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Multimedia & Visualization: Key insights from an expert session

By Seval Dogan, Business Wire & Christian Salow, altii GmbH

This article touches upon the issue of visualization on the internet. It provides some key insights drawn from an expert session, which was jointly organized by Business Wire Germany (www.businesswire.com) and altii (www.altii.de). The session was held at the Communication Congress 2016, one of the most popular events for the PR industry in the German-speaking countries.

Radical technological developments such as the internet and social media enable us to create and distribute visual content in a much easier way than ever before. Pictures, videos and interactive visualization have become increasingly important. In fact, the internet without visual content is hard to imagine today. Undoubtedly, the rise of social media platforms had an impact on visualization. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and many other sites have become platforms where multimedia posts dominate over text. Compelling visual assets and creative illustrations stimulate the interest of the audience and make a story much more engaging. As a response to the significance of visualization, online platforms such as ThingLink, Glogster, PictoChart, Flixel, HSTRY and others emerged, enabling users to create interactive content and bring visuals to life.

This has triggered a new phase of competition where visual content is used as a stimulus for brand awareness and as a means to generate potential customers - it is through social media and modern communication platforms that companies often reach their target groups in the digital age. But with the appearance of new tools, new rules of communication apply. As a result of this, marketers are increasingly paying attention to the needs of the users by looking at what is being said on social media platforms and what the trending topics on the internet are, before they distribute their visual content. On the other hand, internet users are increasingly becoming picky, especially when it comes to what to read, to listen, or to watch, and where to do so. This implies that if you want your visual content to make an impact, it has to be implemented within the right context. Therefore, a clear understanding of target groups is very important in order to find the right channel and to be properly perceived by the audience. Just as important is making the link between image and message perfectly congruent. The same applies to videos - good videos need to be well-prepared. All these inevitably raise the question: How can the attention of consumers be obtained and maintained in the digital age?

In our expert session, we analyzed how the interest of users can be triggered and what role attractiveness plays when it comes to videos. One of the key ideas discussed was that, overall, using the ‘right’ image generates more clicks, and this is especially the case with images that evoke emotions. Shock, anger, fear, disgust etc. can be as powerful of emotions as joy, happiness, hope, and so on, on the internet. However, this does not mean that emotionally-triggering visual content is the only way to go viral. For instance, some visual content (e.g. videos) regarded as ‘unattractive’ can be more long-lasting in popular internet rankings than more ‘attractive’ ones.

This prompted our session to discuss the significance of virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The new media devices are likely to change not only the meaning of visualization but also the use of interactive media on the web. VR and AR tools create a whole new customer experience and interactive multimedia might be soon challenged by these communication tools. With these new tools, content can be displayed in new visual ways which can be very impressive for the consumer. They do not only trigger the senses, they can literally absorb them. The user is fully immersed in the new reality created by those technologies, giving the feeling to the user of being physically present in another environment. The three-dimensional environment depicted by the VR and AR tools provide a highly interactive and life-like experience where the user can move around. An employee of Google once said: "In a room with people, some of which carry Google Glass and some not, in no time there are two separate groups apart where there is no physical distance. The no-Glass in the one corner and the Glass people in the other!” (Perhaps this could be a reason why Google did not let the Glass project grow from the development stage). Microsoft is also working on a similar project, the HoloLense project. Such technological developments keep us excited about the future applications and acceptance of virtual media, as well as about their impact on the meaning of visualization in the age of digitization.

Are you interested in this topic? Take a look at the following presentation slides, or share your thoughts with us.

To learn more about best practices for using visuals in your own communications content, download and read our guidance report, Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the Press Release.

How to Make a Video for Your Next Release

By Vilan Trub, Marketing

The videos you see online, whether on a branded website, a social media platform, or a news outlet, can be replicated at low cost and by someone with no production experience. If you aren’t already tapping into the trend of video marketing, you will be once you realize how easy it is, and how significant the potential results can be in amplifying your news.  How significant?  According to an Animoto Online and Mobile Video Study conducted using 1,000 U.S. consumers, “nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents are more likely to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining it beforehand.”

