The way audiences are consuming content is ever-changing, and a new study revealed that visual content is the primary driver of sales. Conducted by Blue Fountain Media, the study, “How Audiences View Content Marketing,” found that promotional videos and captioned pictures, followed by podcasts deliver the best results. 

While people still rely on email, consumers are increasingly leaving blogs and written email marketing in favor of video and picture-based offerings. In terms of moving people to buy a product or try a service, 75 percent of those surveyed ranked picture and video content the highest. 

“Businesses that master the art of producing engaging visual content on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook will reap the highest rewards,” said Elizabeth Minton, head of corporate marketing at Blue Fountain Media.

The platform that provides them with the most useful content when it comes to new products and services is YouTube, according to 33 percent of respondents, followed by Instagram for 28 percent of respondents. Participants also ranked YouTube the highest (38 percent) when asked which platform provides them with the most useful content to learn about digital trends, technology or general information.

“Good content must engage consumer interest, whether that’s through solid factual information, compelling visuals, good storytelling or humor.  Content needs to be valuable and believable to the consumer so that they associate the information and messaging with your brand. The best content delivers on both and initiates a further action, whether that’s a sale or simply a closer relationship with the business,” added Minton

While a recent Vibes study showed that consumers prefer mobile messaging notifications from brands to access deals, Blue Fountain Media’s findings show that 68 percent of consumers still sign up for newsletters for the sole purpose of accessing discounts. Email subscription behavior, however, is hot and cold. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they subscribe to between one and nine newsletters yet more than half said they don’t like receiving information from the company. 

To leverage these preferences, advertisers need to put resources and time into crafting compelling headlines for newsletters as 55 percent said they screen headlines to decide if they’ll read more.

Here’s what marketers should keep in mind when creating marketing content: make it creative and snappy. Why? The biggest issue with content today, the data shows, is that it’s either too commercial, too long or too boring. Fifty-eight percent of those polled said content marketing is too commercial and 48 percent said it’s too long, too boring and too basic. In addition to the quality of their content marketing, marketers should also be mindful of the number of ads being delivered as 58 percent said they feel hounded by ads and content. 

Survey methodology: Blue Fountain Media recently polled over 1,000 internet consumers, aged 18-55, and asked them about their content marketing preferences via an online survey.