In the third installment of The Future is Visual, our guest writer, Bogdan Maran of Visual Hive, explores the best times to release visual content to maximise exposure and engagement.
In the past 40 years, we have lived through a series of technological revolutions that altered everything from how we engage with the world around us to the way our brains are hardwired. One of the main elements of this revolution is “instant gratification”. It is a natural behaviour that comes from the fact that we usually want things now rather than later and there is psychological discomfort associated with self-denial. Evolution helped build the instinct to grab the reward in front of us, and resisting it, is very hard.
It all started with having faster access to what we wanted and that drove our desire for immediate rewards. Press a button and see a movie now versus get dressed and go to the cinema at a specific time; Google an answer now versus go to the library; breaking news 24 hours a day versus reading it in the newspapers the next day; same day delivery on almost anything at your door versus Royal Mail two-day guarantee postal order. Not to mention, of course, two swipes of a finger and you get a photo from the production company you carry in your pocket, and another three swipes and there it goes for the world to see.
Very late spoiler alert, you just got the part of the answer: NOW. And if not now, today, and if not today, maybe tomorrow. That tailors to the modern online short feedback loops we are addicted to.
The go-to answer in terms of the content we produce live is the video live-streaming process. However, this is not always the correct answer. We will talk in more detail about targeting in the “Who?” part of the series.
The technology revolution I mentioned at the beginning did not just provide us with ‘the addictions’, but also with the means to deliver said content “live”. We can use a small cheap adapter for our phones and live-stream our experience in 360’ videos. We “live-stream” photos to our social media accounts constantly.
Remember the #GreatImagesSell: having live content from your event, that looks amazing, is very important.
Photographers have tools such as Arsenal for sending content from their cameras to online galleries. Since Amazon launched DeepMind, numerous startups have developed AI cameras that use facial recognition to film keynotes and then edit and share the videos on the same day.
In the on-demand, Splento and Meero are answering ‘yes’ to the question: ‘I need a PRO now’, and while both are working on AI editing, by breaking the process down, they are able to deliver edited images throughout the day. Do you need to send a quick video message out to your fans, or do some interviews at your conference and share them quickly? Shootsta will deliver you a kit to film with and will edit everything in 24 hours. At the same time, XXX is working on new products of live content and interviews at trade shows, that have more impact and more engagement.
Having high-quality content also sets the mood for your event, as it influences the emotions of the people who are participating, as well as the wider audience with which you are engaging.
The content that the event generates is how participants will remember it. If generated and distributed effectively, it can create the FOMO (fear of missing out) element that drives audiences back to the content, or indeed, the next event.
The content can also alter a person’s perception of the event, be it a specific part (for example, particular keynote speakers) or the overall experience.
If the content is not delivered in a way for it be to be consumed within my attention span, then it is pointless. My attention span varies hugely with my level of interest, so if I am interested, I will dedicate more attention, as long as I get what I wanted there and then. Subsequently, the more interested I am, the more I want; the more I get, the more I need to stay interested. This means that it is not just “now” that I am looking for, but it is also “constant”.
Once you have fed the beast with great content, you need to keep feeding it or lose its attention. Our attention spans are short due to the amount of content we are bombarded with. So, even though we shared amazing, engaging content on the day, it is irrelevant in the long-term strategy because the next day there will be another event that will attract our attention.
Though we cannot fight that, the answer lies in creating repetitive patterns of behaviour, or routines. This means that we create long-term feedback loops from the content of the event, that creates muscle memory and expectancy in our audience to receive a specific piece of content at a clear moment in time (every Friday at 12, every first Monday of the month, etc).
There will naturally be a fall in engagement, and many people get trapped into considering this a failure and give in. However, keeping the audience interested by giving them an expected reward, and building hypes of interest just around key moments in time (i.e. event day, specific campaigns, early bird releases, voting, etc.,) keeps audience-engagement from dying down.
This also helps to increase the lifespan of your visual content, increasing the ROI and the value it produces.
So far we know that if we produce quality images, share them live and constantly, we get more ROI from our visual content, we expand its life-span and we could generate direct and indirect revenue. The reason I say ‘could’ is because we need to master the whole pyramid to be effective and we are not even halfway there. But we are getting close.
To build the next level of the pyramid, we need to answer the question: “Where do I share the visual content?” The usual answer is everywhere. I disagree wholeheartedly and I will tell you why in the next chapter.