Camera

Option 1 - Low cost:

Cell phones turned into computers overnight and the world has been watching them ever since. With the launch of the latest series of smartphones, camera technology has been exponentially improved giving everyone access to HD (1920 x 1080) quality recording devices.

What exactly is HD?

HD refers to the lines of resolution in an image. Video footage with a higher quantity of resolution lines is deemed high definition because of the greater appearance of detail in the image.

Take advantage of your access to HD recording devices and create beautiful videos – all with the device you have in your hand right now.

To maximize the effect of your smart phone camera stay zoomed out to the widest setting and capture your footage in a well-lit environment. Don’t be fooled, even Hollywood admits to the astounding quality of footage captured with an iPhone.

What will make your footage stand out from other “smart phone” videos is the use of a tripod. Yes, they make tripods for cellphones, pointing to the quality footage that can be captured from the same device that you occasionally use to order dinner.

Option 2 - Medium budget:

Let’s say you plan on regularly producing video projects and you want some versatility in the tool used to create your visuals. A DSLR camera is an affordable way to create professional quality images with an easy to use technology while giving you more control over the depth of field of your images. And at a $400-$500 price point for an entry level camera, it is so affordable and easy to use that Hollywood often takes advantage.

What is depth of field?: The range of what is in focus in your image compared to what isn’t. When you see an object in the foreground in sharp focus, and everything else is blurry, you have a shallow depth of field. With a DSLR camera you have more options for how you want your image to look.

A DSLR camera will also give you much better color reproduction as a result of the larger sensors (what captures the image) so your images will be vibrant and pop.

Lighting

Option 1:  Low cost:

Light bulbs make light. It’s what you choose to illuminate with that light that will make the difference between clunky amateurish videos, and professional digital media. By utilizing higher wattage bulbs, such as 150w and 200w, and clamp lights that can be purchased at any local hardware store, you can create a studio right in your office.

How can these lights be used to create a professional image? The term to remember is three-point lighting. This lighting scheme uses two lights to illuminate both sides of the subject. The third light is what really makes the image look professional. The third light, cast over the back of the subject illuminating highlights such as hair and shoulder, creates separation between the subject and the background. This allows the viewer to perceive depth on a two-dimensional medium.

Option 2: Medium budget:

Basic lighting kits are affordable and extremely easy to use, assemble, and store. A light kit is superior to using clamp lights because the light stands are easy to assemble and move around. With clamp lights, creativity is required in identifying objects to which they can be clamped. With a light kit all the tools are available. The height of a light stand can also easily be manipulated, offering many variations of lighting schemes that can be tried out without too much time or effort.

Sound

Option 1:  Low cost:

For a production, sound is the most important aspect. If the audio is crisp and clear, clean of ambient noise and static, the audience will accept your media as professional grade regardless of what type of camera or camera phone you use. Eyes can fill in the blanks better than your ears, so it’s important for the audience to hear what they need to as if the speaker is in the room. This can be accomplished quite easily and with a low budget.

Wired lavalier microphone: A microphone that clips to the subject’s lapel can be purchased in the $50 dollar range. This microphone is great for capturing the speaker’s voice because it is located so close to the source. This particular microphone is designed to work with mobile devices, however, if you already have a microphone or are purchasing a microphone not designed to work with a mobile device there are solutions. With the addition of an adapter, in the $20 to $30 range, you can easily connect your microphone to a smartphone to use as an audio recording device (use the voice memo app if filming with an iPhone).

Remember that sound and video need to sync. For every time you roll your camera or recording device, film a piece of paper labeled with what take you are recording, then clap your hands together. That clap provides a distinct sound that you can use later to sync your audio and video during the editing process.

Option 2: Medium budget:

If you have any budget at all, it’s always recommended that sound be your first investment. If you can afford it, invest in a wireless lav microphone system. Why wireless over a wired microphone? A wireless mic system allows you to record your audio directly into the camera or recording device. There is no need to sync audio and picture when editing and you can immediately view back your footage to test quality of both image and sound. Of course, you should still mark each take with a verbal label (saying take one, take two) so you have an easy way to reference the footage during the editing phase.

