Photograph by: Patrick McHugh

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Visual Marketing – *The importance of images online

When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (Source)

Visual content can seem expensive, but in most cases the advantages far outweigh the initial financial pain. When investing in photography or video for online marketing, concentrate on your end goals…

What is it you are trying to achieve?

For most it is increased revenue and to boost annual turnover, for this to happen, you need to regularly engage with the public at large. Using relevant engaging visual content consistently on your website, social media or email campaigns will increase engagement across all demographics. People love great visual content.

“A picture is worth a thousand words”

Marketing experts live by the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” and for good reason.
Images are emotive and engage the viewer with a response, any interaction is priceless from a marketing perspective.

Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. (Source)

The use of images in web design continues to evolve, in the old days of dial-up internet connections, photos were used sparingly, some people even turned off images in their browsers to ensure sites would actually load! Do you remember that? It’s not that long ago.

Of course, improvements in internet speed have changed all that. Today, web designers often focus a web page around a “hero” image, a powerful page filling visual, that tells an important story in a split second.

In fact, professional sites now consist mostly of images and video. The driving force behind this change is the consumer, studies have shown how they like to scan the web quickly, scrolling through pages quickly. People are busy and quite often a little lazy. They want information quickly. Reading long paragraphs of text is much like homework. Like a newspaper, they like to turn pages until they find something interesting, we all know that is usually an image that catches their attention…

Some 65% of us are visual learners and statistics indicate that people process information conveyed by images thousands of times faster than information held in text.

Faster connection speeds now allow web designers to use more images, faster broadband has been worth its weight in gold from a marketing and eCommerce perspective.

Professionally produced visuals have a direct correlation with sales, they build trust and have better sales conversions, visually these sites appear better managed and established. Statistics show trust is a major factor in sales conversions. It isn’t rocket science, it makes perfect sense. If it looks like a professional operation you will be more confident your products will arrive swiftly without any issues.

There is a reason that 93% of the most popular posts on Facebook are images. As mentioned, our brains can process images much faster than words.

Visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. (Source)

This statistic indicates images promote a response from the viewer. Whether it is a “like”, a comment, or a share with friends, images are much more likely to promote a response than text. It’s the same with a website – imagery will encourage your visitors to browse longer, and with social share buttons, they have the option to share these images with friends on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

Images are the key to effective web design and customer engagement.

A web designer who fully appreciates the power of images can use them to great effect to influence and convert potential customers.

So how do you make images work for your marketing or eCommerce site?

Some ideas to enhance your website:

Choose a simple background. White usually works well to give your site a professional look as well as being a good canvas for images. Images on a white background tend to stand out clearly, drawing the customer’s attention to what is being sold rather than the site itself. Plus clean design will not ‘date’.

1. Multiple views

Don’t forget people need to see the product in the e-Commerce section, make sure and include multiple angles of the product, the front, side and back views at a minimum.

2. Gift Packaging:

If your products are shipped in gift wrapping or nice presentation boxes, photograph those! Stats show if someone can visualise themselves using your product they are more likely to buy it. So let them imagine using or giving these as gifts to friends and family.

3. The Equipment:

iPhone pictures will not cut the mustard.

Images of products should be as large as possible and should be engaging. Visuals need to be professional and be the highest resolution possible without affecting site speed – It also helps to use your own images where possible, rather than photo library images.

4. Graphics:

Now that images tend to take up most of the space available on pages, web designers have begun to place text over some images. This can lead to illegible text and distract from the image, try darkening the image, and use white text to help text standout.

46% of marketers say photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies. (Source)

5. SEO:

Images have a huge influence on SEO, for one they engage the viewer, encourage people to stay on your site longer, add more options like ‘calls to action’. Images also have very valuable ‘Alt’ tags, a great SEO tool – make sure you use them!

6. Google:

Remember also, google breaks down search results into image and video results. Make sure your images to show up in these results. If you have a visual product such as dresses or furniture, the likelihood of people searching googles image results or pinterest are greatly increased. Without great images, instagram, facebook, pinterest and other visual opportunities are lost.

Last Thoughts:

Images give you options in SEO, Sales, Story Telling and Social Marketing. A few years ago it was an open debate, is investing in strong visuals worth the return on investment, a little like Apple versus Microsoft.

We have more clarity today, images and video are crucial and are expected to take an even more prominent role online in the coming months and years. Develop a strategy for visual content production, your competitors have already begun.