Cartoons Make Your Content Powerful

Cartoon 1

We all like cartoons. But did you know they also provide a powerful punch to any social media or content strategy?  In fact, according to many expert social media blogs, they are an easy to use but  surprisingly powerful force in engaging audiences of all types across any industry.

Cartoons are one of our oldest forms of visual storytelling. The first comic book was introduced in the early 1800’s, and it didn’t take long for advertisers to begin using them in their marketing and learning how effective cartoons are in getting customers’ attention.

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In fact, a University of California Santa Barbara study found that cartoons are 51% more effective than text in conveying a concept. By representing complex ideas in a fun, visual, and memorable way, cartoons are incredibly effective tools. (Fun fact – Did you know Dr. Seuss got his start in advertising?)

Ilya Spitalnik in a B2C blog, Why Cartoons Have Power in Businesssuggests one reason why cartoons work so well:

“Because our childhood conditioned us to accept cartoons as a non-threatening form of communication, we absorb their messages in adulthood in a very different way compared to the jaded “keep your guard up” attitude we typically adopt… By eliminating the critical thinking for even a split second, we are suddenly open to new messages.”

And before you insert that next unremarkable picture into your blog or on your Facebook page, consider this; research shows that 64% of people, when given the option, would rather share social media containing a cartoon than a standard stock photo.

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At Andertoons, we offer cartoon subscriptions that provide ongoing access to both timeless and trending cartoons. You and your company will have access to a constantly growing library of thousands of cartoons to complement your content. And you can use them in all sorts of ways including social media, email, and more.

Have a cartoon success story? We’d love to hear it! Leave a comment and let us know.

5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Cartoon Subscription

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost four months since we launched Cartoon Subscriptions here at Andertoons. The response has been amazing and people really love the all-you-can-laugh approach to using cartoons.

So I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some ideas to help you get the most out of your cartoon subscription:

Blog Cartoons

Blogging Cartoon

Blogging might seem downright stodgy these days, but it’s still a great opportunity for content marketing, and a great place to use cartoons from your cartoon subscription.

Instead of dropping in a boring stock photo, use a cartoon. Or try a weekly cartoon as a standalone post and save yourself some writing.

Facebook Cartoons

Facebook Cartoons

If your business has a page on Facebook and you’re looking to get some attention, cartoons are absolutely fantastic begging-to-be-shared bite-sized content.

In fact, a recent study showed that Facebook image posts generate 53% more Likes than text or links. The same study showed an 84% link click advantage when that link was posted with a image via Photo/Video versus links posted via Status. Wow!

Listen, I’m a little late to Facebook myself, and I can’t say it’s my favorite flavor of social media. But if you have a cartoon subscription, you should definitely be posting cartoons on Facebook.

Tweeting Cartoons

Twitter is perfect for cartoons, and the recent Twitter Cards make adding visuals to your tweets even better.

You can simply Tweet a cartoon like this:

Or, if you’re really clever, use a cartoon on your blog, Facebook, or Pinterest pinboard and drive some traffic back.

Here’s an example of a Tweet from Firefly Marketing pointing to a cartoon from Small Business Trends:

A nice on-topic cartoon for Firefly’s followers and some traffic for Small Business Trends. Awesome!

So, f you’re trying to figure out what to Tweet, don’t forget about all those cartoons in your subscription. After all, when you’ve only got 140 characters, the whole “a picture is worth a thousand words” thing really works in your favor!

Pinterest Cartoons

Pinterest Cartoons

With Pinterest being most visually based, it’s another great opportunity to use your cartoon subscription.

People love to Pin and share cartoons, so add a Pinterest button to your website and blog, post some cartoons, and watch the Pins (and links back to you) pile up.

Email Newsletter Cartoons

Email marketing is still incredibly effective when used correctly. In fact, it’s how I got my cartoon subscriptions off the ground.

Give people a reason to open and keep opening your emails from Constant Contact or MailChimp by including a cartoon from your cartoon subscription.

In fact, here’s a short video tutorial:

I’m sure I’ve overlooked a few opportunities (Tumblr, Flickr, StumbleUpon) but hopefully I’ve given you some ideas on ways you might not have considered to use those thousands of cartoons in your Andertoons cartoon subscription. And if you haven’t yet signed up, with plans starting at only $20/mo, what are you waiting for?

Research Shows 64% Would Rather Share a Cartoon Instead of a Photo

After testing over 300 participants, I believe I’ve demonstrated that cartoons are more than simple entertainment, they are potentially powerful social media tools when used correctly.

Why Do We Use Images?