Editing

Option 1: Low cost:

Editing video is not as hard as most people think. You choose the footage that you want and discard the rest. The digital revolution has ensured that everyone can be an editor and with great ease. Youtube offers editing capabilities, as well as other free online options. If your video and audio was recorded separately remember to locate the exact second the clap (previously discussed) occurred, as well as the sound of that clap; match the two and you have just synced sound and picture.

Option 2: Medium budget:

For basic digital media there is no need for excessive editing software. This is not because of the price but rather the learning curve required to maximize your purchased editing software. If you are willing to put in a little time to master such techniques as color correction and more intricate editing, look into tools like Sony Vegas Movie Studio, or the higher end Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. A list of other recommended software can be found here.

We know video is one of the fastest growing content tools, and consumption rates are at an all-time high. We also know that video builds relationships between organizations and their customers. Now you know just how easy it is to make your own!  

PR in 2016: How to Take Advantage of the Changing Media Landscape

 

Serena Ehrlich, Business Wire’s director of social and evolving media, recently had the opportunity to present listeners with a detailed account of how the media landscape is changing, and how to best take advantage of those changes.

 

The World Is Now Visually Fluent:  Communicate with Images

 

 

According to Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report, Generation Z communicates using images. Images are no longer an asset used to enhance text-only news, they have become the primary form of communication with text now being used in the supplementary role, enhancing the images that audiences are expecting.  

Today’s media outlets understand this and require multimedia assets to round out news coverage pieces.  To increase the open rates, engagement and coverage of your news releases, include photos and videos that tell your company story in an instant.

 

Fluency + Access = Images are Moving Again

 

 

Thanks to the decrease in price for mobile phone data plans, people have easier access to multimedia content such as videos. Mobile users can now scroll through videos as easy as if it was images or text and platforms like Facebook are taking advantage by integrating more video capabilities, transforming how users communicate. It’s the types of videos being uploaded that is really grabbing communicators’ attentions. When it comes to YouTube, 33% of all searches are for news related content. People have access to information and they want to consume that information regularly, using it to dictate, amongst other things, purchasing decisions.     

One fast way to get news adoption in the era of video? Create quick videos that outline verbally the content of your news release.  If you have the time and skills, overlay your video with product shots to further emphasize your news. Have a big social fan base? Skip the still video and use Facebook Live or Twitter’s Periscope and do a quick live broadcast of your news summary – a fantastic way to get extremely high reach for your news.

 

The Elongated Sales Funnel in the Age of Research

 

 

Before the digital revolution there was a time when if you didn’t know something, that information stayed a mystery until you had access to the answer. Now, information is available at everyone’s fingertips and society has become conditioned to searching for answers as their questions are asked. We currently live in an age where research is a standard reaction to any new found information. Serena explains how this applies to brands and products by using the example of two friends making plans to dine at a restaurant. Years ago, if she would have suggested a restaurant to her friend, that would be the end of the conversation. Today, her friend can easily research the restaurant and determine if it is the desired destination, or if another location should be selected. People are less prone to experiment blindly these days, because they don’t have to. Today’s consumer is an educated consumer.   This is why news releases are so important to today’s leading organizations. Google knows that decision makers use search before committing to purchase, so every news release distributed over Business Wire, and the coverage generated, is highlighted in search to help move your key audiences in and through you marketing and sales funnel.

 

Media Relations 101:  Media outlets rewarded for views

 

 

In response to Business Wire’s annual global media survey, media professionals most often answered that views was the metric used to evaluate their stories. With online and mobile platforms, tracking how many people are accessing your content is easier than ever. Understanding that helping a journalist or reporter accomplish that goal is a great tool to attaining better coverage for your news. When you pitch the media make it clear that their success is your success and that you’re working as a team to get more eyes on their coverage of your message. Let them know that you will be actively working to increase their views and how you will get those readers.   

