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Images: Your secret weapon to boost engagement

Images: Your secret weapon to boost engagement

People love looking at images.

It’s not just an aesthetic thing, we are wired to look at pictures first and for longer. 

Why? Science has an explanation.

From the moment we are born, visuals are our first connection to the outside world. They help to keep us safe from dangers and connect us with our primary carers. Before a baby can even focus its eye muscles, it can already recognise its mother. 

It makes sense – the brain is hardwired to quickly recognise dangers to survive, and these attributes have stayed with us. In fact, an MIT study showed that we only need 13 milliseconds to process an image

There’s a reason why aircraft safety cards are predominantly composed of images – from a neurological point of view, looking at an image can help our brains absorb large and complicated amounts of data quicker way than reading text. 

It has been proven that if you hear a piece of information, then a few days later you will only remember 10%. But if you add a picture to that information, recall goes up to 65%.

Meanwhile, articles with visual content get 94 per cent more readership and exposure than those with mere text.

This means that images are a great way to grab a viewer’s attention, convey a message and elicit an emotional response.

The new universal language

Open up any social media app and you’ll see that images have quickly become the “universal language”.

Image-sharing app Instagram continues to grow in popularity, announcing it had 700 million monthly active users in April 2017.

Pinterest, Tumblr and Snapchat are just some of the many other booming social media platforms that are all mainly image-based. Even Facebook and Twitter, which were originally designed to revolve around text, have transitioned to more image-based formats.

In fact, OpenView’s Marketing Lab reports that company Facebook pages which post status updates with visuals in the form of videos and photo albums create up to 180 per cent stronger engagement.

Eye-tracking studies show internet readers pay close attention to information-carrying images. In fact, when the images are relevant, readers spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text on the page.

This corresponds to the fact that Infographics are "liked" and shared on social media three times more than other any other type of content, while tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without images.

How to take advantage of the power of pictures

So how do we take advantage of people’s love of pictures with our written content? The answer sounds easy – accompany our written content with engaging images. But there’s a little more to it than that. 

  • Make it meaningful: It’s great to use pictures in your social media posts to catch the viewers’ eye and draw them in. But give some thought to your image selection to ensure you are posting meaningful images that tell a story. 
  • Think about your audience: Share images that resonate with your audience and inspire them to share them. If you want to encourage engagement and shares, your images have to appeal directly to your target audience.
  • Turn text into images: Create images and infographics that either solve a problem or inspire your community to take action. Images that give short, instantly actionable advice are highly shareable. Quick tips, how-tos, quotes and fun facts are all very popular.
  • Go pro: Professional imagery, either purchased or commissioned can make a big difference because you get to choose an image that matches your vision. If you’re low on time or budget and can't have access to your own in-house photographer, AAP Publish can help to provide a wide variety of pictures with its image library.

Share and add images from multiple sources to your content with AAP Publish, see how it works!

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