Does Infographic Marketing Still Work? A Data Driven Answer

infographics

I used to be a big fan of leveraging infographics to grow my traffic and brand. Why? Because it used to provide exceptional results.

The results were so great that when we started releasing infographics on the KISSmetrics blog in 2010, it helped us generate 2,512,596 visitors and 41,142 backlinks.

Based on the KISSmetrics stats from 2010, we know infographics worked well then. But the real question is: do they still work today?

Over the years, I’ve created 218 infographics, so let’s analyze the data to see what we can glean from these numbers:

The KISSmetrics blog

Within the two-year period, from 2010 to 2012, 47 infographics generated 2,512,596 visitors and 41,142 backlinks from 3,741 unique domains. They also generated 41,359 tweets and 20,859 likes.

That means, on average, each infographic generated 53,459 visitors and 875 backlinks from 79 unique domains. When it comes to social shares, each one generated 879 tweets and 443 likes.

After 2012, infographics weren’t providing the same results as before. One of the main reasons for the poorer ROI was their rise in popularity. More and more companies started leveraging them, which made them more common.

The newer infographics, on average, drove 21,582 visitors and 371 backlinks from 34 unique domains. As for social shares, each one generated 486 tweets and 259 likes.

The reason for the drop in traffic and links isn’t related to the quality of the infographics. We used the same research methods to come up with topics and the same designer in many cases. And we promoted them through the same channels.

As you can see from the KISSmetrics data, infographics still drive traffic but not as much as they used to.

Quicksprout

In addition to publishing infographics on KISSmetrics, I also publish infographics on Quicksprout every Friday.

My goal with releasing infographics on Quicksprout is to help you understand complex marketing data through simple visuals. And my hope was that infographics would help generate a lot of traffic.

Because I didn’t get on the infographic bandwagon early enough on Quicksprout, I didn’t have the same results as we did at KISSmetrics. But each infographic did generate 41,487 visitors and 469 backlinks from 38 unique domains. As for social shares, each graphic generated roughly 621 tweets and 572 likes.

But what is interesting is that the infographics haven’t helped increase the overall search traffic for Quicksprout. You would think that the more backlinks you generate, the more search traffic you’ll have, but this hasn’t been the case so far.

I’ve also tested releasing infographics on Quicksprout on days other than Friday, but it didn’t make a huge difference in traffic. If I posted them on Mondays, I would receive about 8% more traffic. If I posted them on Wednesdays, I would get 11% more traffic.

Although the infographic stats look good on Quicksprout, when you compare them to my text-based posts, they don’t seem to be doing as well. On average, my non-infographic blog posts generate 35% more traffic and 22% more search traffic.

One other thing is worth mentioning. I have been receiving emails from people, saying they see mentions of Quicksprout more often than before. Quicksprout’s logo, featured on each infographic, is primarily responsible for this effect. When others embed my infographics within their websites, they also promote the Quicksprout brand.

quicksprout trends

As you can see from the graph above, this has helped increase Quicksprout’s popularity, according to Google Trends.

Conclusion

If you are looking to drastically increase your search traffic, infographics won’t help you as much as you think. Infographic links were more effective four years ago, but since then, Google has been tightening its algorithm, which tempers the impact infographics have on SEO today.

Although the data doesn’t look as appealing as it used to, if I were you, I would still continue to leverage infographics for the following 3 reasons:

  1. They still produce good traffic – unless you are an exceptionally good writer, chances are you are going to generate more traffic from infographics than you will from your blog posts.
  2. It helps with branding – more people will see your brand, assuming you put your logo on your infographics. This will help increase the amount of direct traffic you receive.
  3. You’ll get great referral traffic – if it weren’t for infographics, I would have never generated links from sites like Forbes and Huffington Post. Sure, these links may not help boost your rankings as much as they did in the past, but they still drive qualified traffic to your site.

I will continue to leverage infographic marketing. Will you?

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Comments

  1. Yes, Neil I agree with you.
    Infographic is a new form of content marketing and it is useful to gain backlinks and create a brand awareness.

  2. I think the other important lesson is to only use infographics when infographics benefit the user and help to present the data.

