Or why would you create an infographic when you could create a video?

You’ve seen them. They’re everywhere. Chances are, if you have anything to do with marketing or sales, one or a million infographics have crossed your path recently. Infographics have experienced exponential growth over the past year. Why? Well people absorb data better visually and can more easily understand stats presented visually than in a paragraph of text. We live in a visual age; is it any wonder that Pinterest has rocketed to the top of social networks so quickly? It’s because it’s all visual.

Herein lies a fine line. Some data is just too unruly or isn’t organized cleanly enough and the infographic becomes confusing or misleading. People creating infographics sometimes try to cram too much information in and it just ends up making you scratch your head rather than understand the data. You may have seen one yourself recently.

Recently I saw one profiling the top cities in the country where smartphones where either lost or stolen. What is that combined graphic telling me? Do those cities have a high crime rate or just really forgetful people who live there? Another recently claimed that “14% of all moms are mommy bloggers” which seemed astoundingly high. Upon further research, they pulled the stat from a survey which defined “mommy blogger” as “any mother who had read or contributed to a blog in the last 30 days”. Regularly writing a blog and reading a blog are very different things. The point is an infographic is supposed to break down stats so they are easy to consume and share. When you try to cram too much data or text information into any infographic it will get confusing.

Then there’s the infographic about the state of online video. There’s a lot of fantastic data in there along with the accompanying research report and it’s very well done, but when you’re talking about online video, why wouldn’t you make a video? Why not extract a lot of that text out of the infographic, script it into an entertaining voice over, and then set motion to those graphics to really tell the story and entertain the viewer?

With video you have the opportunity to entertain and really capture the audience experience. With an infographic that data is just a static image, interpreted by the viewer however they choose to read it. With video, or an explainer video, you can truly visualize a message by adding motion effects to the graphics, music and a voice over providing a more entertaining delivery of information. You can also explain complicated data more efficiently with the help of moving visuals and audio to tell the story simultaneously.

A slyly humorous infographic about sex and hygiene made the rounds on all the social channels a few months ago. But what if the creators had created a video version complete with some “applicable” music and a very cheekily delivered voice over? What potential viral reach could it have achieved?

So do I think there is a place for infographics? Yes. They are a fun way to visually convey very simple, top-level facts and figures. However designers and marketers creating them need to remember it is a one-dimensional static image. Don’t make it something it isn’t by trying to cram too much text and graphics into the design. If you truly want to make the data easy to understand, fun and easily shareable; then you need graphics combined with movement and audio to completely tell your story in an entertaining and more effective way. If that is your goal, then an explainer video is the way to go.



Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts