My affection for infographics has reached the point that I’ve put myself on a diet in terms of blogging and tweeting about infographics. And I’m making an effort to check my enthusiasm for the recent burst of sites that are launching in beta (Google+ and Spotify being two of the most hyped examples).
I understand that the arrival of a new site to be explored and mastered in order to understand its place in the universe is not good news to everyone. Fatigue has set in. On the subject of infographics, specifically, some are saying enough with the infographics already. (For a more articulate discussion of how the state of the art of infographics needs to evolve, be sure to see a post last week by Jeremiah Owyang and the excellent comments to it.)
But having said all that (and mindful that I’ll be re-publishing my latest MENG post Five “Awe-some” Marketing Infographics from the First Half of 2011 on the Rock The Boat Marketing blog in a week or so), I just have to put in a word to you now about Visual.ly. Visual.ly is a site that launched yesterday as “the world’s largest community for exploring, sharing, creating and promoting data visualizations.”
I recommend it to you for two reasons.
1. For inspiration
Data can tell a story—especially the stories mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) marketers have to tell—better, as I’ve mentioned before. If you or your design team are struggling, this searchable collection will help.
An increasing number of financial firms are creating infographics (the latest I’ve seen is State Street’s private cloud environment), but more firms want to start and aren't sure how to.
In addition to the gallery it offers, Visual.ly expects to deliver a “push-button approach to visualization creation” by “instantly applying the graphics genius of the world's top information designers to your designs.” There’s a placeholder page on the "labs" capability today but it’s in the works, according to online coverage of the site’s launch.
2. To raise the profile of your work and thereby awareness of your firm
The infographics you publish on your site can attract links from other sites, more site visits, more page views and more sharing than if you were to publish the same information in narrative form. All that helps your visibility in the search engine rankings.
Visual.ly is offering to showcase your work by enabling you to upload your infographics and add to their gallery. This is an opportunity I hope that you’ll consider.
The site launched yesterday with slightly more than 2,000 visualizations, about 10% of which were posted in the Economy category. The top economic visualization has attracted more than 10,000 views at this writing and eight comments posted to Facebook (Visual.ly uses Facebook commenting). Wouldn't you want in on that action?
In 2008 and in the years following the economy's meltdown, it's been Mint.com who has innovated the use of data visualization to simplify complex topics. Mint has also found that infographics significantly drove traffic to its site—30 times the traffic attracted by a comparable text-based article. This is according to the bio of Visual.ly CEO Stew Langille, who was previously Mint Director of Marketing.
Mint is well represented in the Economy category on this new site, as are other online financial information providers. But asset management industry communications (example: the Rydex Modern Markets Scorecard) belong in this mix and in this conversation, too.
Of course, you’ll need to consider the risk/reward trade-offs. On your site, you control everything that a much smaller audience see. Participating off-site on Visual.ly will broaden awareness of your graphical work while subjecting it to social commentary. Can you and your firm both accept that conceptually and prepare to monitor, engage and measure? Promise me that you’ll at least think about this opportunity to syndicate your content.
Check out Visual.ly for yourself and see what you think about its potential as an aggregator of financial infographics.
Oh and by the way, I always thought I’d develop my Finfographics.com domain (financial plus infographics, get it?) but if anyone’s interested…