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There is only one simple solution that gives digital magazines unlimited opportunities to attract readers and engage them to such an extent they come back. It’s called multimedia.

If you think about it, publishers have always tried offering more than just plain text in their publications.

Let’s go back to the days of publishing broadsheet newspapers when the common practice for editors was to enlist artists to sketch and report on news events. That was a profession! Soon after, technological development brought a revolution in photography and newspapers began to feature pictures routinely — initially in black and white, later, in color, causing a bit of a sensation.

Today, probably no one can imagine printed magazines and newspapers without photographs or other graphic forms inside.

The same process took place in digital publications. Here we also had to deal with transitioning from a wall of plain text displayed on screens to diversification with various graphical ways of presenting information, depending on the current state of technological development.

Taking this into account, the question arises — what is it about photos and images that make publishers want to include them in their publications?

In the blink of an eye

Let’s do a quick experiment. Look at these two ways of presenting the same fragment of an article. Which one attracts you more to start reading?

The same fragment of PressPad’s article with and without an image

We guess that’s the one on the left side, right? This shows nothing more than the enormous power of the image. However, it isn’t just a coincidence or the fact that a page with a colorful fragment stands out. Images are superior to text for us because of… our bodies. To be more precise, because of our brains.

According to the International Forum of Visual Practitioners:

  • The human brain loves pictures. It is designed to take in, transmit, and process information thanks to images.
  • That’s why people respond to and process visual data better than any other type of data. 
  • The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.

Simply speaking, images are better than text because reading is rather inefficient for us. What else can be good about adding a photo to a publication?

  • It catches the readers’ eye, causing people to reach for the title eagerly.
  • Readers keep longer with the article.
  • Photo informs, educates, and entertains the public, as well as, causes and/or warms up emotions.
  • The order of publication consumption is changed (the photo becomes more meaningful than the title).
  • It has an advantage over the competition and attracts advertisers.
  • Visuals fulfill the marketing role by influencing the selling process.

These benefits have stayed the same from the black-and-white press times. The point is, along with the publishing reality changes, the consumer behavior of readers has also changed. This means that adding a photo to a digital text may not be enough to tempt someone to make a purchase and stay with the text for a longer period of time.

Different readers, different attractions

Some time ago, certain research results conquered the Internet. They stated that the human current attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to 8.25 seconds in the last two decades, which means that now it’s similar to a goldfish’s and shorter than a squirrel’s.

What does it have in common with the publishing industry? Even if it sounds brutal to some, here’s the truth — we used to be more willing to spend more time with the text, enjoy the words, and reflect on them. Back in time, photos played the role of a magnetic, attractive, and encouraging element. Today, adding colorful images, even if they are catchy, is not enough to catch and keep readers with the digital publication.

Of course, elements such as strong headlines, short form, and personalizing topics are really important. Well, headlines are the first thing people see, while the rest should be easy to scan. It would be wonderful if they find something relevant to them written in a language they can relate to.

But all of these elements are related only to static content, which is no longer sufficient to captivate audiences, especially in times when attention spans dwindle and competition escalates. Something more is needed for readers, who get bored quickly and need new experiences on and on.

Multimedia content is the king

Of course, it doesn’t mean online publishers should stop adding photos to their publications. They still play many important roles. The thing is, the online publishers’ offer should be extended to include forms such as:

  • high-quality images and photographs,
  • video and footage,
  • audio existing on its own or with video media,
  • infographics with hover-over effects and clickable buttons, 
  • animations or small-scale animations like GIFs,
  • slideshows or image carousels,
  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR),
  • interactive maps,
  • charts, graphs, quizzes, and polls,
  • cross-referencing and hyperlinks.
Interactivity is the best feature of modern digital magazines

— Should I add such multimedia solutions to my digital publication? — you may ask.

The answer to your question is “yes” and it is caused by the generation exchange, change in readers’ behavior, massive competition, and technological possibilities which it would be a pity not to use.   

If you’re still not convinced, take a look at the below list of benefits.