The news media landscape is evolving but it’s far from a mystery. To engage audiences, to clarify your messaging and to do media relations in 2016, it is time to pair your news release with visual content.  Not sure how? Listen to Serena’s webinar in its entirety to get the full breakdown of how people are communicating today and a glimpse into how society will be communicating in the future. Understanding the news trends currently developing is the first step to reaching audiences with your news. 

A Visual Look Back at The #dataviz From This Year's “Woodstock of Capitalism”

Text and photos by Paul J.F. Bowman, Senior Editor at Business Wire

When it came to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting, the Q&A sessions with Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger dominated the news cycle. Lesser known was the meeting’s accompanying expo: a trade show of companies in which Berkshire Hathaway holds a significant stake. As a Berkshire Hathaway company, Business Wire was afforded a booth at the event. Other Berkshire displays included a giant GEICO Gecko, an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, a Clayton Homes prefabricated house, and a Challenger 650 NetJets plane cabin. While all of that was entertaining and impressive, what was especially awe inspiring was the addition and prominence of data visualization throughout the 2016 event.

As a thought leader, Business Wire regularly advocates the importance of multimedia in today's communications. We even went as far as proclaiming that visual journalism should just be called journalism. What better way to practice what we preach than to take a look back at the wide range of #dataviz displayed at one of this years biggest events, visually.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directly inside of the expo, three 20’-by-10’ infoposters detailed the current state of Berkshire Hathaway resources. These towered over attendees as they entered the main floor. The displays were a graphical “State of the Company” address: informative, visually interesting, and detailed Berkshire’s various assets clearly. Separating the information into parts allowed visitors to find specific resources and geographies quickly. It makes sense to highlight your foremost data at conferences and trade shows; data visualization is an exceptionally efficient way to self-promote without unnecessarily repeating information. Additionally, our brains process images quicker than text—60,000 times faster according to The SAGE Handbook of Political Communication—and multimedia increases the likelihood of information comprehension from your audience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creating infoposters can be costly, but keeping current or potential investors interested and confident in your company is priceless. Hiring a top graphic designer to create these images is unnecessary; the posters need to be more intelligible than flashy. Essentially, data visualization does not need to be elaborate to be impactful. For example, layering too many graphics above or below each other will only complicate reading—not to mention updating—the graphic(s). Convoluting the image(s) may distract from your primary goals: presenting and enhancing understanding of data while keeping the reader’s attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were other tall stands with infoposters from Berkshire Hathaway companies throughout the venue. They maintained formality and consistency while presenting data from a range of industries. Whether organizing or presenting at a trade show/conference, consider asking your graphic design team to create infographics/posters with congruency to the show’s design and palette. You may even be able to obtain the specific font types and stock graphics from the organizer of your event ahead of time. For example, these posters use a standard format (fonts, colors, icons) while their logos, products and highlighted data are very different:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most prominent data visualization highlight was the BNSF booth. Behind their elaborate model train display, audiences watched what could be a future component to earnings calls: an infographic-type video looping on the booth’s backdrop included data of total track length, asset totals, sustainability, carbon emissions and other notable statistics for both consumers and investors. Imagine an earnings conference call that kicks off with an impactful video equivalent to bulleted financial highlights!

Watch the BNSF video 

While viewing the video, consider how your company could make its own version. BNSF’s digital 2015 Annual Review, the inspiration for the backdrop video, is definitely worth a view as well.


(A special thanks to the BNSF Corporate Communications team for uploading the backdrop video solely for this piece!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business Wire is a strong proponent of data visualization and other multimedia; news releases with photos and videos receive up to five times as many views. Take a quick look at the type of multimedia releases being issued using Business Wire’s services

To learn a great deal more about the expanding intersection of text, images and video in modern news distribution, download our free Let’s Get Visual: Multimedia and the News Release white paper.

You can also watch the Yahoo Finance webcast of the 2016 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting in its entirety (7 hours, 10 minutes).

