I am sure you have heard the phrase: “An image is worth a thousand words.” But how exactly does that translate into a competitive advantage for your business?
Good photography, graphics and images are important on business websites for a number of reasons. Firstly, they help to create a professional and visually appealing website that is more likely to engage and attract visitors. High quality images can also help to convey the message and branding of the business, and can be used to showcase products or services. Often times, potential customers, when visiting a website, they are interested in any visual queues that would allowed them to form a more comprehensive overview of the business in essence looking for “gaps” that would indicate that they can’t be trusted. Nobody wants to be taken advantage of, and when we do business, essentially we are having to trust the business to deliver on their promise to fulfill our needs and preferences.
Therefore, good photos can help to build trust with potential customers, as they demonstrate that the business is invested in presenting itself in the best light possible. Also, by showcasing a photographic representation of the inside and outside of the business, there is an implied sense of openness that builds trust in itself, since nobody scamming people can be that open and transparent.
Studies and the benefits of quality photography in advertising
There have been numerous studies conducted on the impact of visual elements, including photography, on advertising effectiveness. One study published in the Journal of Advertising found that the use of high quality images in advertising was positively correlated with increased advertising effectiveness. Another study published in the Journal of Business Research found that the use of images in advertising was associated with increased attention, comprehension, and memorability of the advertising message.
In addition to the use of images in general, research has also shown that the use of high quality, professionally shot photographs can be especially effective in advertising. A study published in the Journal of Marketing found that the use of professional photography in print advertisements was associated with higher perceived ad quality and credibility, as well as increased purchase intent.
Overall, the evidence suggests that the use of good photography in advertising can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the ad and the perceived credibility and quality of the business.
Even though, a website is not considered just advertising, it is clear that high quality photography can impact positively in credibility, purchase intent and memorability, all important factors in digital media, arguably to a higher degree, than in traditional advertising channels.
The evidence suggests that the use of high quality photography on websites can have a positive impact on consumer perceptions of the website and the business, as well as on engagement with the website. Another study published in the Journal of Marketing found that the use of high quality product images on e-commerce websites was associated with increased consumer perceived value and purchase intention.
Finally, well-chosen images can also help to break up text and make a website more visually appealing and easier to read.
How to use images
Now, clearly one thing is to understand the importance that high quality photography brings to a business, specifically in their digital media efforts, another completely different one, is how do you actually implement it.
Professional photography is constantly changing and with the evolution of top smartphones, photos have improved a lot in the last few years. However, the expectation of good imagery has gone up as well.
A professional photograph is far from just achieving a good focus, a proper contrast and vivid colors on a shot. Photography is a combination of art and science. It conveys emotion and therefore it is an incredibly powerful tool if used to its fullest extent.
When creating images for your digital media efforts, and most importantly for your website, you want to make sure that they communicate the same voice, tone and style of your brand. Otherwise, the disassociation it’ll produce, can actually work against the business.
If your brand is grunge, unpolished and harsh, with tones of “breaking the rules”, having perfectly square photography, with fully saturated pink hues and full tonal range would feel unfitting. Instead, weird angles, extreme closeups, color flares, and or tonal shifts would feel more appropriate.
If you are creating a marketing campaign for a high end, expensive downtown boutique, your photography wouldn’t fit if it is taken from a free stock photo website, or if it was captured by a low resolution flip phone. It should be methodically structured, with a clear message behind it, strategized by an experienced art director who understand the brand and also the nuances of lighting, shadow, pose, lens selection and much much more.
One important thing to consider before we finish, is that there is a delicate balance between careful control and speed of execution. If you are methodical in every single imagery decision, you’ll also be slower. Inversely, if you post 30 images a day on your business’ Instagram feed, you won’t be able to have the highest degree of control. And considering your goals, as part of this equation, also will give you the perfect formula to help your business.
Hopefully, this article can bring some ideas into your business arsenal. A purposeful use of photography can have a tremendous impact on your business and therefore, if done properly, will result in a competitive advantage for your business.
If you have any questions about how to implement a proper digital marketing strategy for your business, contact Merkados today.