    I’ve seen far too many infographics for the sake of using one when it could have been summed up in a matter of words.

  3. I was just about to start a massive infographic creation campaign :(

    I think most infographics are too boring. They pack too much data into a single image, and thats why instead of enlightening people, they just make us more confused.

    A good infographic, done creatively instead of using arrows and bars and pie charts, I think should still do really well.

  4. Its really help people to understand clearly , but also its take time too to make it one

  5. Great post Neil!
    Since the new tools for making short videos are now easy to access for most marketers, do you think Infographics could be soon replaced by short videos instead?

  6. We have tried two infographics recently. I found that when we used unique data (based on a survey of 1600 people) we had far more shares (1879 shares) than when we did one based on existing data (878 shares).

  7. You mentioned
    “And we promoted them through the same channels.”

    My team has created some amazing infographics but we don’t know how to promote them to drive the type of traffic you are getting.

    Can you point me to some good information on exactly how and where to promote infographics?

    I don’t me a vague answer like “Blast out an email to your subscriber list and post them on Pinterest, Facebook, Stumble Upon, Buzzfeed, etc.”

    Rather, how and where do you recommend we promote them through these channels and other channels you think we should look at so that they will get a lot more views and shared more.

    Thanks,

    Dave

    • I don’t have a post that breaks it all down and it isn’t any easy thing to answer over comments, but I will consider doing a post on our marketing strategy for infographic distribution.

      • This is a good question Neil, I would also be interested in such a post; please keep on your list for the near future.

      • I would also be interested in hearing more about promotion and outreach strategies. Like Dave K said, this is where advice becomes more vague and less detailed – possibly because this is the secret to success!

  8. I’ve started publishing infographics on interviews I’ve done with people and they’re shared more than text-based ones for sure.

    I’m glad you’re still an advocate of infographics, Neil. I just submitted a guest post to a site saying as much – the last thing I needed was you changing your mind ;-)

  9. Nice post, Neil! Thank you for the information.

    We also use infographics to promote our business.

    How do you count likes for each infographics?

  10. Here’s another reason – in my opinion the most important – why infographics still work…it is a great means to tell a complex story visually and reach your increasingly mobile audience.

  11. Neil, there’s a whole raft of popular marketing ideas like Infographics that either don’t work like they used too, or for many, they don’t work at all. It has so much to do with what niche you’re in.

    A blog like this one is selling to Marketers. That audience is so different than the audience I work for that I’ve had to learn over time to take all the advice with a grain of salt and test it.

    More on that here (you got a couple nice mentions):

    https://smoothspan.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/most-marketing-advice-tells-us-how-to-market-to-marketers/

    Best,

    BW

  12. I’ve started publishing infographics on interviews I’ve done with people and they’re shared more than text-based ones for sure.

  13. Neil,

    I should think that being picked up by Forbes and Huffington Post improves your klout score immensely. What do you think? Also, as you know, branding alone is enough of a longterm benefit. By the way how many hours go in to creating one of your info graphics?
    Thanks for being so transparent with your numbers. Appreciate it.
    Shelly

  14. If infographics aren’t what they use to be, what is the in thing now?

  15. Neil, though the numbers may be looking small for you, my personal opinion is that 1000 odd visitors from an infographic is always great for any start up site :)

  16. Hey Neil

    Funny thing, I’m about to kick off a new project, a website for an event, and I’ve been wondering whether or not to create any infographics. I’ve seen them used on other event websites and you’re pretty spot on, quality of content and also design make all the difference. I also had a fleeting thought about how infographics are represented, not as in the design or content (which we’ve established to be important), but possibly the headlines marketers use when punting them. The question that comes to mind it:”Why would I want to view another infographic?”

    All things considered, I love the idea of infographics, an even though they’ve been overdone, I think they grow in relevance when the quality of the content and design is top notch.

    Great post. Very useful – as always.

    //noah

  17. We run an infographic site and the slew of poorly done infographics and horrific attempts at what an infographic should be are in the hundreds every month. So actually making a good one should still be worth the effort. It would stand head and shoulders above the drek being published now.

  18. Mister Neil , each of us must look for inventive methodes wich can promote our sites to get more traffic and we are lucky if we discover it . But altough you are just right , I ecourage all people to do that for sites evolution !

    My respect to all of you !

  19. Interesting considering that the use of images in posts and status updates still generates more engagement. However, images are mostly used to support and/or reinforce the text, not as standalone elements. So perhaps infographics need to be used in the same manner where the infographic illustrates/reinforces the text or portions of text instead of the text merely introing the infographic?

  20. Sanjib – perhaps by 2018 :)

    Actually, trawl the posts on this blog. Some fantastic ideas.

  21. Yes Neil you are right,but can you tell me one thing? The back links we get from the infographic sites is useful or not?

  22. Hi Neil,

    I have a question… Did you break down the type of backlinks being generated? What I mean is, how did people link to your site? Did they link to a short post that had the infograhic in it? Did they publish the infographic on their own site, yet gave Quicksprout and Kissmetrics credit? Did they just link to the image url?

    The reason this is important is that you mentioned the later infographics had seemingly no impact on search. Maybe this is due to the nature of the links themselves, not necessarily because the piece of content was an infographic.

  23. If you have the budget, then you can do Infographics. But make sure that your infographics standout from the rest. Kissmetrics and Quickspout produces outstanding infographics.

  24. The idea about short video sounds great. Will want to experiment and see how it works.

  25. Great post Neil,

    I’ve found that infographics haven’t been working well for me. Probably because I’ve been doing something wrong…

    But the idea about the short video definitely does sound interesting.

  26. Thankyou Neil for detailed info about infographic, what will you suggest for newbie whether to use it or not

  27. Hey Neil,

    For me it really works, i started a marketing project 3 months and the only trick i followed to spread the brand name was leaving infographics on different websites and blogs and it worked.

  28. Great post. I like Infographics. Ordinarily I would not like them because I am a devout reader of abstract documents, books, papers, magazines, reports and other types of content. However, I appreciate them because they simplify information and can save a tremendous amount time. It also seems possible to absorb boatloads of information in a fraction of the time it would take to sort through dozens of periodicals to access the same information in long form.

  29. I’m a little late to this thread, but I thought I’d weigh in. I have yet to create an infographic. I think like photos, an infographic needs to be simple and compelling. It has to load properly on a mobile device – and Neil – I love your infographics, but most of them won’t load on an iPhone. If I don’t remember to load it on a computer later, it gets lost in my slipstream.

    We cannot on one hand make a responsive website, then load an infographic that’s 10,000 pixels tall.

  30. Hello Neil,

    Great read and thanks for making it fact based.

    I’ve had two questions popping up after I read this article:

    1. Those numbers are huge, but what you say the increase was in percentage. I doubt that a site that has a monthly traffic of 10k would have 40k because they made an infographic. They would probably have 2K (random guess) traffic increase because of the infographic, so in this case 20%. What would say is the average percentage increase in traffic attributed to an infographic, ceteris paribus.

    We created an infographic last year, it was great for traffic (http://blog.linkbird.com/en/content-marketing/how-to-use-infographic-to-boost-seo/).
    Then I created another one recently, which quite honestly was not as big of a success (http://blog.linkbird.com/en/infographics/state-link-building-2013-vs-2014/).

    2. Does the drop in traffic have anything to with the sheer number of infographics out there on the web, in our industry and on your websites? The classic demand & supply equilibrium. Back in 2010, they were relatively new and the ones who were making the best ones attracted most of the traffic. What are your thoughts?

    • Karan, Great questions.
      To address your first question, it really depends from case to case. There really aren’t averages in this case because there are so many variables at play.

      The number of infographics out there really has no bearing on how well yours will perform. If it is high quality and attracts your audience — and your distribution channels are on point you should succeed.

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  38. Hey there Neil,

    haha looks like i’ve hit the spam end.

    I treat infographics as just another tool in the box of tricks.

    Depending on the situation depends on the tool you use. I’ve found in the past they are a great way to introduce your brand during an outreach campaign.

    Even if not picked up, it creates an impression and triggers interest.

    Cheers

    PS Just subscribed and reading through some of the old threads. Great content man!

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