The agency quizzed 422 marketing decision makers across the US, South America, Europe and APAC.
Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of respondents to The State of Visual Communications in 2016 said that total marketing budgets this year had increased from 2015, and 66 per cent intended to spend more on visual content this year – with just three per cent planning to spend less, and the remainder keeping visual content spend at the same level.
In addition, 81 per cent of respondents said they could measure the ROI of their visual content – with the most frequent KPIs being number of views (used by 69 per cent of respondents), likes (50 per cent) and unique viewers (49 per cent), while just 15 per cent used click-through rates.
Graphic designs and videos were the most popular forms of visual content, and when asked what made this content successful, respondents listed great production quality (66 per cent), compelling images (42 per cent) and interesting storylines (39 per cent) as key criteria.
The majority of marketers questioned (71 per cent) relied on internal resources to produce this content. More than half also used external agencies.
Stephen Corsi, senior vice-president global of Lewis' digital marketing agency Lewis Pulse, said that "image-rich" content got nearly twice as many views as content without relevant images. "We believe that any successful company needs to rely less on words and more on images," he said.