How Imagery Drives Digital Marketing

PrintAre you using great visuals to attract more customers? Humans are visual creatures and an estimated 60 percent of people learn and remember information best through their eyes. When it comes to marketing, it’s about how to tell your story well. When someone sees your ad or lands on the company website, you have little time to share your message. The fact is, good imagery gets your message across quickly.

Larry Kim of estimates 84 percent of communications will be visual by 2018. A Facebook executive has disclosed he believes the social network will be mostly video within just a few years. Syndacast agrees with this prediction, suggesting that 74 percent of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. This means, if you want to get noticed, your company cannot ignore visual communication.

I’ve read the average person is distracted in about eight seconds.  When it comes to online viewing, I believe that it’s more like less than two seconds. Don’t you agree?

Most people only read a headline, and a few studies suggest a majority of people don’t get through more than 25 percent of an article or information on a web page. This makes a good storytelling with visuals all the more important.

The numbers add up. According to many studies and tests; social media, websites, and online advertisements outperform using imagery than text alone. For example: according to web authority BuzzSumo, images added to a Facebook post earn 2-3 times more engagement than text posts alone.

When I work with clients, I follow a process I like to refer to as New Market Hacking. There are four pillars to the process: the development of awareness, traffic, conversions and retention. All four of these areas need attention for a well-rounded marketing campaign.

Your logo is your brand’s visual identity. However, your logo is not your business. It represents your company’s reputation. You can do the same with supporting imagery. Once you discover a style of imagery that works for you, find or develop more images that help carry your message.

When I develop brand awareness online, I like to use display ads. Why? Because, although they receive a lot of views, people don’t click on them. Some may not even notice the ads alongside their favorite blog or news source for a while. However, a strong image starts to grab attention over time, and those who connect emotionally with the message become customers.

According to, a social sharing service, visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. This is important when trying to place your story in front as many people as possible through social networks. The social platforms, including text-focused Twitter, now make it much easier to share your images and video — compared to a few short years ago. According to BuzzSumo, Twitter posts are shared three times more when a photo is attached.

Driving Traffic
Another interesting statistic; articles with an image once every 75-100 words receive double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images—according to BuzzSumo. When people share your work, it earns more traffic. Google and other search engines appreciate articles with illustrations, photographs and videos to help give support to the value of the page.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a powerful source of traffic to my websites. However, text is not the only way to earn traffic from the search engines. Well-optimized visual content can lead to traffic from sources such as Google Images or Bing Video.

After all your work to develop awareness and traffic to your website, the most important thing a visitor can do is convert. A conversion is anything you wish it to be, such as signing up for a newsletter, downloading information, a request for more information or a direct sale.

Adding great images to your web page is helpful. However, embedding a video on your website landing page increases conversions by 8 percent, according to People are 85 percent more likely to buy a product after viewing a video, according to Larry Kim of So, make sure to have relevant images on your page, and consider a video to help close the sale.

Now that you have customers, it’s important to keep them. Email is an excellent tool for retention. Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19 percent, click-through rates by 65 percent and reduces Unsubscribes by 26 percent. Of course, this means you need to have a good video that captures the attention of your audience and makes them happy they opened your email. If not, you may find lower open rates in the future.

Social media is helpful for customer service and retention. The most important key to good customer retention is communication. Offering videos through YouTube and embedded on your website helps to answer common questions; photos showing how to do something or demonstrate results gives customers confidence in your product or service. New applications such as can serve to develop a community around your product or service, using visual communication tools.

Selecting an Image
Before you select your images or create a video, think about the message and the story you are trying to convey. Studies back up the common sense idea that your message, as well as your imagery, must be relevant to your prospect for them to engage. Consider your first reaction when you see the images you discover or create: is it the reaction you want from your prospect?

Finding the right image for your campaign is important. However, you really never know which image works best, until you test. This is why I like to A/B test images on a smaller scale first, before launching a large campaign. In some cases, placing an image in the wrong section of a web page can hurt the web page conversion rate (sales). When you use the right image, it can dramatically improve campaign success.

The Nielson Norman Groups showed that using detailed photos are more attractive to the viewer than generic stock photos. This seems to be truer for e-commerce websites and catalog pages. However, it’s important to note that stock photos are designed to sell more stock photos, especially if they are inexpensive. If you see a stock photo that appeals to you, check to see where else it’s being used first by dropping a copy of it into Google images.

Another point to consider, according to Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs researchers, sharing photos that show faces receive 38 percent more “Likes” than photos not showing faces. The researchers also discovered that the number of faces in the photograph, their age or gender didn’t make a difference.

Create Your Own Archive
There is nothing wrong with creating your own images and video. In many cases, Do It Yourself (DIY) imagery works best. Again, back to testing. Facebook is an excellent location for casual or candid imagery. At the same time, YouTube has seemingly increased its focus on higher production values.

We all have smartphones with good quality photography and video. Capture images that may resonate with your audience. Keep a file on your hard drive which you can review when looking for imagery for blogs, ads or social media. It’s helpful to have an archive of people photos. However, for legal reasons, it’s important to have signed releases from all employees and subjects who appear in your marketing and advertising efforts.

The Future
Imagery doesn’t stop at photography, video and illustrations. Augmented reality and virtual really are developing quickly as useful visual story telling platforms. Imagine guiding prospects through your plant, or demonstrating your process as if they were there. The concept of immersion story telling is powerful. You can upload a 360-degree video to YouTube and share it with people who use VR goggles via your website. The tools are available now and relatively affordable.

All forms of visual story telling are on an upward path. The rise of Instagram and Snapchat has taken attention away from other media sources. It’s time to take imagery seriously, budget for it, and don’t consider visuals a cheap after-thought. The right image strategy offers great return on your investment.