Marketers have noticed a very clear impact that the pandemic has had on the way they work and interact with customers. Now, we have the numbers to back up marketers’ intuition.
Every year, Venngage conducts a study of how marketers use visual content to reach consumers. Our visual content marketing statistics show how visual communication has come to the fore and how the landscape is set to change.
This year, we surveyed 200 marketers around the globe (with some help from Typeform) to learn how they’ve incorporated visual content as part of the marketing plan and strategies, what impacts the pandemic has had on their visual strategy and their predictions for the future.
We were also able to segment our reports according to the countries the marketers were focused on. This post features insights into the Canadian market. You can find highlights from the general report and other countries by clicking the links below:
We spoke to marketers in Canada about their visual content marketing strategy in 2020 and how they believe that’s going to change in 2021 and the next decade. The impact of the pandemic was unmistakable and quite a few responses addressed it.
We collected the results and have showcased the data in this easy-to-read infographic. The marketing experts we interviewed also shared some insights that you can read in this post.
Visual Content Marketing Statistics to Know for 2021
Why is visual content marketing necessary in the Canadian landscape? There is so much content available that brands are struggling to get noticed.
To stand out from the crowd, brands need to get creative with how they present their messaging. The best way to do that has been by using visual content.
As we see from the takeaways from our survey, content marketers are adapting to using more visual content in their strategy. We also see how the pandemic has changed their view of visual content and the kind of tools they’ve been using to create content.
1. Did you pivot your visual content marketing strategy in 2020 based on the pandemic?
There was a direct effect of the pandemic on marketers’ business communication strategies. 61.9% of Canadian respondents said the pandemic impacted their content strategy while 38.1% said they were unaffected.
2. On a scale of 1-10, how much did you change your visual marketing strategy due to the pandemic?
When asked how much their visual marketing strategy had had to change because of the pandemic, most Canadian marketers said there was some amount of change in 2020.
The responses primarily landed in the middle category, between five and eight out of 10, and averaged at 6.7. Marketers in Canada clearly had to adapt their visual content marketing strategy last year.
3. What kind of visuals did you use most frequently?
In 2020, 52.4% of Canadian content marketers surveyed said 91-100% of their content incorporates visuals of some kind.
33.3% of respondents said they use visuals in 71-90% of their content. 4.8% include visuals in 61-70% of their content, which was the same percentage who use visuals in 21-30% of their content marketing.
With such a large number of marketers using visuals, we were curious to learn what type of visuals were most used.
The majority of Canadian marketers surveyed said that they use original graphics, such as infographics and illustrations, more frequently. This was the response from 42.9% of those surveyed.
38.1% said they use stock photos, while charts and data visualizations were used by 9.5% of respondents. Data visualizations were an important way to convey complex data in 2020, so it wasn’t surprising to see it on this list.
9.5% of respondents reported to use videos and presentations in their content. Multi-page documents, however, received no votes from Canadian marketers, which was a marked difference from the data we learned from the other countries we surveyed.
4. Which type of visuals helped you reach your marketing goals in 2020?
As a follow-up to the previous question, we wanted to know if the visuals used actually helped marketers reach their marketing goals.
Original graphics had come out on top for the previous question, and 52% of respondents said infographics and illustrations were indeed the most effective.
Coming up next is videos and presentations, with 14.3% of respondents voting for them.
Charts and data visualizations, stock photos, and multi-page documents had extremely varied numbers in the previous question but were found to have the same kind of effectiveness. They each received 9.5% of the votes from Canadian marketers.
5. Which type of visuals did not help you meet your marketing goals?
Stock photos have been showing diminishing returns over the years, and they were said to be the least effective in reaching marketing goals in 2020. They received 28.6% of the votes.
Multi-page documents (23.8%) and GIFs/memes (19%) came in second and third respectively as the less effective types of visuals.
Original graphics have been shown to be impactful visual types and only received 14.3% of the votes for this question.
Charts and data visualizations have also been effective for reaching goals, so only 9.5% of respondents voted for them. Videos and presentations earned a few votes in the previous question, so it rounded off the category with less than 5% of votes here.
6. How much time did you spend each week producing visual content?
38.1% of Canadian marketers in 2020 said they spend less than five hours a week producing visuals. 28.6% spend 5-10 hours creating visual content. Finally, 33.3% spent between 10 hours to over 20 hours creating visual content for their marketing campaigns.
7. What tools did you typically use to create the visual content?
This question has had varied responses across the world. For Canadian marketers, the go-to has been online solutions or using in-house designers, with 38.1% of respondents voting for each option.
14.3% use advanced design software to create visual content, while only 9.6% used freelance designers to create visuals in 2020.
8. What was your biggest struggle when it comes to producing engaging visual content?
Visual content creation comes with its challenges, as one can see from the previous question, so we ask our respondents to share their biggest struggles and roadblocks.
In our previous survey, 43% of marketers said they consistently struggled to produce visuals regularly. That seems to be the case for Canadian marketers in 2020 as well, as 42.9% of respondents said they had the same issue.
The rest of the options, finding the right layout to show data and statistics, creating great designs, and sourcing data and statistics, all earned 19% each of the votes.
9. What percent of your budget was spent on visual content in 2020? And how will that change in 2021?
Visual content creation is massively aided by the backing of a marketing budget. We wanted to know how much of the pot marketers could dip into in 2020.
4.8% of Canadian marketers said that they can spend less than 10% of their marketing budget on visuals, while 14.3% spent 11-20% of their budget on visuals.
23.8% have access to 21-30% of the budget for visual content, and the same number could use 50% of their marketing spend on visual content marketing.
