What Makes Visual Communication So Effective?

Read Time: 3 minutes

You’ve heard that visual communication is essential to your marketing and messaging strategies. But why does it matter? Here is the science behind visual communication — and the stats that will make you a believer.

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The Science Behind Visual Communication

Humans are visual creatures. Our eyes were designed to continually scan and process the environment, quickly identifying and assessing a vast array of visual information. The eyes shift unconsciously three times per second to take in familiar concepts and assess where to scan next.

A study by MIT neuroscientists identified that the human brain can process images they see for as little as 13 milliseconds. That’s thirteen-thousandths of a second or the equivalent of about 75 images each second. The key to this speed is one-way processing, also known as feedforward processing. This means the communication isn’t reciprocal; the brain doesn’t need to contemplate a response.

In contrast, the brain has to conduct multiple processes to convert text into recognizable concepts. When eyes scan a page of text (like this blog post!), each word is recognized as a picture and associated with a concept from a brain-based visual dictionary

Simultaneously, the brain converts the word to sound and we “hear” the word in our heads. This process is repeated multiple times for each word in a text string and then goes through a separate process of reading comprehension to understand the message that the words are trying to convey in combination

There are multiple brain regions involved in effectively comprehending the written word, and while the exact amount of time it takes for text to navigate the correct neurological pathways and interpret the message varies from person to person, one thing is clear: reading text it’s far slower than the brain’s ability to process visual images.

Visual Processing Statistics

With the visual processing of images such as an innate and efficient human function, it makes sense to target this process to make your marketing and communication efforts most effective. The stats back it up, too. Consider the following: 

The bottom line is this: If you want to grab people’s attention and have them retain your message afterward, you’d better be using visual communication.

Online Visual Communication Platform

Ready to incorporate more visual content into your marketing or internal communication strategies? Powtoon is the all-in-one platform to help you create effective marketing, training, education, or internal comms videos with ease. Professional templates give your final product a polished look, and multiple plan options mean you only pay for what you need. 
Join our 30 million happy users and start creating today. Sign up and see how Powtoon can make a difference in your business!

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Shoshi Davis

Shoshi joined Powtoon as a Marketing Assistant. To read more of her stuff, you can find her content on Upwork and Business 2 Community talking all things inbound marketing for SaaS. After only 2 weeks at Powtoon, Shoshi was dubbed by the marketing team as having the superpower of "Unbridled Enthusiasm." So that was pretty cool.
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