Today, infographics churned out for viral attention are a dime a dozen. If you’ve ever searched for infographics, you know how difficult it can be to actually find one that provides the information you really want. Beginning in 2007, infographic posting steadily rose until 2012, when it peaked, according to Fast Co. Design. Since then, infographics have been on the decline, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re dead. Sure, they’re less ubiquitous than they once were, but they can still be an effective part of your content marketing mix.

Not Dead Yet

In 2014, 49% of B2B technology buyers ranked infographics as “very or extremely influential” in a technology purchase process. Additionally, B2B buyers are more likely to share infographics on social media than any other content type other than blog posts. These two statistics are good evidence that infographics are still an effective and viable content type. However, as streaming technology has improved, videos have become even more shareable than infographics. Overall, it’s not the content type that matters as much as it is the message within. No matter which content you create, it has to be relevant and engaging, and deliver value in some way. You should ask yourself what the goals of your audience are and whether or not your content helps them achieve these goals.

The Impact of Bad Infographics

One of the biggest reasons marketers sometimes claim that infographics are dead is because there are so many terribly designed DIY infographics out there, often made with Microsoft Word or Powerpoint, instead of professional image editing softwares like Photoshop or Indesign. While it’s true that anyone can make an infographic with some of the new “hands off” tools and software on the market, it’s also true that you get what you pay for. Using an automated software to create an infographic in 5 minutes isn’t going to turn out as well as an infographic carefully crafted by a dedicated professional designer. These are the types of factors that affect how people perceive the overall quality of the medium.

If you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, trying to build an infographic yourself can lead to a pointless set of images that provides no real value to your audience. By contrast, the best way to create an infographic that’s actually informative, relevant, and effective is to hire an infographic designer or an agency that understands the importance of presenting the right information in the right way. You can learn to do this yourself, but it takes time. The point is, taking shortcuts leads to an ineffective content piece and detracted from the overall value of the medium.

Good Infographics Go a Long Way

When done correctly, a well-conceived and properly-designed infographic can help you communicate your message to a wider audience. That being said, it must contain a valuable message so people will actually want to share it on social media; if it’s really a good message, major media outlets might share it too. Either way, infographics should not be dismissed as a content medium because they can still be effective when designed correctly.