Images are central to marketing – appearing everywhere from social media posts to print ads and leaflets. But are you using the right images? Perhaps not if your images don’t have faces in them.

In this post, we’ll explore why photos of people are more effective for marketing and how to make sure your business is using the right images.

Facing the facts

It’s long been suggested that images of people work better for marketing than those without. Arguably, that’s because audiences are engaged by photos of people, whereas photos of objects or landscapes are seen as more inanimate and non-responsive. Consider how obliged you would feel to look up at someone as you passed them in the street, compared to whether you would do the same for a lamppost or a door, for example.

But it’s not just a gut feeling or a logical assumption. There’s evidence to back up how photos perform better. In 2014, Yahoo Labs and Georgia Institute of Technology looked at 1.1 million images which were posted on Instagram. They found that photos with human faces were 38% more likely to receive a ‘like’ and 32% more likely to attract comments – with no real impact when it comes to the number of faces, their age or their gender.

Why? According to lead researcher Saeideh Bakhshi, it’s simply because we’re programmed to look at faces. “Even as babies, people love to look at faces,” she explains. “Faces are powerful channels of non-verbal communication. We constantly monitor them for a variety of contexts, including attractiveness, emotions and identity.”

Implications for marketing

Let’s be clear – the Yahoo study wasn’t specifically focussed on marketing or business images. However, the findings can certainly be applied across the board. Whether you’re fishing for likes on Facebook or looking for leads on LinkedIn, engagement is the crucial first step to get potential customers consuming your content.

If you’re looking to make your marketing efforts more effective, adding a human touch could be key. Rather than using images of your product on a table or with no backdrop, why not get photos of people using them? When you’re discussing your team’s values, add an image of the people you’re talking about. Even when you’re using stock images about particular locations or topics, look for images with people that engage potential customers.

Make the most of your assets

Images are assets for any business, especially if they’re those with faces. But they don’t come for free. Whether it’s the time spent searching for the right image, the cost of the image rights, or the time and money invested in creating bespoke images for your company – you’ll want to maximise the returns on your investment.

Digital asset management software provides a central repository for all your assets – images and beyond. By properly organising your assets, you can always retrieve the ones you need in an instant without any risk of loss or duplication.

To find out more or book a free one-to-one demo, simply contact our team.

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