Better images for businesses

There is growing recognition that better visual experiences attract more customers, and commercial photography has a big role to play in many businesses.

In this post, we look at some of the frequently asked questions about how businesses can get smarter in their approach to their commercial photography.

What are marketing images?

Marketing images are commercial photographs; the photographic images that businesses use on their websites and on their advertising and marketing material, including, banner ads, brochures, catalogues, apps, company reports and press and poster advertisements.

What does a marketing image consultancy do?

Eposure work with ambitious businesses that want to make sure that every single one of the assets they create is working as hard as possible to meet the company’s commercial goals.

These are businesses who recognise that the photographic images they produce and buy are a valuable business asset.

Specifically, we make sure that the images that a business is using in their business, and for its promotion, are working hard and effectively to back up the company’s brand values, is maximizing the customer experience, and is effectively helping that company sell more of its products or services.

Why is this important?

Images are a huge component of many businesses assets. If you just consider online images, a recent data collected by HTTP Archive showed that the average web page size is 1.28 MB, and around 61.5% of that data is comprised from images – and a substantial percentage of this will be photographic images.

Making sure that photographs have a clear purpose within the design and build of any content, either within digital or traditional print-based formats, such as catalogues, can have a significant impact on a businesses performance.

Aren’t businesses doing this already?

Some are of course. But many more aren’t.

We’ve worked with many businesses who rely on using photography in their business, and a typical marketing production processes includes leaving the photographs to the end – well down the pecking order. Surprising, seeing that these images are often the products that these companies are actually selling

It’s very common for websites and catalogues to be designed with little thought for how the images will be best presented, and spaces just left for the images to be added at a later date.

This creates the potential for real disconnect with the synergy of the overall message. Don’t forget, the consumer consumes the full page together – and forms their overall opinion almost immediately.

The siloed approach to images and other content, disrupts the efficiency that companies are trying to achieve through UX with their websites, or brochure design for their catalogues – in creating a seamless journey to point of purchase, within the shortest amount of time possible.

What do consumers think?

There is very little research into consumers’ attitudes to photographic images. So little in fact, that we are in the process of conducting our own survey to get some answers to this very question.

Whilst the number of people who have completed our survey is relatively small, (150 after two days of publication, but still growing at the time of writing) we’re getting some clear trends emerging even at this early stage.

Once we have a larger respondents pool we will be publishing the results in detail, but the most interesting finding we’ve had so far is that 79% of our respondents had decided not to buy something online, because the image wasn’t good enough.

Can any business really afford to risk this, in a world where online shopping, and therefore competition online is intensifying?

Is there any science to this?

Eye tracking studies are another way to measure the interaction between customers and images.

Some well-known examples from Norman Neilson Group showed how respondents ignored images that gave them no relevant information, but engaged clearly with images that were well thought out and put together.

This example from an article in the New York Times shows results from eye tracking research for Amazon.

Each images is virtually the same, in the sense that it is not giving the view any meaningful information about the product. Interestingly this can create a bigger reliance on price as a differentiator by viewers, because it is one piece of information that the viewer can easily find on the page.

By contrast, this site sees images working much harder. Of course it depends on what a business is trying to do with its images, but in this example, they are clearly having a marked effect on the engagement of the visitor and the amount of time that they are spending on a page.

Eposure conduct our own eye tracking studies, using state-of-the-art equipment, for clients on request, and can take the standard format one step further, by incorporating qualitative questioning to help get clearer understanding of viewers opinions about the images on your websites & marketing collateral.

What are the effects that better images will have on my business?

All businesses are different and have different goals, but a considered image strategy is one that isn’t designed to be judged on the aesthetics of the images. Instead we create strategies that are designed to alter the way customers interact with businesses in a whole range of different ways, some of which we mention here:

  • Better understanding of the company’s brand values
  • Higher engagement with brand
  • Increased return visits
  • Increased likelihood to purchase online or via direct channels
  • Improved visual experience
  • Better value images – useable in a wider range of ways across the full business marketing channels, including social media
  • Increased sales, ROI & lifetime value

Can they be measured?

Yes. There are many metrics that can be used to understand the effect that images have on your business. Not all of these need to be used. We work with businesses on an individual basis to understand the goals of that business, and the most appropriate metrics to use – as well, of course as the budgets available:

  • Eye tracking studies
  • Google analytics
  • A/B testing
  • Qualitative research
  • Quantative research
  • In-house sales data

How long will it take to see the benefits?

It depends very much on what you are trying to achieve with your new image strategy. Greater engagement, or time spent on page can be seen within a few weeks of implementation.

Reliable measurements of ROI can be seen in 3 to 6 months, and of course, lifetime value is a longer term metric again.

Photographic consultancy services

You can find more information about Eposure’s consultancy services on our Consultancy page, alternatively please contact Tim@eposure.com for more detail

References

New York Times article from Norman Neilson Group

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