To begin with, images are aesthetically pleasing. Great masses of text are fine, but a reader’s eye needs a place to rest. Images also help introduce, reinforce and clarify ideas. And if you’re concerned with SEO, image tags offer additional clues about your content. So while you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you don’t often see an unattractive cover on a bestseller.

Good visuals are important, and there’s no shortage of graphs, stock photos, and infographics to use. But I’d like to suggest an often forgotten or ignored visual to add to your repertoire, cartoons.

Cartoons are written off, I believe, because they’re funny. You’re trying to make a point, add to a discussion, or sell a product, and you’d like to be taken seriously. But you also want your efforts to be seen and, more importantly, shared. And cartoons have an inherent shareability that should not be taken lightly.

But while there exists much research and advice on why and how to use all kinds of other images, most of what you read about using cartoons falls under “people just like cartoons.” That is why I’ve attempted to measure the effect of cartoons on the sharing of associated content.

Cartoon vs. Stock Photo

Three tests were conducted comparing this stock photo, and this cartoon:

Cartoon Study 1

The photo was purchased at The color photo was resized and slightly cropped to 480 x 360 pixels. iStockphoto shows an initial upload of the photo on 6/17/11. It has sold more than 100 times.

The cartoon is from The grayscale image is 480 x 360 pixels. It was created on 6/22/10 and as of this writing has sold 51 times.

Each test showed participants the images and asked one question:

“Pretend you’re going to tweet one of these articles to a friend or co-worker. Which article would you be most inclined to share?”

I chose to administer the test, and to provide anonymous paid participants. There were no indications provided as to the identity or purpose of the tester. And while participants could be categorized as Internet savvy (being early adopters of Enroll), I believe they are also representative of the kind of person who would be an active and enthusiastic sharer of online content.

Test 1 – Photo & Cartoon Presented Together

The first test presented a generic blog page with dummy content. There were 110 total participants. 50 saw the cartoon image on top and the photo below, 60 saw the images’ placements reversed:

Cartoon Study 2

Tracking their clicks, those seeing the cartoon on top chose the content with cartoon an impressive 90% of the time. More interesting, however, is that when the images were reversed, those respondents still chose the content with cartoon over the photo 57% of the time, even though the cartoon was grayscale and further down the page:

Cartoon Study 3

Test 2 – Photo & Cartoon Presented Individually

The second test presented two similarly generic blog pages with dummy headlines and text. Each page was identical except for the inclusion of the photo or cartoon. There were 105 total participants.

Two A/B tests were created, one with the cartoon as the control and the photo as the variation, and another test with these positions reversed. Because I later discovered that the positions of the control and variation are presented randomly by Verify, I think it’s reasonable to present the data from both A/B tests combined.

Combining the two tests, 75% indicated that they would prefer to share the content with cartoon vs. the content with photo:

Cartoon Study 4

This test also allowed participants to enter comments afterward:

“Somehow the cartoon (vs. the photo) makes it more informal, which I associate with Twitter.”

“The cartoon adds value to the text content, where as the stock photo is basically just decoration.”

“It has the cartoon and the caption underneath and it was funny. It made me more interested in reading the rest of it.”

“The humour (of the illustration) is something that reflects my personality so I’d be happy to share it. The stock photography version is trite.”

Some respondents did of course choose the photo, most often citing color as a key factor.

One participant did make an unexpected and excellent point:

“…I think this test is flawed, because the test is about visual content and not actual textual content, and I’d only really share a URL based on the substance of its message, not its accompanying imagery.”

Although my initial idea was to nullify surrounding content to more accurately gauge image effectiveness, I wanted also to be as accurate as possible. So I administered one additional test:

Test 3 – Photo & Cartoon Presented Individually (Actual Text)

This iteration repeated the conditions of Test 2 with one important exception: I replaced the dummy content with actual readable content about presenting effectively.

With 106 participants, readable text, and positions of the control and variation images again randomized, I was impressed that 64% again said they would prefer to share the article containing the cartoon:

Cartoon Study 5

Comments after the test included:

“I like the stock cartoon a lot more than the generic stock photo.”

“I think the cartoon graphic is interesting, it adds more value to the theme of the article. Which relays more information to the user.”

“I prefer the cartoon. It has a more personal relation with the article than an overused stock photo.”

“The image seems more engaging that a stock photo that we’ve probably seen many times already.”

Cartoons Are Underused And Undervalued

While I do not wish to present cartoons as a sort of social media panacea, after three quite different test iterations and over 300 participants, I believe the results speak for themselves. The cartoon competed extremely well for attention, and was seen as more interesting, engaging, and shareable than a traditional color photo. The demonstrated social benefit of complementing content with a relevant cartoon is clear and compelling, and savvy marketers can be advised to add cartoons to their marketing repertoire.