How infographics can influence your investors
Digital communication is allowing companies to deliver messaging to stakeholders faster and easier than ever before. But sometimes that messaging can be lost in translation, especially when trying to communicate large sums and financial figures. Perhaps surprisingly, one of the most influential tools available to IR and communications teams today is one of the simplest. The humble infographic is a visual interpretation of data that can be easily and quickly absorbed by the reader.
While it is still crucial to provide written reports with a high level of detail that only words and numbers can provide, accompanying that information with an easy-to-read infographic provides the reader with an accurate visual representation of the overall message. Quite literally, infographics deliver the bigger picture, as it does for ALE Property Group’s Interactive Property Portfolio website.
This becomes particularly important when delivering messages digitally, be it on a website, email or social media, where the reader is more likely to scroll quickly through the data and engage in skim reading and scanning.
If the reader is faced with large chunks of data, they’re less likely to absorb the information, and more worryingly, more likely to misinterpret it. We know even a single Tweet has the ability to influence share prices, so there is no room for error when it comes to publishing company data.
Whether you’re broadcasting quarterly earnings, reporting on the company’s latest ESG initiatives or developing an interactive corporate report like Westfield – infographics can help IR and communications teams streamline and strengthen company messaging.
How effective are infographics really?
So we know seeing an infographic can help your reader understand your message.
But just how effective are they?
People following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations.
Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered the brain can identify images seen for just 13 milliseconds, nearly eight times faster than previously thought.
Eye-tracking studies have also been used to understand the reading behaviour of internet users. The results show that when images are relevant to the text, readers spend more time looking at images than reading text on the page.
HubSpot’s 2017 Marketing Statistics show us that visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared on social media, and more specifically, infographics are three times more likely to be liked and shared on social media than any other type of content.
When it comes to online reading, articles with an image once every 75 to 100 words had double the number of social shares, compared to those with fewer images.
And it’s not just about reading. Researchers have found that most people will only remember 10% of audible information three days after they hear it. But if a relevant image is provided at the same time as an audio presentation, people retain 65% of the information three days later.
Why infographics are ideal for investors
Investors and stakeholders want detailed, accurate and timely information, making infographics the perfect platform for communicating company data – especially if you have a lot of it like Testra.
Companies are already making use of visuals to capture the attention of their readers, with studies revealing 74% of marketers use visual assets in social media marketing alone.
Infographics have had the biggest increase in usage among B2B marketers in the last four years – now at 65%.
Simply adding colour elements to a document can increase readership by 80%, which is critical when you’re aiming to engage investors and stakeholders with corporate communications.
Adding professionally designed infographics to corporate communications can also add more authority to the information. The Wharton School of Business analysed the audience responses to two presentations, one with visual imagery, and one without. The researchers found 67% of the audience was convinced by the presentation accompanied with visuals, compared to just 50% for a purely verbal presentation.
In the introduction to his book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (2001), Edward R. Tufte wrote:
“Modern data graphics can do much more than simply substitute for small statistical tables. At their best, graphics are instruments for reasoning about quantitative information. Often the most effective way to describe, explore and summarize a set of numbers — even a very large set — is to look at pictures of those numbers. Furthermore, of all methods for analyzing and communicating statistical information, well-designed data graphics are usually the simplest and at the same time the most powerful.” (Tufte ER, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2001).
How to make the most of infographics
While it might seem a simple tactic to use in marketing and communication, it’s important to first consider why you’re using infographics, and how best to integrate them.
Why are you using an infographic? Is it to illustrate a particular set of figures? Demonstrating a new operational structure or process? Perhaps an extensive infographic providing a comprehensive overview of a report? Identify and clarify the purpose and objective to guide the content of the infographic and keep the messaging strong.
- Who is the infographic for? Are you targeting investors, all stakeholders, or is it for an internal-use document? Think about the audience, what they want to see, and what you want them to know.
- Where will the infographic be seen? Is this for a printed document, social media, or an online document like an interactive annual report or an Investor Day presentation? Digital infographics can also be made interactive, so consider where and how the infographic will be seen before the design stage to maximise its potential.
- Test the infographic. Ask team members who are seeing the data for the first time to take a look at the infographic, and tell you what it says. When you’re close to a subject, it can be difficult to know if your infographic tells the story you want it to. Test, test and test again to make sure the messaging is accurate and clear.
- Create a multi-use infographic. Like all effective content, the best infographics can be used more than once. Designing an infographic that can be used again, either by your company or as a hyperlinked reference shared by other sources, generates greater positive exposure for your company.