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The Science Behind the Success of Visual Content Marketing

Our brains are wired to love visual content…which is great for marketers

When it comes to marketing, you’ve got a lot of options. But there’s almost always an element of visual content — and for good reason. Discover the ways visual content supercharges your marketing efforts to persuade and inspire.

Read a text-only version at the bottom of the infographic or download the PDF.



The Science Behind the Success of Visual Content Marketing

The human brain interprets visual content unlike any other form of written or spoken information. Marketers that harness this knowledge can “speak the brain’s language” and better capture audience attention, boost comprehension, and improve retention of information.

Audiences want content that is engaging, informative, and easy to digest. As a result, many marketers leverage visually-driven or visually-supported materials and resources to deliver the experiences their audiences want.

90% of marketers say visual content is essential to their marketing strategy1

Popular types of visual content
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Brochures
  • Charts and graphs
  • Presentations
  • Sell sheets
  • Gifographics
  • Memes
  • Social images
  • Visual guides
Why visual content is a popular marketing strategy

According to marketers and creatives, visual content: 

Enables stronger relationships with audiences: 98% agree2

Drives positive perceptions of products and services: #1 impact area3

Helps achieve marketing goals: 86% credit a type of visual content4

According to scientists:

Our brains are wired to love visual content

50% of the brain’s surface is devoted to processing visual information5  

70% of the body’s sensory receptors are in the eyes6

Visual content supercharges a marketing message

High-quality visual content can deliver a trifecta of benefits that persuade and inspire audiences to take action.


“We’re always making the crazy assumption that readers are reading everything we write.”
— William Blundell, author and former news editor at the Wall Street Journal

People only read 20% of the words on a page11

Information overload is real 

  • 4.9 million+ blogs written per day7
  • 1.8 billion+ websites exist8
  • Our brains have to pick and choose what to pay attention to

Visual content has the advantage. Humans process visual content faster and with less effort than non-visual content.

  • 36,000 —visual messages registered per hour 
  • 12,000 — words read per hour10 

Visual content aids in learning

“Visual language has the potential for increasing ‘human bandwidth’ — the capacity to take in, comprehend, and more efficiently synthesize large amounts of new information.”
— Robert E. Horn, author and visual language expert

  • 60% of individuals are visual learners12
  • Text-based instructions with accompanying graphics improve performance by a median amount of 89%13

Visuals are a direct shot to long-term memory

“Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about seven bits of information (plus or minus two) … Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.”
— Dr. Lynell Burmark, visual literacy expert

Visual memory is encoded in the brain in the same place emotions are processed.14 

  • facilitates deeper connections
  • influences memory
  • drives recall

How much information is retained after three days?15 

  • 10% — if spoken content only
  • 65% — if spoken content + a relevant image
Tips for successful visual content marketing
  • Document a strategy
  • Establish brand guidelines
  • Control for consistency
  • Centralize visual assets
  • Leverage tools for efficiency
  • Measure content effectiveness
How DAM can help

DAM or digital asset management is the practice of managing, organizing, and distributing visual content from a central repository. Organizations leverage DAM technology to help them maximize their visual content marketing efforts.

Learn more about how DAM can help at or get in touch to explore solutions for your specific visual content needs.

Let’s talk about visual content

  1. Nadya Khoja, “14 Visual Content Marketing Statistics to Know for 2020,” Venngage, March 11 2020,
  2. Widen, 2020 Widen Connectivity Report, January 2020,
  3. Widen, Connectivity Report.
  4. Nadya Khoja, 14 Visual Content Marketing Statistics.
  5. Elaine Marieb and Katja Hoehn, Human Anatomy & Physiology, 10th ed. (Boston: Pearson, 2016), 548.
  6. Marieb, Human Anatomy. 
  7. “Internet Live Stats,” Real Time Statistics Project, accessed October 1, 2020,
  8. “Internet Live Stats.”
  9. Barbara Wilmes, Lauren Harrington, Patty Kohler-Evans and David Sumpter, “Coming to Our Senses: Incorporating Brain Research Findings Into Classroom Instruction,” Education 128, no. 4 (2008): 659+. Gale Academic OneFile.
  10. “Speed Reading Facts,” ExecuRead, accessed October 1, 2020,
  11. Kate Moran, “How People Read Online: New and Old Findings,” Nielsen Norman Group, April 5, 2020,
  12. Linda Kreger Silverman, “Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual-Spatial Learner,” PEGY, November 24, 2005,
  13. Ruth Colvin Clark and Richard E. Mayer, e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning, 3rd ed. (San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 2011).
  14. Karla Gutierrez, "Studies Confirm the Power of Visuals in eLearning," SHIFT, July 8 2014,
“Brain Rule Rundown,” Brain Rules, accessed October 1, 2020,