What a wild ride it's been for the humble infographic.

The visual medium burst onto the stage in 2008 and jumpstarted an infographic frenzy that lasted for several years. But with every great rise comes a fall. Suddenly marketing and blog content was oversaturated with infographics, and they started to lose some of their impact. Meanwhile, new forms of data visualization--such as video and interactive visuals--were making their way onto the stage.

To some people, these trends have signaled a death knell for the infographic. In reality, it simply means the competition has gotten stiffer. There's no reason to believe the future of infographics is bleak--provided you take the time to make them beautiful and valuable to your readers. Here are five reasons why infographics should be part of your content strategy in 2017.

They can grow your audience

One study found content that includes visuals such as infographics generates 94 percent more views than content that is exclusively text-based; another found publishers that utilize infographics grow their traffic at a rate that's 12 percent faster than their infographic-less counterparts. That's due to several reasons:

  • Infographics are highly shareable (This helps explain why they're especially effective for growing an audience on social)
  • Infographics are accessible to almost everyone. You don't have to be a strong reader (or enjoy reading in the first place) in order to engage with an infographic
  • Modern readers are accustomed to visual assets and have the visual literacy to match. They expect content to include visuals and are less likely to engage with content that doesn't feature accompanying graphics

They provide readers with additional value

The name of the content marketing game these days is "value". Readers don't just want to be sold to; they expect the brands they associate with to enhance their lives in some way by providing them with unique and/or exceptionally detailed information, useful resources, and so on. Infographics provide an opportunity to deliver on these expectations.

For example, take a look at the mini infographics on this post about mattress size dimensions. Without the graphics, this post would simply be a textual description of mattress sizes, which would be pretty difficult for readers to translate into information that can serve them in their own lives. With the addition of the infographics, the post enables readers to picture themselves (and their partners) sleeping on the different mattress sizes--and that information can empower them to make more informed decisions when it comes time to buy a new mattress.

It seems simple, but going the extra mile to provide readers with visuals can demonstrate that your brand is truly invested in providing them with content that adds value to their life. And that can play a major role in attracting and retaining customers.

They're good for SEO

Because they are widely read, easily shared and linked, and can be highly tailored to specific keywords, infographics are good for SEO. High-quality infographics are especially well known for attracting organic backlinks, which help drive traffic to your site and establish your brand's credibility in addition to providing an SEO boost. Utilizing image keywords can offer an additional SEO benefit.

They help keep your brand top of mind

Human brains are hardwired to remember visuals over text. This programming is so strong that we can recall 65 percent of what we see in a given visual multiple days after encountering it. In contrast, we only remember around 10 percent of what we saw in a given piece of text. This means well-branded infographics can help keep your company at the forefront of people's minds for longer than regular copy sans infographics. Given this, it's no wonder 65 percent of senior marketers believe visual assets such as infographics are an essential part of communicating a brand's story.

They are easily repurposed

Investing in infographics is a cost-effective strategy for developing visual assets that can be repurposed in a number of ways. From posters, brochures, and trade show presentations, there's no shortage of uses for visual content. While your infographics are going to work for you online, they can also be serving you in other communication modalities.

For these reasons and more, it's clear infographics aren't going the way of the dodo bird any time soon. Still, the oversaturation of infographics in recent years means any brand looking to capitalize on their benefits will need to invest the time and resources to make them truly valuable to their readership.