Many social media managers rely on stock photos to add interest and punch to their blogs and other online content. However, research shows that cartoons are much a more powerful option in terms of engagement and sharing. Small Business Trends reported on my analysis earlier this year in which three blog posts were A/B tested with the only difference being the inclusion of a stock photo or a cartoon. In that study 90% agreed they would prefer to share the content containing cartoons.
Cartoons are powerful because they provide a shortcut to a smile. That's why businesses and publications have been using them successfully in advertising for decades. Stock photos do add impact, but it is the sharing of a smile that make cartoons an especially powerful tool. Cartoons are more effective at clarifying complex issues, revealing simple truths we all share, and adding much needed visual interest and levity.
Also, for those of you who think that infographics are here to stay, take a look at this recent post by Moz's Rand Fishkin. He states that not only are infographics waning in their appeal, but “Google has said specifically that they're looking at algorithmic ways that they can work around infographics that get embedded that people didn't really mean to or intend to link back.” Conversely, he talks up the placement of visual media and points to cartoons as more compelling than photos or infographics. He goes on to say that cartoons are "incredibly popular and get picked up all the time."