When concepts get tough, content gets visual. Marketing diagrams are a fast way to explain complicated topics and tricky ideas. Nothing makes a muddy post clear like a good visual.
So for this post, we’re stacking up the best charts and diagrams from 15+ years of publishing digital marketing articles.
Here are 59 diagrams and charts that explain tough marketing concepts fast. We’ve organized them into four big concepts:
As you scan through, think about your own content and keep this in mind.
Would any of these diagrams improve an article you’re working on?
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The diagrams and charts in this section make content marketing concepts visual. Some are research, some are flow charts, others are simple tables that compare and contrast ideas.
This is one of many charts from our annual blogger survey. It shows the average investment of time in a single piece of content:
This is a more specific look at the same question. It shows how much time goes into which categories for a single piece of content for this blog.
Ultimately, content marketers do three things: create content, promote it and then measure results. Here is a top-view look at the funnel, showing how the three different promotion channels affect the funnel in different ways.
Search = Awareness
Google is a discovery engine. High rankings for a relevant phrase can have a dramatic impact on awareness.
Social media = Awareness and consideration
Social media also increases awareness, since it makes you visible to friends of friends. When they interact with the content, it indicates stronger connection and consideration.
Email marketing = Consideration
Email signup requires a higher level of trust. But when they subscribe, you can reach them consistently. You’ve moved beyond simple awareness and toward greater consideration and action.
Funnel stages can also be aligned with pages on a website. Here in one diagram, you can see which pages on a site align with the psychology of visitors on their path toward conversion.
Regardless of the traffic source, some visitors may subscribe, follow and link, which then helps power the next visit through email, social and search.
Eventually, a small percentage of visitors move through to the rest of the pages and a lead is born.
Traffic flows into websites through channels. Some require money (paid advertising) while others require time (content marketing). Some require ongoing activity (email and social) but SEO becomes a durable source of traffic over time. Together, they are the oars, sails and motors.
And of course, famous brands drive tons of direct traffic.
They require two different types of marketing. Understanding the difference unlocks quick insights into the types of content and calls to action that will work for any brand.
There are so many different content formats in digital marketing. Repurposing content is about moving the material from one format into another. This little chart shows all of the possible formats and triggers repurposing ideas.
If you consider those formats and their abilities to attract visitors and/or build trust, you begin to see the strengths and weaknesses of each format. With all of this in front of you in one diagram, you can strategically add formats to your content mix to drive specific results. When it works well, it’s like magic.
Speaking of formats, video is one of the most powerful and versatile. Videos have different outcomes, depending on where they are and who views them. There are really three types of videos, each aligned with a different stage in the funnel. This little chart explains.
Regardless of the format, success of a piece of content depends on how well it’s promoted. The best content doesn’t win, the best promoted content wins.
This diagram shows the cycle of promotion, which starts with research, before the content goes live.
With a great headline, promotion is easy. With a bad (or boring) headline, promotion is almost impossible. The key is to understand that the reader of the headline does a split-second cost benefit analysis before they decide to click. This chart explains.
Actually a headline isn’t one thing. It’s different things in different places. In email it’s a subject line. In search it’s a title tag. On the page is an H1 header.
The “headline” can be aligned with the opportunities of the location, depending on where it appears. This chart shows the various locations and success factors of each.
Zoom in or pan out. Cover the topic in detail with a long-form search-friendly post. Or stay high-level and cover a range of related items. Every topic in the universe can be organized on a fractal. You can find great ideas at any focal distance.
Some content makes a strong impact. Other content lasts a long time. Unfortunately, they’re usually not the same piece.
This chart shows the quality and longevity of various types of content:
Before we called it “organic influencer marketing” we just called it content collaboration. The idea is to include others in your content, through contributor quotes, roundups and interviews. It improves the quality of the content, but also the traffic.
Even better than including influencers is including your audience. When you involve your actual prospects in the process of content creation (interviews, contributor quotes), the post is guaranteed to reach its target. This is known as zero-waste marketing.
