Picturing new online campaigns

While the Internet is emerging as a pre­dominant communication channel for marketing and advertising campaigns, creativity is still struggling to understand its role. We want online to be the next great creative frontier, but haven’t yet found the formulas for great online creativity.

Internet advertising is generally concerned with measurability and metrics, much more than creative execution. All this is about to change, however, as we’re hitting another digital tipping point: Imagery is about to completely trump text on the Internet. We’re entering a future where pictures will become central to creativity on the Web.

Pictures speak much louder than words. Take for example, shampoo brand Sunsilk’s recent presence on MySpace.com featuring various images of Madonna in different stages of her career — her image conjures feelings of iconic beauty and cutting-edge status.

Now all of the factors are converging for us to accelerate towards a more visual Web. Broadband penetration is now more than 80% among regular Internet users and growing steadily. Online media companies are welcom­ing adventurous creative ideas and formats to target and monetize their growing audiences. The explosion of Web sites, blogs and other content is driving new online behaviors that demand a new, more visual approach to cap­ture the attention of Web surfers.

Images are a visual rest stop for our eyes that save us from pure overload. We’re crav­ing simplicity more than ever, and it’s the simple, iconic, stunning images that grab our attention.

All of this suggests a future where image-rich online marketing will be a more effec­tive form of communication to consumers. AOL estimates that 80% of its page views are driven by images and Google’s image search generates significantly higher click-through rates than text search.

Every day we are reminded of the power of imagery; a news story that the facts alone couldn’t tell, or a brand that would be unrec­ognizable without one. New developments in Web technology allow us a richer, more interactive Web spurring countless creative ideas for online campaigns. Imagery stirs emotions, brings creative ideas to life, initi­ates dialogue and helps brands connect with consumers. We should be harnessing the power of the image now.

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