Picture This: The Visual Society

We live in a visual society.  Even some of the first evidence of human existence is in the form of pictures— 42,000-year-old paintings of seals.  It’s no wonder that we use the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” However, a picture is actually worth about 60,000 words.  The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and image elements are deciphered simultaneously in the brain while language is understood in a linear fashion.   Technology and social media has allowed the world to become more picture oriented.  Everybody has a camera in their pocket, typically attached to their phones.  Some studies even show that 10% of all pictures taken by humankind were taken in the past 12 months (while we don’t know how true that is, it is fascinating to think about).  Photos are an essential part of our lives, so why shouldn’t you take advantage of using photos in your marketing?

We Like Pictures

We as humans are drawn to pictures.  Sight is the most dominant sense, and ¼ of the cerebral cortex is involved in sight.  We connect faster to images than other mediums, both analytically and emotionally.  People are prompted to make decisions and take action much faster when they are prompted to by images.  Photos are also more memorable than text.

Pictures Are More Memorable

In 1996 researchers from Michigan State University studied 200 emergency room patients with lacerations.  Upon being released to go home, all of the patients received instructions on how to care for their wounds.  Half of the patients received text-only instructions, while the other half received text and cartoon representations of how to care for their injuries.  Three days later, the researchers called the patients and asked them questions regarding their wound-care.  Only 6% of those who received the text-only instructions got the questions right, while 46% of those in the cartoon-text group were able to answer them correctly.

While both groups received the same text, the group that received accompanying pictures were able to remember the information far better than the group who only received text.  Upon further study, the researchers also found the 24% more people in the cartoon and text group were more likely to actually read the wound care instructions, and the same group were 43% better at following the instructions properly.

Still not convinced that you should use photos in your marketing?  Here are some quick statistics:


  • Articles with relevant images have 94% more views than articles without images.
  • 60% of people are more likely to contact a business when they have images that show up in internet searches.
  • Facebook posts with images have more engagements than any other medium.
  • 87% of all shared posts on Facebook are posts with images.
  • Facebook posts with photos generate 1290% more clicks.
  • Tweets with an image were 150% more likely to be retweeted.
  • 86% of buyers desire to see content rather than read it.
  • Facebook photos generate 53% more likes than text-only statuses.

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