With the rise of visual social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, companies are allocating more of their marketing budgets toward producing and distributing visual content.

A new study from Lewis finds that 66% of marketing decision makers predict that their companies will spend more money on visual content in the coming year. Nearly one-third (31%) said they’ll spend the same amount. Just 3% said they’ll spend less.

Lewis interviewed 422 global marketing decision makers in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

Sure, the photos and videos featured on social and in company blogs look nice, but do they really move the needle? They sure do. Lewis found that 81% of marketing managers said they can measure the return-on-investment (ROI) of visual content. Meanwhile, 75% of them are happy with the ROI of the visual content produced.

Respondents said that the most important factors to success are great production quality (66%) and a compelling image (42%.)

When asked why they produce digital content, the top three responses were:

  • 67% want to be more engaging
  • 50% say social media requires it
  • 46% say it evokes emotion

When asked which key performance indicators are most important, respondents said:

  • 69% number of views
  • 50% likes
  • 49% unique viewers

Marketing Dive says the takeaway from Lewis’ research is that “being able to produce quality visual content is vital in maximizing engagement on social media platforms — and essential to reaching audiences on some platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest. Visual content is key for brands telling their stories in today’s social media landscape, especially given the fast rise of video messaging platform Snapchat and Facebook’s aggressive push into video and live streaming.”

Ok you’re convinced about the importance of visual content. How do you implement a winning strategy? Learn how with our guide The Complete Guide to Visual Commerce: How to Command Attention in a Content-Driven World.

Curious about how a big brand is using its visual content? Check out this story about Urban Outfitters, which boosted click-through rates by harnessing the power of user-generated content.