Keep the data visualization coming!

 

Business Wire's Frankfurt Office Finds Out How Important Pictures and Videos are on the Internet

By Seval Dogan, Marketing Specialist, DACH Region and Kai Prager, Senior Media Relations Specialist

If you use the internet frequently, you will probably say that pictures and videos are an important part of the experience. But just how important are they?

To find some answers to this question, the Business Wire office in Frankfurt, Germany organized a new edition of their popular discussion series MEDIAtreff and invited the panelists Dr. Dr. Norbert Streitz (Scientific Director @Smart Future Initiative), Dieter Moritz (Executive Director @vwd), Christian Salow (CEO @altii.de) and Sophie Schüler (Photographer & Multimedia Artist) to give their expert opinions.

 

The emergence of pictures and videos on the web

At the beginning of the panel, Norbert Streitz remarked that the internet mainly used to consist of texts that were connected via hyperlinks which lead from one website to another and created something like a so-called ‘real net’. The number of pictures was fairly low and didn’t start to grow before the emergence of the high-speed internet. More speed over time also created the possibility to include videos. However, he sees videos as a linear medium, which goes against the original idea of the hyperlinked internet.

Nonetheless, most of the panelists emphasized that the emergence of pictures, videos and other multimedia elements was an important step forward in the evolvement of the internet: In the beginnings, the text based internet did not offer much capabilities to make a text stand out. With the appearance of pictures, more choices were available for composing content. In many cases, a picture can function as a preview of the textual information. A country flag, a celebrity or a picture about a car crash for instance, can already give cues what the news would cover. The recognition value that images create, do not only generate more awareness but also induce users to read a text. The same can be said about social media, where a picture often functions as a call-to-action. As Christian Salow explained, an image gets more likely noticed than a text and animates the user to click on it which then leads him to an external website where the original textual information is based.

We also learned, that the color of the picture is of vital importance and can lure a user to read a text. Colors are associated with different emotions, or feelings. Christian Salow’s website altii.de mainly reports on financial matters and he noticed that blue creates trust and people are more inclined to read a text in a layout with pictures that are mainly blue. Dieter Moritz asserted to this, and added he noticed that the color red has the opposite effect. Especially on financial web sites, the color red creates a sense of danger, or warning. As no businessman or broker wants to be in the red, these articles are less read than texts that come with pictures in other colors. Sophie Schueler, added to the discussion that images are also helpful in making online communication more personal. When you see a face or a facial expression in an image along with textual information, it tends to reinforce the tone of the message. A strong image can influence the consumer’s opinion about a matter as it triggers emotional responses. Videos are often even more effective in triggering emotional responses because of its sound. Words become more powerful when spoken than when they are static. The tone of the voice, the way words are pronounced or the volume can affect the consumer’s behavior and the way he feels about the story.

 

Some sectors have not fully embraced the visual age yet

Even though visual communications seem to have been accepted as normal by now, there are sectors in Germany that still struggle with the idea. In the financial sector for instance, visuals are still not common practice and there are plenty of business professionals out there who are hesitant to implement them in their news. Traditionally, financial news have been less wrapped up with creative videos or fancy images. Nevertheless, the attitude towards the use of multimedia in this sector is slowly changing as both experts, Christian Salow and Dieter Moritz, who are leading financial media, pointed out that images are helpful in motivating the reader to engage longer with the content. Christian Salow added that financial information can be quite somber so images and videos are useful to visualize information and to enliven technical themes. Infographics for instance, work very well for illustrating statistics and other technical content. The creative format of infographics also help to steer the consumer to look at data, which would have been otherwise more easily overlooked. It seems, the importance of images and videos are finally getting recognized in a sector, which has been long dominated by numbers and textual information. On top of that, Dieter Moritz stressed that pictures have not only become increasingly important online, but also for financial print media. Not necessarily as a standalone medium, but in combination with technical information.