The charts in this section explain some of the biggest (and trickiest) concepts in social media. Some are obvious, others might seem new.
There are definitely three kinds of social media posts. They are never equal thirds in a social stream, but all great social accounts include all three:
This chart shows the goals and the tools for each.
This chart is taken from a page in Mark Schaefer’s Marketing Rebellion.
Mark didn’t use the term “Nano Influencers.” There’s some debate on the use of that term. The idea is that you can find influencers at all levels, and that anyone can be an advocate within their own networks.
Which influencers and which channels determine the outcome of the program. Some collaborations lead to traffic, others do not. Some can drive registrations and leads, most don’t.
This chart shows at a glance how different channels and formats support different marketing goals.
The “Links & authority” column in the chart above is an SEO thing. The ranking potential of web pages is partly a function of the links to that website and webpage. This is often called Domain Authority (more on that topic here).
Influencers are critical to growing Domain Authority. Bloggers and editors create content, content often includes links. This chart shows how influencers, when combined with link-worthy content, lead to rankings.
The cost for mentions and endorsements from influencers varies across platforms. And it’s gone up over time. Izea is an influencer marketing agency that has tracked these things since 2014.
This chart shows the costs of paid posts on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Instagram and YouTube. Although it’s not recent, it’s their latest data.
Some social networks have more spam than others. Which ones top the list? We conducted a survey of 1000+ social media users and crowned Facebook as the king of spammy social networks.
It should be obvious, but it’s not. Websites link to dead social accounts all the time. More common is for a website to include social icons to a social network where they drop links, but don’t listen or interact.
This simple diagram makes an important point: a site should only promote social networks when two criteria are met: they share content there consistently and they interact within that community.
Do a friend a favor and share this post and diagram. It’s a simple tip for the composition in headshot photography that will help them look more professional. A quick tour through LinkedIn shows just how many accounts seem to miss this basic idea.
This set of visuals all relate to SEO. There are a lot of deep concepts related to search. It would be impossible to teach this topic without visuals. There are some of the most useful we’ve created:
Every keyphrase indicates intent. And the strength of that intent varies widely. As searchers we are problem aware, some are solution aware, some are brand aware. In these moments we search for different phrases: KNOW, DO and GO.
If you need to explain SEO in ten seconds with one visual, this might be it. The two most important search ranking factors (and types of SEO) are authority and relevance. Of course, there’s more to it, but this is 90% of the game.
Just as there are different search ranking factors, there are different types of SEOs.
It may be helpful to think of them as farmers, hunters and miners. Virtually every SEO specializes in one of these three aspects.
You don’t have to be a full-time link builder to capture those quick wins. It’s simply a matter of listening and outreach. The listening involves brand alert tools. The outreach is just a simple request to turn that mention into a link.
All the best SEOs follow this basic flowchart. It’s called link reclamation and it’s a close cousin to PR.
It’s not helpful to target a phrase if no one is searching for it. It’s also not helpful to target a phrase that you have no chance of ranking for. There are really three criteria for selecting keyphrases. This Venn diagram makes that clear at a glance.
This is also about keyphrases and competition. Don’t enter a race if you have no chance of winning. More credible websites have exponentially more authority and have a chance of ranking for more competitive phrases.
The trick to winning is to know your own level of authority and then target keyphrases accordingly. This chart explains one of the most important, but least understood aspects of digital marketing.
There’s a shortcut in keyphrase research that can help anyone focus on the realistic phrases quickly. It’s to first understand that longer, more specific phrases are less popular, but also far less competitive. That means that you can often win with a lower domain authority just by targeting longer keyphrases.
Not all links are created equal. Smart SEOs and link building agencies understand link equity. They can estimate the value of a link (actual or potential) very quickly. It’s a skill that requires a complete view of both the source and the target.
Here are seven factors that determine the SEO value of every link on the internet.
If a page has sufficient authority, but still isn’t ranking, it’s usually a problem of relevance. In other words, the page isn’t sufficiently focused on the phrase.
