insider, they explain how Warby Parker’s previous two annual reports fit into it’s quirky brand, but the 2013 annual report is it’s most ambitious. It may seem like it has plenty of meaningless information, but it’s a smart business move. Because amidst all of the meaningless information, you begin to realize that it’s not actually an annual report at all, but a giant advertisement intended to become viral. This resulted in some of their biggest sales days.

Seeing as how every business loves talking about itself on social media, it’s surprising it has taken this long for the annual report to become relevant again.

 

5. MHPM Corporate Sustainability Report

This infographic from MHPM examines the creation of a sustainably built environment, project by project. More and more, sustainability matters to clients, employees and the communities they all live and work in. With the right practices in place, a sustainable building is worth more (and costs less to operate) than traditional buildings, helping to make them an attractive choice versus competitors.

This new application of infographics lets MHPH tell their own story in a visually appealing way. By providing the numbers behind their commitment to keeping their projects green, MHPM has not only helped prove their own claim that Sustainability is Free™, but they also share how they can help their customers.

As we have seen over recent years, infographics have continued to grow in popularity. Giving rise to a new Internet, continually heading in the direction of displaying more advanced, and beautiful ways to visualize information. What are some other creative uses of infographics you have seen lately?

Tuesday
May132014

Marketing FAIL: Infographics Hidden Behind Registration Walls

There’s a growing marketing practice that I think is a huge marketing mistake. I’ve seen a number of infographics being published by companies that require the reader to enter their name, email address and other contact information before they can even view the design. This “registration wall” is a way for marketers to gather the contact information from the readers so they can send out additional marketing emails later. In my opinion, publishing an infographic behind a registration wall just doesn’t make any sense.

Here’s an example of what you might see on one of these registration wall pages:

Infographics Registration Wall Fail Example

I completely understand putting valuable content behind a registration wall as a method to capture the contact information from potential leads. I get it.  Assuming the hidden content is closely related to the company’s business, the audience interested in that content is likely to represent a pool of potential customers. If they’re willing to give up their valuable email address to gain access to that content, they are probably a fairly strong potential customer (or a competitor checking out your valuable content!).

However, infographics are the wrong type of content to use for this purpose. The companies I see that are hiding infographics behind registration walls are missing the benefit of infographics, which is to deliver easy to understand information to the audience in a format that’s also easy to share because it’s completely contained within the image file.

First, online infographics are meant to be shared. Infographics are popular online for two reasons, easy to understand information and easy to share. Much easier than text articles or blog posts. As soon as one reader shares the hidden infographic image file on their blog or posts it in social media, the infographic is released to the public and available to everyone without registering. Even if you ask people not to share it publicly, the accepted practice online is to freely share infographics.

Second, the research commissioned by Janrain from 2012 indicates that 86% of people may leave a website when asked to create an account. Most of the audience will just leave instead of going through with the registration process to gain access to the infographic. They never see the infographic, never read the data and never hear the message. 

Lost Infographic Audience

Third, the search engines can’t see past the registration wall. No keywords, no meta-data, no text. The search engines can’t index the content behind the registration wall, so your infographic won’t show up in search results. Only the short, publicly accessible teaser information on the registration page has any chance of being indexed to appear in results.

Here’s what I recommend. Use a compelling infographic as a top level summary of the more detailed content you put behind the registration wall. All of the people that share your infographic, are effectively advertising your more detailed information. You could even make the infographic landing page on your website also the registration page to get more information.  

This way the infographics are available publicly to view and share, and the free content draws in readers to the registration page. The truly interested readers will also give you their contact information to gain access to the more-detailed report or white paper that you have available behind the registration wall.  Now you have built your brand credibility with a widely shared infographic, and you have gathered a pool of potentially valuable leads.

For more statistics and information about registration walls, check out The Registration Challenge infographic from Janrain:

The Registration Challenge infographic

How to Solve the Online Registration Challenge infographic published by Janrain in 2012.

How often have you become frustrated filling out online registration forms? There is a better way. Janrain has compiled data on some of the most challenging aspects of online registration forms and simple solutions to improve the user experience…and conversion rates.