 

Why textual information still matters

We know that using images and videos has many advantages but they should be relevant. If visuals are only used because everybody else is using it, then the story loses its point and overkills the message. Too many images can be confusing for the reader. Instead, media outlets should build trust through providing informative and relevant messages. Dr. Dr. Streitz, who evaluates the importance of images and videos from a different angle added that factual text would also be effective without multimedia content. It is questionable whether images or videos would add additional quality to text-only news. Textual content is often more objective and factual. He argued that pictures or videos do not always provide more information than text-only news. They can be interpreted in many ways and be sometimes misleading. Text-only news however, do not give as much space for interpretations but can help the reader to gain a clearer understanding of the matter. Before adding pictures and videos, one should first think about what value they add to the message.

Many of the PR and marketing professionals who attended the Business Wire media event thought that the right mix of multimedia and text would be important. Marketers should not discard text-only news but add it to images and videos in a targeted manner. Lastly, as Dr. Dr. Streitz indicated, one should not come to expect that media only informs, but it also entertains. In this regard, videos and pictures certainly enhance text-only news.    

Why Visual Journalism Should Just Be Called Journalism

 

By Vilan Trub, Marketing

A lot is being written about the importance of multimedia in journalism. Those articles need to stop. It’s not because multimedia is no longer important, on the contrary, multimedia has become so integral to today’s journalism that writing about it is as enlightening as writing about the importance of drinking-water for healthy living. When you look for news, whether on social media, digital platforms or traditional, you expect to see images. It is so expected that when the Digital News Project released their Journalism, Media and Technology Predictions 2016 they already shifted their focus to the next generation of multimedia.

What Will Multimedia Look Like?

The media landscape of tomorrow, the report presented by Reuters Institute predicts, will be one of virtual reality, live streaming, and an innovative use of images, such as hyperspotted images. Multimedia will not only supplement textual information, but be used as visual answers to reader’s questions. The example given is the Guardian’s choice to publish a picture of the leading candidates during the UK general election superimposed over a height scale to answer reader questions about the height of candidate David Cameron. The newspaper could simply have provided an image of David Cameron followed by textual data. This is what we expect to see, visual representation of the content of an article. What the Guardian did was integrate the information found within the article directly into the image. You see the subjects of interest and you receive the answer to a popular search query. Images won’t just aid communication in the future, they will be used as a form of communication. This is also evident through the rollout of Twitter Moments, where several tweets are arranged, and paired with an image, to tell a bite-size news story. 

Generation Z,according to Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report, is described as having an innate knowledge of digital technologies, uses 5 screens at once, and communicates using images. According to the same report, the number of images shared daily on select social media platforms (snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook) jumped from about 2 billion to around 3.25 billion in the last year. We can ask ourselves if this is a trend because multimedia is so prevalent, or if multimedia is so prevalent because of its effectiveness in delivering a message. An investigation of the latter, when coupled with developers designing assets that are even more engaging and interactive, shows us that people want multimedia because it offers something that text can’t. We don’t see the world around us in text and multimedia is a tool that aids in bringing that realism to the digital playground. Generation Z is showing us that text supplements multimedia, not the other way around. This was always the case and technology finally caught up.

The last several years saw communications thought leaders time and time again announce the coming of a visual age. That moment passed and now we need to accept it as normal. Referring to journalism with multimedia as visual journalism is like referring to a movie with sound as a “talkie.” Just like silent films are now studied as a historic artifact, so is the era when the internet lacked multimedia. Today’s journalism is visual, it’s engaging and it’s evolving. Today, readers see their news as if they’re seeing it happen in front of them. Let’s start thinking about the news of tomorrow.

Learn more about the integral role multimedia plays in today’s communications by registering for Business Wire’s webinar on increasing awareness, coverage, and conversions with visuals

8 Numbers from Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report That Will Change PR

By Vilan Trub, Marketing

Those interested in the current state of the digital marketplace can rejoice because Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report has been released and the data it presents is telling. Over the years, the internet has grown to become an integral part of daily life. That evolution continues as the uses for this technology are now starting to reflect the needs of current generations. For PR pros it is important to understand how important the internet is as a bridge between brands and the public. The following are 8 figures from the report that exemplify how much the internet, as well as society has changed in recent years and how those in the communications space must adjust their plans of action for reaching audiences locally, regionally, and around the world.  