By simply using the “find” feature of the browser, you can quickly see if a page uses any phrase, and if so, where. We do this all the time during conversations about content and search. It often shows content gaps in seconds.
Beyond authority and relevance, there is another important search ranking factor: what visitors do after they click on a search result.
This is often referred to as the short or long click, also known as low or high dwell time. This chart makes that concept visual:
Finally, the big picture. A lot of marketers are worried about their rankings. But rankings aren’t everything. It’s really the rankings AND the click through rate that determine traffic. And click through rates have been on a steady decline for years.
Why? Because organic search rankings have been pushed down by SERP features (images, maps, videos, products, people also ask boxes) reducing the likelihood that a searcher will even see a high ranking page.
Take a look at a side-by-side comparison for a single keyphrase over many years. The difference is dramatic.
Email is such a powerful and important channel. Once a visitor subscribes, they’ve given you permission to connect with them directly. No more giant tech company (Facebook, Google, Twitter) in the middle.
But email marketers often miss the little things that make a big difference.
Here are a few diagrams that explain these quick hits fast.
There’s the sender name, the subject line and the preheader text. These are the main factors in the open rates for email, aside from timing and deliverability.
Improving these three elements cost no money and takes very little time. Still, lots of email marketers fail at the basics. Compare the difference:
Here’s another simple trick. The mobile inbox may truncate subject lines after as few as 45 characters. With this in mind, make sure to include the most compelling or emotional words at the beginning of the subject line, in the first five words.
If the recipient doesn’t see the benefits, they’re unlikely to tap to open.
The battle to win or lose your next subscriber is fought in the sign up box. If you email signup box includes the three P’s, you’re likely to much higher conversion rates and faster list growth.
The diagram shows a signup box with all three P’s.
The analytics in your ESP (email service provider) only go so far. To connect the dots to website traffic, you’ll need to add campaign tracking code using a URL builder.
Once the tracking codes are in place, you’ll be able to see the post-click date (traffic, engagement and conversion metrics) from that email. Very handy.
These diagrams explain some of the most important web design and usability concepts, including conversion, which is the ultimate goal in digital marketing.
The percentage of visitors who take action on a website is called the conversion rate. There are a lot of factors. Ultimately, the visitor’s motivation must be greater than the friction.
This chart shows those opposing forces, clarity and confusion, and the goal of the website.
Getting the visitor to that goal requires that you first know their information needs (questions) and that you satisfy them by meeting their expectations (answers).
Next the page needs to give them reasons to believe those answers (evidence) without which the page is just a pile of unsupported marketing claims. Finally, give a clear path to conversion (action)
Here is that framework in one handy chart.
Every visit to every page starts with the same question: am I in the right place?
Some home pages answer that question fast. Others do not.
This little comparison chart shows some of the ways in which homepage design can be clear or confusing. Spot the differences? They impact both search rankings and visitor engagement.
Once they’ve clicked deeper and landed on a service page, it’s time to sell. The best service pages emulate a sales conversation. They use answers, evidence and calls to action, but there’s more to it. Does the page show the people? Is it optimized to rank? Are the visuals supportive or stocky?
Here’s an entire checklist for service pages in one diagram.
The testimonial is great effective supportive evidence for any marketing message. But there are a lot of ways to use them, some good, some not as good.
After 20 years of building websites, here’s what we’ve learned. Testimonials that include logos, headlines and pictures are more compelling. As a bonus, look for testimonials that include keywords. Good for SEO!
Every page has a visual hierarchy, whether it was intentionally designed or not. And color is one powerful way to guide the eyes through a page. Visual contrast is visual prominence. Colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel (known as complementary colors) have the strongest contrast.
Designers can leverage this contrast to draw attention to key messages or calls to action.
Beyond color, there are other factors that determine where the visitor looks. Position, size, whitespace and movement are all opportunities to align the prominence of elements with the priority of messages.
