It’s a fact (but maybe not a surprise) that our attention spans are decreasing: A 2015 study reports that the average human attention span has decreased by 4 seconds in the past 15 years. What’s a content marketer to do?

Get visual. Research shows that the human brain actually processes more information when it’s presented in a visual format (more processing = more attention). Not coincidentally, web content featuring images gets 47% more clicks than plain-jane text does.

All of which makes the infographic a vital content marketing tool. Effective infographics don’t just look pretty; they put dry numbers and stats in context and illustrate meaning. Numerous web apps (like Pictochart) promise to do this instantly, but I’ve yet to see one automate the creation of interesting connections and custom-branded graphics that convey a compelling story with a great flow.

Data alone doesn’t provide new insights; it has to be analyzed, condensed, and organized to fuel eye-catching information design. Bar graph and pie chart formats don’t deliver interesting stories unless they’re supplied with an engaging but concise narrative. Many app-generated infographics lack a good story and (to make things worse) have a generic, soulless look and feel.

Information overload is nothing new, but with the rise of fake news it has become even harder and more tiring to locate truth. Well-researched, focused infographics—not app-based imitations—can capture our precious attention and help us decipher fact from fiction.

What are your thoughts on the power of infographics? Let us know on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Dan Rosen, Art Director