As most publishers know, images on websites have a direct link to website monetization. Images get more people on your site in the first place, increase user engagement while they’re there, and make it easier to encourage readers to take the actions you want them to take. That’s because images correlate with brain processes. It’s how humanity learned to communicate before the invention of written language, and it’s the very first way we still learn to communicate when we’re first born.
Today, we want to take a moment and explore how images impact us in real life – from the choices we make every day to the stories we tell ourselves about who we are.
Images Impact Human Memories
According to the BBC, images have a very powerful impact on human brains. BBC shares a couple of studies that showed people photos of hot air balloon rides and get togethers with Bugs Bunny that never happened, and explained that participants later remembered these events happened in their childhood.
BBC also reports about a study where adults played a game together. Shortly after the game, researchers showed participants images “proving” their game partners cheated. The researchers later told participants that these images were fake, but many of the participants were still sure their game partners cheated – something they never brought up before seeing the images.
BBC’s explanation? Images cultivate trust, and we remember them longer than we remember the context in which we saw them. Therefore, even when we know a photo isn’t real, it can still impact what we remember and feel about a certain event.
Images Sell Movie Tickets
We all know movie trailers sell movies, and big star names don’t exactly hurt the efforts of bringing an audience to a movie theater.
But when FlickFilosopher, one of the oldest film sites on the Internet, asked its readers how much movie posters influence their decision whether or not to see a movie, almost half of its commenters said that a movie poster influenced them to see – or avoid seeing – a movie at least once.
Even people who aren’t usually convinced by posters remembered that one poster that had an impact on them.
The lesson to premium publishers looking for better user engagement and more revenue through images on websites? Make sure your images stand out of the crowd.
It’s especially important when you’re not featuring a known brand, such as familiar companies or celebrities. According to Content Marketing Institute, when Jaws first premiered in 1975, it had Steven Spielberg as a first time director and lead actors that weren’t that well known.
Therefore, Jaws relied on an image that provided strong visual storytelling – an image that was likely largely responsible for the movie’s success.
Restaurant Menu Images Increase Sales Even from Unlikely Buyers
As you can see, images don’t just drive website monetization. They drive offline monetization as well. One place where images have a direct impact on revenue is restaurant menus.
“In one Iowa University study, researches tested a digital display of a salad on kids at a YMCA camp. Campers who saw the salad photo were up to 70 percent more likely to order a salad for lunch,” reports Mental Floss.
iHop is one chain that went from a text-based menu to a highly visual one. Check out how they increased revenue:
Source: Bloomberg via YouTube
Just like in movies, for this to work, you need images that stand out. According to Mental Floss, cluttering the menu with images reduces user engagement, and therefore presents the risk of hurting revenue.
Car Shoppers Explore Images to Figure Out Which Car Fits Them Best
According to Think with Google, when people look for a car, they often ask themselves if certain cars are right for them. Companies that only feature text are losing out on potential revenue.
“Photos help people explore interior and exterior options and features. Search interests for ‘pictures of [automotive brand]’ is up 37% year over year. Perhaps sparked by what people see out on the road or in parking lots, 80% of these searches are happening on mobile,” reports Think with Google.
Of course, if you’re a premium publisher in the automotive niche, you can use images on websites you own to draw in more search traffic and user engagement. You can then use these photos to increase website monetization by adding in-image ads.
Images Help Shape People’s Identity
Nowadays, everyday people are publishing just as many images as premium publishers, if not more.
Some of them are more expected than others. For example, when you reach a certain age, your Facebook feed almost certainly gets flooded by documentation of an emerging generation.
And by an emerging generation we mean babies.
According to Mashable, a Ohio State University research claims that happens because new parents are trying to build their new identity – in their own eyes, and in the eyes of society.
“New mothers, in particular, encounter unyielding expectations about how they should behave, which can feel magnified on a platform like Facebook,” reports Mashable. So they post photos that portray a perfect family life.
Some even change their profile photo to that of their baby’s, to emphasize their new identity.
Parents aren’t the only ones who do that. Many people’s profile photo includes their spouse, to emphasize that they’re no longer just one – but a part of a couple.
Many of us also post photos of our trips, dinners, and time with friends.
We build our identities through images, and we also judge our lives by images people in our lives publish.
That, in turn, causes many people feel like their lives can never compare, while, at the same time, we feel closer to one another and included in each other’s lives.
To link back to the beginning of this article, some studies indicate that taking as many pictures as we often do in order to post on social media actually hurts our memories of events. However, we’ve already proven our memories are easily manipulated. Therefore, Jason Silva from Brain Games tells DNews that choosing which memories to publish is the empowering act in which we choose a memory narrative that best suits our current identity, or the identity we want to create.
Watch Silva’s full conversation with DNews here:
Source: DNews via YouTube
Want to Increase User Engagement and Revenue? Use Images on Websites You Own
The lesson is clear: Images are critical for premium publishers’ success. How will you visually stand out of the crowd this year?