Boosting readers’ engagement

Why is engagement so important? When a reader opens your publication, the goal is for them to spend as much time with it as possible. Perhaps, in the meantime, something will encourage them to take some additional action (e.g. purchase). Such a factor will be a value to advertisers. However, if nothing engages them after entering, the chances to leave the site quickly increase.

Multimedia content:

  • has a unique ability to attract and retain readers’ attention. 
  • can deliver a stronger and more engaging message than standard text, 
  • is a great way to break up text and make content more engaging
  • tells a story, keeps people interested, and encourages them to come back for more.
  • encourages users to interact with interactive content rather than with text alone.

Raising the level of understanding

Do you know that feeling when you read about something complicated and you don’t understand what’s going on here? This is why pictures and schemes are added to written operating instructions.

  • Images and videos can explain complex topics. It will be easier for recipients to understand the presented content.
  • Some concepts are best conveyed through dynamic narrative. Multimedia allows the presentation of complex ideas, processes, or products in a visually appealing way. 
  • It makes complex information understandable and memorable for audiences.

You don’t have to present a video about how the rocket is built. Sometimes even seemingly simple processes are much better understood with the help of animation or video.

Presenting products and services in a way they deserve

The same applies to the products and services you offer. A customer who wants to make a purchase goes through a very long shopping path, and the decision-making process is long and complicated. It will be much easier for them to accept it if they know exactly what you are offering.

Multimedia content is an invaluable way to present products or services from various fields. Videos, product demonstrations, testimonials, or virtual tours can help potential customers gain a deeper understanding of the offer and, as a result, make a positive purchasing decision.

Improving SEO and visibility

For every person publishing content on the Internet, SEO is repeated like a mantra. 

It’s not a secret that search engines value multimedia content. A lot. Adding video and multimedia elements to the digital designs can easily yet effectively improve SEO efforts: it will be more likely to appear on the first page of search results, visibility will increase, and organic traffic will be attracted. To achieve full success here, remember to track key metrics such as engagement, reach, and conversion rates, and to adapt strategies accordingly.

Enriching experience for demanding user

Encouraging users to engage with your content is not only about the length of time they spend with it, but also about its quality. Nothing will make someone come back to your content like the feeling that something cool happened there.

In today’s crowded and competitive digital landscape, user experience has to be seamless and their journey interactive and engaging. Good quality and professional multimedia enhances the overall usability and appearance of a digital magazine.

Influencing social media

The multimedia you use to decorate your digital magazine can have another great use. They are a great marketing tool that can (and even should) be used on social media channels. They are created for such content and act as powerful catalysts for social media engagement.

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn love visually appealing content. Thanks to them multimedia can quickly become a catchy trend which reaches audiences and followers really fast. When users come across dynamic content while scrolling, they are more willing to share it within their social networks. The social media promotion of your digital magazine is self-generated without your participation.

Bunch of good tips working everywhere

If you decide to add multimedia content to your magazine (which is always a good idea!), consider the following few good practices thanks to which you will ensure even better results:

  • Use only high-resolution images and high-quality videos to captivate your audience, ensure a perfect user experience, and convey professionalism.
  • Choose only such multimedia elements which align with your magazine’s topic and the message you want to deliver. By the way, don’t overdo the multimedia.
  • Take care of maintaining a consistent visual identity across all your multimedia elements. Let the colors, fonts, and style be consistent.
  • Add subtitles to your videos. Sometimes people want to or have to watch them without turning on the sound.
  • Ensure that multimedia elements included in text pages are responsive and display properly on various devices and screen sizes. If not, forget users spend time on it.
  • Optimize all of your multimedia elements by using relevant keywords in file names, alternative text, and descriptions. 
  • Include social sharing buttons within your multimedia content to encourage your audience to share it on their social media platforms thanks to one click. Give your content a chance to expand its reach.
  • Present complex information or data in an easy-to-understand and visually engaging format and try to explain it as easily as it’s possible.

Use your power, use multimedia

Multimedia content has become an essential part of digital magazines. It can effectively help with enhancing readers’ engagement, increasing website traffic, and improving SEO. What is at the end of this road? 

Increasing sales of your digital magazine. That’s the effort which is really worth it.