Are your images right for your message?

As the saying goes, 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. But how true is this with online marketing? Are images just more clutter, or is the saying as true today in the world of online marketing as it was decades ago with offline strategies.

Images in Social Media

With the uprising of social media, images, particularly photos, have become a universal language. Articles with images can receive up to 94% more total view which isn't something to be overlooked. 

However a stock photo or dodgy illustration isn't going to cut it with this audience. With every company desperately trying to get a place on their feed and get noticed, you’re going to need something much stronger and unique to attract their attention.

If you can, use a high quality image which doesn't look like a generic stock photo, whether this means cropping a photo to get a different take on the image, using filters, or adding text - get creative to be different.

The best images for social:

  • The most successful image for Facebook Ads is of a smiling woman looking directly at the camera.
  • Odd or exaggerated images to get users to double take or share
  • Use an image bright and eye catching – even when viewed at a small size
  • Use your brand logo on some of the images to increase brand awareness
  • Be careful of using blue and white, these are Facebook's colours so your ad may be camouflaged
  • If you’re giving something away for free, have a few ads with this in bold on the image
  • People are suckers for animals and children, these are quite easy wins
  • Whether you’re a small or big brand, you want to be seen as approachable – be casual and not too stuffy

Images in email marketing

This is a very hot topic. Designers and traditional marketers may want to use many images due to aesthetic and brand purposes. However this can be quite damaging to your IP reputation, meaning all your big email clients (Gmail, Hotmail etc) will send these straight to junk believing your carefully crafted and tailored emails are spam. Not only this, but if someone doesn't ‘display images,’ will the email make sense and deliver the message you’re trying to get convey?

To put it out there – an email without images is less likely to convert. However, you can create bright bands of colour as the background of the email. This separates the information into sections which will be great for easy reading, deliverability and help make up for the lack of images.

The solution here would be to ask customers to add you to their ‘safe senders’ lists in order for you to land safely in their inbox, then you can go image crazy. But what happens in the real world and ideal world are two very different things.

If you do use images in your email design, make sure they really are worth a thousand words. There are certain tricks you can do to help people feel the need to click through your email to your website, for example by having the person in the image look towards your call to action button. Sneaky, hey?

Images in display marketing

You can take one of three tactics here, or spice things up and go for a mix.

  1. An image banner with words over the top
  2. An all text banner with bright background
  3. Alternate with a gif banner, which flashes between text / text and image.

The aim of the game with display is to fit your core message in the tiniest space (especially if you make banners for mobile) and get noticed. To add to this, you need to do this in a way that will make someone want to know more and click through to your website.

Yes ‘banner blindness’ is a thing. People are so used to seeing ads around the screen, people genuinely don’t even see them anymore. How do we fight this?

Carefully consider colour - your brand colours may seem obvious, but are they really are grabbing attention enough to lure someone in? Different colours can imply different emotions or have different connotations. For example, is red anger or passion? Is yellow cowardice or sunshine?

Make your CTA stand out – maybe put this in a contrasting colour, have arrows point to it, make it look like a big red button. Nobody can resist a big red button.

Only include important information – don’t overload your tiny space with info.

Include white space – for large ads you may have a little bit of space to play with, leave it. Don’t try to cram in a few more words, or images, make your existing message clearer and easier to understand at a glance.

So, images or no images?

As with anything, split testing is always the answer. The best bit about online marketing is that you can track everything, literally everything. Use this to your advantage; find out the most effective way to engage to your audience, the more engagement, the more sales, the bigger the ROI. 

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