TECHNOLOGY

27% of the US Population

Millennials represent 27% of the US population. That accounts for almost 1/3rd of the population and is a portion of the population whose spending power is expected to rise significantly in the next 10-20 years. This is the largest generation found in the US and according to the report, they’re financial approach is described as “earn to spend.” Because Millennials represent a significant audience for brands, it’s important to understand their internet habits. For this generation, technology is integral in day to day life. Just how integral has it become? 

4 Hours

On average, worldwide mobile users will spend 4 hours using their device per day. That number rises to 5 hours per day for US mobile users. When excluding hours needed for sleep, it becomes apparent that much of person’s time today is spend on a mobile device. Think about what else you do for 5 hours a day and it starts to put this number into perspective. It’s difficult to emphasize just how important mobile devices are to users and the range of activities that are accomplished using one.   

3 Billion

The internet is a tool that connects people around the world. The amount of people it currently connects is mindboggling. Global internet users is now at 3 billion individuals. When taking into consideration the amount of time people spend on the internet, and on their mobile devices, it’s impossible to ignore how important these platforms are for reaching audiences with your message. The delivery of your message should be designed for optimal distribution across all digital platforms because that is where your audiences are most likely to be looking for it.  

MULTIMEDIA

5 Screens

The Millennial generation grew up during the growth of easily accessible internet technology. It is a generation that speaks the internet language and is tech savvy, using two screens at once. What does a generation look like that came into this world with the internet already an integral part of day to day life? This is Generation Z and they use 5 screens at once. In just one generation we went from users being tech savvy to having an innate knowledge of the internet and mobile platforms, as natural an understanding as learning a first language. What’s more fascinating is that Generation Z communicates using images. Using the features that mobile platforms present users, Generation Z takes full advantage and communicates using visuals assets.  

3.25 Billion

The importance of multimedia as a communications tool has grown exponentially. Over 3.25 billion photos are shared each day on select platforms (snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook). As multimedia continues to grow as a form of communication, the number of photos shared will grow even higher. Multimedia is now expected as it is the normal site on mobile and social platforms. Communicating with multimedia is the new way to communicate.     

SOCIAL MEDIA

48% of Millennials 

Millennials are the largest generation in the US and knowing how to reach that audience is vital for all communications pros. Almost half (48%) of Millennials prefer to be contacted via the internet or social media. When compared with the previous generation, Gen X, whose primary choice is telephone or electronic messaging, it’s easy to see a transition in technology use. We are now fully in the digital age and future generations will be born into a communications-culture of internet, mobile, social and multimedia. 

55% of Pinterest Users 

Multimedia is ubiquitous and serves a purpose greater than just entertainment. Pinterest, a platform self-described as a visual bookmarking tool that helps users discover and save creative ideas, has evolved and the PR space needs to take note. According to Mary Meeker’s report, 55% of Pinterest users utilize the platform to find and shop for products. Multimedia is now an important tool in educating and converting potential customers and clients. Pinterest needs to be viewed as an example of how audiences are seeing visuals across the internet, and how visuals can be used to reach audiences around the world.  

Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report, and those that preceded it, show an overall trend that reflects how we communicate and consume, and how we will communicate and consume in the future. As technology, already integral to our daily lives, continues to develop, so will the way we use it. Multimedia is expressive and a quickly growing form of communication, with Generation Z already utilizing images and other visuals as a standard form of communication. Social media is also evolving, becoming so much more than what the individual platforms were originally designed to be. Facebook is a growing news source, Pinterest a place for consumers to learn about and shop for products, as well as other developments for Twitter, Instagram and more. The internet, and the platforms it offers invite users to innovate what it can be used for. Communications professionals need to learn from this report and build better bridges between brands and the public. These 8 figures show us exactly how to do just that. 

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