By nature, people are visual learners and are attracted to images, especially the ones with people. Pictures and graphics are identified much faster than text. According to the MIT neuroscientists, human brain is able to process images even in 13 milliseconds. A photo helps to explain the story you want to tell your audience and can draw the eye of those scanning your Facebook page or website etc.

This is the reason why many media, information or lifestyle services, webpages etc. change their layouts, paying more attention to pictures. Their homepages look much different than a few years ago. Now you can see mostly big picture with a title and quite short description (article lead). It means that graphics, photos etc. are those elements that should intrigue us and encourage to read the whole article.

Most of people are visual learners (compared to auditory and kinestic learners)

13 millisecons - the time in which human brain can process images

According to the Chinese proverb – an image is worth more than thousand words. And it is true in the Internet, especially in social media. Posts with images have higher engagement rates than other post types.
It’s All About the Images [infographic by MDG Advertising]
Infographic
by MDG Advertising

Choosing the right image is even more important for adverts. But, what kind of pictures should you use to distinguish from the rest of ads and promotional banners?

Show people
It’s a well known fact that humans respond to faces and other humans. If you want to promote a product (like a hand watch, clothes) or service (music event, trip, local events like family picnics etc.) you should use that kind of images in your posts, adverts, articles etc. So that you will present how your product is used, how it works, or – for trips etc., what kind of attractions and views are waiting for your audience.

Emotions are great way of grabbing attention
Netflix conducted a series of consumer research studies, which showed that images have a great impact on its members’ decision on choosing and watching the content. Faces with complex emotions engage even more than those expressing i.e. stoic calm. That’s why people’s faces are used by many graphic designers and marketers etc. in adverts (billboards, press adverts, online banners, video ads etc.). This is very likely because of the fact that emotions communicate much more information.

Emotions are great way of grabbing attention

The more emotions, the more engagement
Netflix checked it by testing different graphics for the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt series. The one presenting more emotions was the most engaging one (the last one in the picture below).

The more emotions - the more engagement in the picture

There is an easy way to emphasise the facial expressions – you should use the power of a body language. Photos of people expressing their feelings, passions etc. with the whole body are even more engaging and dynamic. Moreover, people look more natural and reliable.

to emphasise the facial expressions – you should use the power of a body language

Not more than 3 people
According to the Netflix research, audiences are more drawn the picture with max. 3 people in it, especially when we talk about small graphic creations – like the ones used for social media. As it really works, Netflix follows this rule. And the easiest example is to compare graphics promoting next seasons of Orange is the new black series. Only the first season was promoted by graphics presenting most of the great cast.

audiences are more drawn the picture with max. 3 people in it

„Bad guys” engage more
… and comment is unnecessary here ☺

Let’s sum up – you should remember 3 main rules while choosing images to your adverts or Facebook posts or articles to your blog etc.:

  1. Show people…
  2. … who express emotions.
  3. Not more than 3 persons onone picture (especially those small ones).

Source: The Power Of A Picture – media.netflix.com