In short, they are the ‘IT’ factor in content.
Visuals: Be it pictures, videos, GIFs etc., visuals play a key role in hooking up the audience to the content.
Visuals are like the cheat sheet to make anything look interesting, at least for the moment.
What possible reason can you think of behind magazines shedding fortunes on their covers?
It just takes a moment for a passerby to decide if they want to pick up the magazine or not. And the cover plays a key role in influencing that decision. This is what decides if the magazine would be the bestseller or just printed sheets stuck together.
This is the power of visuals. The value of impactful content and information can be deteriorated if it is not supported by visuals.
Moreover, we live in the world of smartphones, where it seems daft to be nostalgic about the days when information traveled through print and visuals were rare.
Probably, no one saw it coming that images would become an indispensable part of the system.
Now, the challenge comes down to creating a balance between the visuals and content. No matter how important visuals get, they always need content to back them up and vice-a-versa.
The deciding ratio of content and visuals depends on the topic, platform, target audience and purpose.
Just like a serious article would be expected to be text heavy, on the other hand, a write up meant for a light read would have more pictures to make it interesting to look at.
A picture always sails through the sea of words!