The spread in this category was extensive so we also asked for marketers’ predictions for the future.
33.3% believe that their marketing spend will increase to 21-30%, followed closely by 23.8% saying their budgets would go as high as the 71-80% category.
Only 4.8% think their budgets for visual content creation will be less than 10% in 2021.
10. What do you spend the most on for visual content?
Since a fair amount of money is being spent on visual content creation, we asked marketers what areas is the marketing spend going towards.
38.1% of Canadian marketers said their budgets were spent on tools and software. For 23.8%, it was designing visual content and video production. Animation and interactivity represented 14.3% of the votes while stock photos didn’t even rank for this question.
11. If you could automate one part of creating visual content, what would that be?
As a preface for this question, we asked marketers to rank a scale for difficulty when it came to producing branded visuals consistently. The responses averaged 5.6.
There is a clear need for automation that will make visual production faster and more effective. It wasn’t surprising that auto-generating multiple design types was the top choice for Canadian marketers, with 28.6% selecting this option.
23.8% of respondents wanted more auto-resize options to share visuals on social media, and the same number voted for real-time team collaboration and better automation for applying branding across marketing visuals.
Marketers can use Venngage for Business to access a variety of convenient features including live team collaboration, auto-branding, automatic visual resizing, along with priority support.
12. How essential is visual content to your marketing strategy?
The vast majority of Canadian marketers said that visual content is a major factor in their marketing strategy. 85.7% said that visuals were either essential or very important.
Only 14.3% of respondents said that visuals were quite important or somewhat important for their marketing, with none of the respondents saying they didn’t need visuals at all.
13. Which platforms do you create visual content for primarily?
When asked about the platforms they use visual content for, we’ve seen a definite pivot towards social media across all countries.
In Canada, 23.8% of marketers still create visuals primarily for blog posts and for Facebook. Visuals for Instagram and LinkedIn represented 19%. Only 9.5% of respondents use visuals for print or branding materials and 4.8% for landing pages, a much lower number than in any other country.
14. How frequently do you publish content that contains visuals each week?
We also wanted to know how often Canadian marketers publish visual content in a week. 38.1% said they publish visual content between two to five times a week. 28.6% published even more visual content, between five and 10 times a week.
19% of respondents published visual content more than 10 times a week, and 14.3% published posts with visuals less than twice a week.
15. In 2021 and 2022, what percentage of businesses do you think will rely heavily on visual content as part of their marketing strategy?
To close our survey, we asked marketers in Canada to share their predictions on visual content marketing for 2021. The majority, 76%, believe that over 60% of businesses will rely heavily on visuals this year.
14.3% of respondents said that between 31-60% of businesses will use visuals in the near future. Only 9.5% said that less than 30% of businesses will use visual content in their marketing strategy.
16. In the last decade, what were some of the biggest wins for content marketing in general?
We also wanted to know what insights the marketers surveyed had about content marketing and design over the last decade. Here’s what some of them had to say:
“Realizing that providing useful information is valuable not only to users but to search engines as well. People will read long-form content if it’s useful to them so the job of content marketers isn’t to TikTok everything with short snippets, it’s to make the content engaging.”
Social Media Manager at Bunking
“Auto-generated video captions on Facebook and other platforms was a game-changer. We all know how many people scroll through social media while doing other things, and a lot of the time have our phones on silent. This allows viewers to still be engaged with the video and get the message across without worrying about whether or not their sound is turned on.”
“Video and IG reels. They are the most engaging types of content out there and the most impactful for the social media algorithm keeping people on your page/ content longer helping to boost performance and visibility.”
“The ability of search engines to assess what “quality content” is has been a major win for content marketing. Great content is now rewarded more often with increased search visibility. This technological evolution of the search engine algorithm has forced businesses to focus on providing their audience with value and transparency. The technological advancements in the last decade have improved the quality of search results and elevated content marketing to one of the most lucrative digital marketing strategies to date.”
17. What do you think some of the biggest wins for design and visual content were specifically in the last decade?
And finally, we asked about the biggest visual content marketing and design wins that our marketers had had over the last decade. Here’s what some of them had to say:
“Infographics entered common usage and became a powerful tool to not only to explain product offerings in a way walls of text never can, but for social good as well.”
“The design went from being sharp and clunky to clean and accessible. Flat design is visible in changes in logos and site or app interfaces. The same approach has been adopted across visual content on social media. The next big win is the use of animation be it in the form of gifs or motion graphics. Brands are trying to speak the language of their audiences and that’s definitely helping them create human-to-human (H2H) connections. The use of memes is a big part of that.”
“Software companies like Venngage creating a platform to enable freelancers to create award-winning content.”
Digital Marketing Manager
“We have found infographics to be more effective when sharing information that our target audience may find boring or even overwhelming. A good infographic with strong visuals draws in the target audience and helps get the message across.”
“Interactive content and augmented reality were huge wins for design and visual content in the last decade. Filters that use AR on Tiktok, Instagram, Snapchat etc. have become so popular and widely used.”
Visual content is changing the way marketers and brands approach and retain their customers. We’re seeing how effective visuals of all types have been in 2020, particularly infographics and charts and data visualizations.
This is a trend that is going to continue through 2021 and well into the coming decade. Visual content will need to be an essential component of Canadian marketing strategies from now on.
Do you have any other marketing insights from Canada to share about visual content? Have success stories about using visuals in your marketing strategy? We’d love to hear all about it. Leave us a comment and share your visual content story with us.
If you want to learn more about the visual content marketing landscape for other countries, check out the highlights by clicking the links below:
Not a designer? No problem. With Venngage, you can start visualizing your ideas without any design experience.