Which features are standard on websites? Which are just common conventions? A little research revealed the elements that are most and least common, from search boxes to slide shows.
And if you align some of those standards with best practices, you’ll see how they don’t always map together very well, as this diagram shows:
Every site has one, but some are so much better than others. This diagram is like a mini-wireframe that can help you align your About Us page with powerful storytelling elements.
Faces do two things: they are magnets for visitors’ attention and they humanize the website. When placed near a call to action, these forces combine in a way that can improve the click through rate to the contact form.
This diagram makes that difference obvious:
Our final collection of marketing diagrams are all about measurement. Analytics can be a daunting topic for readers. Visuals help the tips flow right into the brains and skills of the reader. The complex becomes simple.
Here’s a list of non-pageview interactions that aren’t typically recorded in Google Analytics.
Reporting vs. analysis. There’s a big difference. Reports don’t affect your marketing. Only actions do.
So the best marketers use Analytics to find insights and test hypotheses. Analytics is a decision support tool, not just a set of pretty charts. If you aren’t using it to make decisions, you’re doing it wrong.
Analytics isn’t the only source of insights.
There’s more to life than Google Analytics. It’s actually just one of many possible research methods. Here are a few examples:
Here is a chart of user research methods, showing a dozen of the options.
Ever wondered what a good bounce rate is? We looked at 500+ Google Analytics accounts and found the answer. The average bounce rate for websites is 61%
If you look closer at the traffic sources, you’ll see some variance. Organic traffic has the lowest average bounce rate. Referral traffic has the highest.
Bounce rates also vary across industries. Marketing and media are the highest.
This isn’t surprising since those sites often have articles and blogs. Visitors to articles often have very narrow intent. They came just to read that article. They’re less likely to visit other pages.
We’ll wrap up the section of Analytics diagrams with this one. It’s an example of how Analytics insights can be applied for better marketing outcomes.
Different pages have different opportunities. Those opportunities are all waiting to be discovered in every Analytics account. This chart is a summary of a content marketing audit framework, one that is powered by Analytics and focused on results.
I love writing. So many marketers love writing. A lot of content marketers are trained journalists.
But we all have to admit, visuals are amazingly powerful. They have some big advantages over text.
This is why we include an original diagram in almost every article.
This is why our book is The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing.
We can even show how images affect your rankings in search engines.
Who made all these diagrams?
Almost every diagram you see here was created by Jantzen Loza, web designer, photographer and Orbiteer. He is a key part of the Orbit marketing process. Huge thanks goes to Jantz the Snapper!
“Mind if I use some of these in my blog?”
Sure! Go right ahead. Please just link back to the source.
You are amazing! My go to guy.
A goldmine of beautifully delivered useful information, just like the Marketing Profs Masterclass.
Thanks for the great info! We are visual creatures, which means marketers can’t get results without implementing good images, so this post is super helpful.
OMG – brilliant!
Cool – now I don’t have to waste time putting together a PPT! Thanks Andy and Amanda – you guys are the best!
That’s what we’re here for. To do your homework for you! PPT complete!
This article is incredibly useful and beneficial. I am inspired as clarity was catered to me on a silver platter. Thank you, Andy!
Very Illuminating and practical. Mark Kolter/Kolter Creative Counsel
Andy Crestodina and the Orbit Media Team: Not only are you wizards, but you don’t hide behind the curtain! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, ideas and tips. I’m always amazed how your content infiltrates my brain and spirit. I love the process because it works. A new presentation will be on its way soon. I have a feeling that you will smile! Many thanks for your ongoing support and permission to re-purpose your ideas and visuals. Lynn Hazan
Thank you for the encouraging words, Lynn! It’s great how we’ve kept in touch, through content and events, for so many years.
I’m glad you’re enjoying these posts! Feel free to “borrow” any of them for anything.
What a great collection of wonderful graphics!
Thank you, Tracy! Credit goes to Jantzen on our design team. He made them all!
You are indeed the Master!!!
What are your thoughts?