12 Clever Ways Images Can Drive Increased Conversions
People love photos, and there’s no better place than online to see them. About 220 billion images are now being processed by Instagram alone. Every month, over seven petabytes – that’s a LOT of bytes- of new images are uploaded to the social network. And it’s not Instagram. We’re seeing a proliferation of images, including on other social media, news sites, blogs, and e-commerce sites, all over the internet. The Internet has become a medium that is genuinely imagecentric.
For online marketers, images hold a lot of power. That’s because they have the potential to dramatically increase conversion rates for a few different reasons. First, the internet has evolved from a textcentric medium to an imagecentric one in recent years and people now expect an image-rich experience. Second, most people prefer to consume images as opposed to text, and they often remember more about them too. Third, images can be a subtle, but powerful cue to guide people’s behavior.
In terms of their significance, photographs are often a marketing afterthought. They are commonly seen as something that has little or no effect on the goals of marketing. In addition, there are few, if any, real guidelines on how to increase conversions and sales using pictures.
As a consequence, the procurement, selection and placement of photographs is often LTTD (left to the designer) for an online marketing program or campaign, and not factored into any customer conversion efforts. Which in the now very visual world of online marketing can be a huge mistake.
How can you make better use of images on your website, across social media and in general marketing materials? Read on to find out.
Tie Images to What You Sell
Different businesses market different goods, services and products, and the imagery they use should reflect that.
Retail marketers should always try to tie photos to the product or service they sell. To use a basic example, e-commerce businesses should use a catalog design metaphor in product images.
A for-profit educational institution may be a somewhat more complicated example. The business should show try to show, via photos, lots of happy students who are enjoying their studies and, essentially, supporting the ‘product’, as seen below from Niagara University:
Tailor Images for Your Specific Target Audiences
Another marketing best practice is tailoring photos to your target audience. Among the demographic characteristics that decide how someone will react to a specific image are gender and age.
When a picture of a man in a swimsuit is shown, women pay more attention to the man’s left hand than men do. It is suggested by researchers that women are searching for a wedding band. And a major eye tracking study focusing on online dating profiles found that men first and foremost evaluate the profile image of a woman, while women spend the most time on specifics of the text-based profile.
Only Use High Quality Images
Historically, landing pages have been the domain of poor quality images. The most popular example of this is bad stock images. However, in recent years, a number of internet companies have really pushed the envelope as part of their marketing campaigns to use high-quality, more innovative and interesting images.
The explanation is simple: high-quality photos generate the impression in the customer’s mind that the product or service being offered is of a higher quality. That in turn leads to higher rates of conversion.
Feature Your Customers
When they represent the target consumer, images are often more successful. Showing clients using your product or service is one of the more powerful image-based conversion strategies you can make use of.
This is because the tactic helps a prospective customer to imagine themselves using it, an exceptionally strong psychological cue. It also provides a form of social affirmation where the prospective customer is more likely to purchase because they assume that the product or service is already happily used by other people like them.
Evoke Emotions With Images
Most products and services are intended to elicit an emotional reaction from the target consumer. That’s because the emotion at the point of conversion that someone experiences is often the guiding force as to whether or not that person will convert.
Marketers should use photos that reinforce the emotion that the item is meant to elicit. Tech security firms, for example, often use imagery that is linked with uncertainty or direct attacks on the systems their products are designed to protect.
Make Better Use of Faces
Good designers have known for years now that showing faces next to crucial calls to action increases conversion rates.
Adding a (good) headshot of a customer service rep to the “contact help” button or 1-800 number on a web page will boost conversion rates by up to 20 percent. In an attempt to push extra activity and views on their pages, social media sites have long used “face piles”.
In particular, marketers should use photographs of individuals and headshots to humanize their calls for action and conversion. But they should always be high quality, genuine looking images. Using the same stock images as everyone else will not have the same effect as pictures that look ‘real’.
Use More Detailed Images
Images are an excellent way to show a lot of informative details in a way that is easy to absorb.
Images can play a critical role when a conversion depends on a user knowing the details of a product or service. Marketers should provide multiple views of the product to clients. Using a zoom function or a digital loupe may be an efficient technique for displaying detailed images in certain contexts.
And even data products such as books and white papers are well-supported by comprehensive images. In this scenario, the availability of an easy to consume table of contents and a visual extract will greatly increase conversion rates.
Guide Customers With Your Images
In order to maximize conversions, marketers can use a strategically positioned image that is literally directing the prospect ‘s eyes to the conversion point, whether it is a product placement, button, shape, or navigation option.
This is often done by using a person’s photo (the “hero shot”) and ensuring that individual is looking at the section of the web page that the target audience needs to pay attention to, naturally leading the user to look there too.
Don’t Use Confusing Images
Confusing, hard-to-understand images befuddle prospects and potentially generate the impression that it might be hard to use a product or service.
It should come as no surprise that a number of studies have shown we prefer easy-to-consume information. Subjects who read an exercise routine in a difficult-to-read font, for instance, predicted that the workout would take almost twice as long as those subjects who read clear, larger font instructions. Importantly, those shown another version that included images of people performing the moves involved in the routine were far more likely to try it themselves.
Given that we like things that are easy to understand, marketers should understand that higher conversions can be powered by clear, simple pictures. Selling a frying pan? Show someone using it. And so on…
Do bigger pictures boost conversion rates? In many instances, they appear to, particularly when it comes to “hero shots,” the central image of a landing page, and call-to – action buttons.
A large image offers a number of advantages that lead to higher rates of conversion. They appear to be more effective, easier to understand, and elicit a stronger emotional reaction. They don’t need to fill the page, just be large enough to catch the eye and not lead to users having to squint to see the details.
Buttons Are Images Too
So many marketing teams associate images with just photographs. It’s important to note that there are also other forms of images.
An instance of a critically important type of image is buttons that represent a call to action. They have the ability to produce triple digit improvements in conversion rates when properly designed. Proven strategies for improving click through rates are using the right color, using big buttons, and positioning them next to a clear call to action.
Use the Psychology of Color Wisely
An image’s primary color(s) can have a material effect on conversion rates. Some colors elicit people’s emotional reactions more than others.
For example, for buttons on landing pages, green and red are two commonly used colors and for good reason. Both elicit more intense reactions from site visitors and offer two perfect options for marketers to test for efficacy.
In fact, two almost identical landing pages were tested by Hubspot, where the only difference between the pages was the submit button color. The red button exceeded the green button by 21%.
As you can now see, images of all kinds can have a significant impact on your conversion rates. That’s why they should never be used as an afterthought, but instead integrated into your conversion planning and included in later A/B testing. A 21% jump in conversions just because a button color changed? Stats like that should not be ignored!