Choosing the Right Image for Your Audience
Choosing the right image is the key to connecting with your audience.
You’ve probably had a fairly ordinary day up to this point. Maybe you started the day by scrolling through your social media feed, watching the news, or reading a newspaper. After a quick breakfast or a cup of coffee, you got in your car and drove to your office, getting there a few minutes ahead of schedule (because, let’s face it – you’re busy, and you might’ve sped a little. But just a little.) After arriving at the office, you were immediately swamped with work to do. But now, since you’ve found a couple minutes of spare time, you’re sitting at your computer or searching on your phone. You’re here, reading this article because you have a problem you need to solve – how do you advertise your product or service in a way that will connect with your audience?
Before I answer that question, let’s take a look back at the events of your day so far.
When scrolling through social media, you were probably looking to catch up on current events or with your friends before work. However, you also encountered a variety of ads. Which ads made you stop and hit like? Which did you scroll past? If you watched the news, which commercials made you cringe, and which caught your attention? Which articles did you read in the newspaper?
If you’re anything like me, on your drive to work this morning, you were in a hurry. We are busy, after all. For each billboard or sign you drove past, you only had a couple of seconds to take it in. Which signs do you remember?
So, back to the problem – how do you advertise your product or service in a way that will connect with your audience?
It’s all about choosing the right image. Here’s how you can do it:
make an impression
You’ve probably heard the cliché “a picture is worth a thousand words”, but did you know it actually has some scientific basis? People remember 65% of what they see, while they remember only 10% of what they hear. This is why photo advertisements tend to do better than text-based advertisements; our audience would rather look at a photo than read a description.
Whether you are advertising in print, on social media, or on an LED billboard, the image you choose to represent yourself, is an important decision. In a competitive market, the image of your brand is crucial. As consumers, we’d like to think that what we buy is based off of logical facts and comparisons. In reality, a brand’s “likeability” is what best predicts whether or not an advertisement will lead to sales.
Brands are not just faceless entities; in order to appeal to our audience, our brands need to have a personality. An authenticity. The image you choose for an advertisement is not just a photo – it is a picture of who your brand is. It is an extension of who you are and why you do whatever it is that you do.
avoid cheesy stock photos
When choosing a photo, first make sure that it is realistic. Seriously. You’re selling a feeling, not just a product. Advertisements with photos of unnatural situations don’t sell. Unrealistic photos don’t make you feel anything – except maybe uncomfortable.
Instapage, a marketing blog, has a great article about choosing the right stock photo for your advertisements.
If this was a shoe advertisement, the customer wouldn’t have any emotional connection to it – who decides between shoes this way?
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This photo is not directly related to shoes, but it does create an emotional reaction – picture what your life could look like if you bought these shoes!
Which of these photos makes you want to buy a pair of shoes? Hover over each photo for an explanation.
Next, choose a photo with faces. Why? Because of our psychology, we have a tendency to mimic emotions we see in others. We are hard-wired to seek out, recognize and create our own stories when we see a face (hence, the Man on the Moon). Have you ever found that when taking a photo of a friend or a group, you tend to smile yourself? A photo of smiling, happy customers will give your audience an emotional response to your product. Not only that, including people in your advertisement makes your company more personal.
Images with people are also the most memorable, according to this study. Take the time to determine, what story do I want to tell? How do I want people who see my image to feel?
What makes brands like GoPro, Starbucks, and AirBNB so successful on social media? They regularly, almost exclusively feature photos and videos by the people who actually use their products and services. This is known as user generated content, or UGC. According to Reevoo, “61% of people would be more likely to engage with an advertisement if it contained user-generated content.” When a prospect sees an image of another satisfied customer using your product or service, it leads them to trust your brand more. Not only does this reach potential customers, but it makes your current customers feel appreciated and seen by your company. It’s a testimony of its own. Imagine what would happen if they told everyone they know by hitting the share button!
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Longest day of the year means #SummerSolstice is here. Northern Hemisphere, are you ready to celebrate summer? Bring the heat. Submit your raw photos + videos to the #TripOn Challenge. ☀️ Link in bio. • ProTip: Summer days may be long, but action happens quickly. Freeze fast-moving subjects with Burst Photo Mode on your #GoPro. Select an interval based on the duration of the activity. 30/3s will capture 30 photos over 3 seconds - giving you the option to share that perfectly-timed moment. • 📷 by #GoProFamily member @travisburkephotography of @chelseakauai • • • #GoProAwards #GoProTravel #Summertime
This photo makes me want to buy a GoPro, and I already have a GoPro.
Just like you, your customers are bombarded with advertisements each day. But, if you choose a realistic image that your customers can relate to, you can create a memorable and meaningful advertisement.