Telling your story with powerful imagery
The old expression “A picture is worth a thousand words” is widely attributed to Frederick R. Barnard, who published an article commending the effectiveness of graphics in advertising, in 1921.
The same notion most definitely applies today in all forms of advertising and content marketing. The most impactful marketing approaches are memorable largely because of the imagery.
That is not to dismiss the importance of the creative that goes along with it – but in most ads, the image is the first thing that is noticed, and what draws the viewer in. The headline and accompanying text are often used to reinforce the concept of the image.
Some statistics to remember
Social Media is a perfect example – Snapchat and Instagram are ALL about the photos. Photos account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook. Posts on Twitter that include images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets, according to one recent study.
To make my point, I’ve created the graphic below with the same Twitter statistics listed above – which one is more memorable to you, the text in the previous paragraph… or the graphic below which includes imagery to accompany the same data?
The problem with Social Media is that there it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. There are so many of them to choose from – and so much information that’s being posted. For instance, millennials check their phones an average of 45 times per day. If you want to reach them, you need to stand out and be noticed – plain text just doesn’t cut it any more.
By far, the most retweeted Twitter posts are the photos that are posted. A perfect example of this is Ellen Degeneres’ Oscar night selfie. The image was retweeted over 3.3 million times, making it the highest number from 2015 (for obvious reasons).
You don’t need a room full of celebrities in the photo for it to be impactful though – any relevant photo is what makes the post memorable.
In another study, researchers found that an average person is likely to only remember 10% of what they read or hear 3 days later. If a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information 3 days later.
The same research found that on average, people only read approximately 20% of the text on an average web page – but they spend more time looking at images that are relevant to the text. With 80% of the text being overlooked on the web – it’s vital to use impactful images or infographics to make your story memorable.
Remember how difficult it was to decipher the instructions that come with your new furniture or appliance? Imagine how much more difficult it would be without diagrams or illustrations…
People following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations.
Content that includes relevant images receives 94% more views than content without relevant images.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Stock Photography
There are hundreds of stock photography sources available – and you’ll find many of the same images across all of them. This is definitely one of the drawbacks of using stock photography.
If you pay close attention to the ads you’re seeing and reading, chances are you’re going to see the same photo advertising another product at some point. It’s inevitable, and the price you pay for purchasing an inexpensive stock photo.
However, if you’re working on a limited budget, a relevant photo purchased from a stock house is certainly better than not using any photo on a full page of text, so there is a trade-off.
Custom Art and Photography
If you want a truly memorable experience for your potential clients, there is no better way to stand out than to hire a professional photographer or commission a custom piece of art to tell your unique story.
Creating a unique visual virtually guarantees a direct connection between the message and the imagery. When done right, the creative lasts far longer than the ad campaign.
Below are just a few of the iconic images created to sell a product or reinforce a story – beginning with the Thomas Nast original depiction of Santa Clause – right on up to the more recent depiction of President Obama for his campaign posters.
Whether you love them or hate them, all are memorable and still recognizable at a glance. Because of their unique qualities, they’ve withstood the test of time, and are still iconic and memorable.
So the next time you are posting on Social Media and want to “go viral” – be sure to include an interesting photo or video. If you’re trying to sell a product or service, or creating a marketing campaign, be sure to illustrate your point with an appropriate photo – or better yet a custom piece of artwork.
A picture really is worth a thousand words – feel free to browse some of my photography, illustrations and paintings for some examples of memorable works I’ve created throughout my “illustrious” career!