We’ve been talking about the increase in the popularity of pictures and video content for quite a while and we’re now starting to see how some of our favourite social networks are preparing themselves for a world where images are the main driver for content and sharing.

The most talked about developments come, of course, from Facebook who earlier this year not only purchased instagram, but also released the Facebook Camera app which allows for better and faster photo sharing on the network. The app has yet to rock anyone’s world and in my opinion is fatally flawed but Facebook needed to address this area of its mobile offering to ensure users could upload photos to its site when they were out and about.

Alongside the app development, Facebook implemented the new Timeline layout which makes better use of images from the users account and creates a more visually appealing log of activity.

But Facebook isn’t the only one making changes to bring images into the fore. Google is working on developing its recognition of images and video in web content and improving its search results to display relevant content more prominently.

However its image recognition tool launched last year has failed to create much interest past the initial buzz, which is a shame as it’s quite a handy and innovative little widget. Perhaps the growing popularity of image based content will bring tools like this back into play a little more.

And of course we are inundated with the infographic, a personal favourite of mine. Having always been a hater of reading long boring reports and stats, the infographic has been my personal savior and the number of tools professing to create easy and simple infographics without needing a design degree is growing daily.

And of course sites like Pinterest, Buzzfeed and are capitalising on this and making a living out of meeting our ever growing desire for pictures we can share and talk about.

But it makes sense when you look at some of the stats, (presented visually of course). Having images in your content significantly increases the percentage of clicks and shares compared to content that does not contain images. In fact, content containing relevant images see a 94% increase in visits than those that don’t. The infographic below outlines some useful evidence for the integration of rich media in any content. Images encourage interaction through comments or sharing or just encourage users to click through to your content. It’s a no-brainer.