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Statistics tell a story of a society that is fixated on images and moved to action by their very existence. Each year HubSpot publishes a consolidated a list of sourced statistics about visual content divided into among others, general statistics, social media, and video:

General Statistics

  • Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. 
  • 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.

Social Media

  • Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. 
  • Articles with an image once every 75-100 words got double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images. 

Video

  • Shoppers who view video are 1.81 times more likely to purchase than non-viewers.
  • Eye-tracking studies show Internet readers pay close attention to information-carrying images. In fact, when the images are relevant, readers spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text on the page.

But why? Well, for one, it requires very little effort on our part. A team of neuroscientists from MIT have found that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees in as little as 13 milliseconds. Additionally, words are processed in our short-term memory while images are processed in our long-term memory. And, this effect increases over time. Shift Disruptive eLearning shows a study finding that after three days, a user retained only 10-20% of written or spoken information but almost 65% of visual information. Another study showed that an illustrated text was 9% more effective than text alone when testing immediate comprehension and 83% more effective when the test was delayed. This all makes sense seeing that as a species, we’ve been processing images much longer than we have words.

Another factor is sensory marketing. The rise of content marketing has embraced the power of story, and in storytelling it’s natural to give the reader a true sense of what something looks, feels, smells, or sounds like. This sense of being there triggers emotions which lead to actions. According to an article titled, “The Power of Sensory Marketing in Advertising,” researchers say that sensory marketing has a relationship with another emerging field called “embodied cognition” which supposes that “feeling guides thinking.” Researchers found that the way a product is positioned, for example, can actually increase “purchase intention.” Evidence has it that people tend to purchase when they experience mental simulation. A study showed that when right-handed people viewed a photo of a bowl of soup with a spoon on the right side of the bowl, they had a higher purchase intention because they could conceive of interacting with it. Conversely, when the spoon was placed on the left side of the bowl, the product was seen as undesirable and purchase intention declined. Research also shows that purchase intention tends to increase when images move because the image stays around longer which results in higher engagement and a more favorable opinion of the brand.

It appears as though we’ve successfully leveraged our very long history of processing images in order to move people to action. By combining basic science with the power of sensory marketing we have created a formula by which we can get to the very root of personalization. Statistics show that close collaboration among your graphic designers, writers, social media, and tech staff can yield some impressive results. Now that we think about it, relevant images coupled with personalized copy driven by technology just might be the Holy Grail of marketing. 

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With offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, Ca., New Target provides digital strategy, digital marketing, web design, web development, branding, website hosting, and creative services for prominent nonprofits, companies, and government.