The key points...
- Infographics remain an essential method of displaying complex information in a way that is simple to understand
- Infographics are great for SEO, as well as being beautiful and engaging pieces of artwork
Everything you need to know about infographics
People are information hungry and time-poor. The desire to keep on top of trends, news, knowledge, facts and figures is prevalent, but sometimes making time to seek out and read entire articles can prove difficult if not impossible.
An infovore — a person who indulges information gathering — has countless ways to indulge: we consume hundreds of different pieces of content every day from social media, printed media, TV and other devices. Infographics can be the ideal way to deliver complex information in a simple, engaging and easy to understand way.
What is an infographic?
As the name suggests, an infographic is a blend of information and graphic. An infographic tells a story by using a visually pleasing combination of graphics, data, thoughtful typography and colour. Many different formats exist and unique infographic styles can be created to work within any brand.
Why are infographics effective?
Infographics are an invaluable way to quickly deliver complex information. Visual information is proven to be more memorable than the written word: people remember around 80% of what they see and what they do, compared with just 20% of what they read. Infographics can play a key role in brand strategy, weaving brand awareness and messaging into targeted social campaigns. Indeed, an infographic is three times more likely to be shared on social media than any other type of content.
At it’s best, an infographic can be a beautiful, engaging piece of artwork, bolstering or even elevating a brand’s position while at the same time creating a social media stir.
How do infographics differ from charts and graphs?
Before looking at the differences between infographics and charts, it’s important to look at the similarities. Both are effective methods of displaying data visually. Indeed charts and graphs often make up parts of an infographic.
So what are the differences? Charts and graphs are effective at efficiently showing numerical data. Little effort needs to be put into their design, with simple bar charts easy to create in spreadsheet programs in seconds.
Infographics on the other hand are designed to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Often they’ll tell a story, targeting a non-expert audience, guiding them through an often complex topic in a streamlined and focused way.
Whilst they incorporate charts and graphs, often these are presented in the simplest way possible. It’s not unusual to see bar graphs with the axis lines removed, or information delivered through the medium of pictograms (small icons which visualise simple data in a compelling way).
When did infographics become popular?
Originally seen as cave paintings, Infographics have existed in one form or another for over 30,000 years. It is unsurprising then that infographics in their current form are still as popular as ever.
From their early days, the infographic has evolved. As displaying data in a visual form has become more popular, so the infographic has adapted. Famous examples include Florence Nightingale’s coxcomb chart; Harry Beck’s London Underground Map; and Peter Sullivan’s information graphics in the Sunday Times.
In the internet age, infographics went from strength to strength, peaking in popularity around 2013. At this point, many companies began churning out numerous infographics of varying quality. Today, our understanding of what makes an infographic effective has increased, as has our understanding of the importance of good design in creating these graphics. Today infographics are effective tools to convey information on social media channels, in annual reports and on pages across the internet.
Are infographics still relevant in 2021?
In a year unlike any other, infographics were used throughout 2020 to convey information about the COVID-19 pandemic in an easy to digest format. Governments around the world and the World Health Organisation all utilised handy infographics to show statistics surrounding the virus and varies measures to combat it.
Unlike those seen about 10 years ago, which were often long, today’s infographics are shorter and frequently split up to fit well on social media platforms, such as Twitter and LinkedIn. They’re increasingly interactive, even taking the form of video.
Due to their effectiveness and flexibility, it’s inevitable that they’ll continue to be popular in 2021 and for years to come.
Are infographics good for SEO?
Yes, infographics are good for your SEO efforts!
By including your brand information, ensuring they’re easy to share and incorporating them across your media, Infographics can generate inbound links, enhance your brand reputation and gain you new followers. Here’s why:
- They’re easy to share - Because of their visual nature, Infographics can easily go viral. With lots of people sharing the content across the web - in blogs or on social media - they can quickly build up a large reach. If shared with a link, that can result in a large number of backlinks to your site, a positive sign to Google that your content is relevant and authoritative, and therefore deserving of a high ranking in search.
- They increase brand awareness - Infographics branded with your company logo and website URL can boost traffic back to your site as well as raising awareness of your brand.
- They are easy to repurpose - One infographic can be used in multiple ways. As a graphic in a blog post, as many individual social media posts, as informative icons on landing pages, as interactive elements in a slideshow, the possibilities are endless...
Infographics have been around for tens of thousands of years and will undoubtedly continue to thrive in the immediate future. At it’s best, an infographic can be a beautiful, engaging piece of artwork, bolstering or even elevating a brand’s position while at the same time creating a social media stir. In short, they’re a vital part of any brand’s content marketing strategy.
Note: This article was originally published in October 2017, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.