The Science behind Infographics – and why they work

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As they often say in the States, “follow the money”, and in the case of infographic usage, B2B companies in the USA have certainly voted with their wallets – according to the Content Marketing Institute’s annual survey, infographics were the fastest-growing digital marketing tactic in 2015, with 62% of B2B marketers using it (in 2014, 50% used infographics).

But are they doing the right thing? Where’s the data to justify investing (albeit we do not charge a lot for excellent quality) in this medium?  Right here.

Proof Positive

Xerox collated a range of scientific research and it adds up to a powerful argument. For example:

  1. Infographics are always colourful: and colour increases the reader’s attention span and recall by a massive 82%
  1. It also improves comprehension by 78%
  1. And readership rises by 80% when you introduce colour

Sadly for me as a writer of articles like this, on average people read and retain only 20% of what they see. You can improve on this with killer copy, but there is only so much you can do without the aid of graphics. Because when you dial in added graphics, and people see them almost instantaneously then share them with others, they retain 80% of the information.

So the simple formula is:

Graphics + Copy = Results.

There is one particular usage of infographics – in instructional material – and in this type of communication, research shows that adding graphical material improves peoples’ performance by 323%.

If you doubt the power of visuals, look at the rapid rise of Instagram – which led to its very expensive acquisition by Facebook (seeing the writing on the wall, and the accompanying graffiti, no doubt) as well as Pinterest and Vine. Images appeal, and especially to the Millennials. As the baby boomers are retiring, so this generation is taking over the business sector – and look at what they were raised on:

  • Comics and graphic novels
  • Colour-rich newspapers and magazines
  • Broadband internet, that put graphical imagery online

Little wonder that they like to consume their information in pre-digested, graphic chunks. By comparison, the Telegraph (itself struggling to come to terms with the digital age) reports that back in 1986 we tried to process only 5% of the information that we do now. We need help to make sense of it all.

Play Nicely and Share

That is what we have always told our children: and as adults, it has never been easier for us to share things we like and find useful, via social media. Sometimes we will share a thoughtful or entertaining article – but much more often, we will share a well-worked infographic that sums up important data on a subject that is of mutual interest.

Let’s say that graphic was created on your organisation’s behalf – now your message and imprint are being spread widely, and your status within the market is enhanced. There are also SEO benefits, and visits to your site are likely to increase.

Does it work? Well in one Bit Rebels study of 500 items that appeared on Twitter, traditional blogs averaged 62 retweets, while those posted as infographics averaged 578 retweets. Twitter can be characterised as the most newsy, short attention span medium and as such it lends itself perfectly to this form of communication.

Time to Choose

If none of the above data and arguments have yet swayed you then ask yourself this – have you been more immediately engaged by this article, or by the accompanying infographic that deliberately repeats the key information? And which would you be more likely to share with colleagues or business partners?


And that is why Hannon Digital in London offers you the best in the two media that catch the eye and create a response: infographics and explainer videos. Let’s talk – and let’s show you our infographic portfolio…