How images affect your consumer engagement rates

How images affect your consumer engagement rates

They say an image says more than a thousand words.

Getty Images has created a new solution called Visual GPS and teamed up with YouGov to find out what type of images genuinely drive consumer engagement and purchase decisions.

Using 25 years of Getty Images research and a survey of 10,000 consumers and professionals in 13 languages across 26 countries by YouGov, it found brands need to be aware of certain sensitivities and perceptions to navigate the visual landscape when selecting visuals that resonate with their intended audience.

“We live in an increasingly visual world. Having the perfect image, video, or illustration can mean the difference between connecting with your audience or simply being bypassed,” said Ken Mainardis, Senior Vice President, Content, Getty Images.

“It can be difficult to choose visual content that will resonate with your target consumer, unless you understand what’s important to your customers and what drives their decision making – this is the problem Visual GPS seeks to solve.”

Visual GPS explores how four key ‘forces’ influence consumers and how these drive decision-making: sustainability, technology, realness and wellness.

Sustainability – the disconnect

The study found a ‘consumption conundrum’. In the survey, 81% see themselves as eco-friendly but only 50% say they only buy products from brands that try to be eco-friendly.

Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insights, Getty Images, says, “Our search data has seen huge increases in interest for reusable coffee cups, straws, water bottles, etc. This has led to the need to rethink what lifestyle and business visual content looks like. Often bottles, cups, and straws are small elements of a larger scene, but it’s important to rethink what’s in the image or video and whether it meets the modern sustainable standards of consumers.”

The impact of technology

Technology was found to create the greatest amount of dynamic tension. On one hand, technology helps us manage our lives but equally privacy risks and becoming lost in our screens is a threat to relationships.

Dr Swift says, “We are seeing the language of technology change as quickly as tech itself – and that holds true of visual expectations – particularly when you work in a cutting-edge field. Staying current is important, as is understanding technology’s benefits and drawbacks in the way it‘s expressed visually.”

On the bright side, 79% of those surveyed say technology makes them feel connected to those that matter most. On the downside, 41% say some of their relationships have been damaged by the use of technology.

The younger you are, the more likely you are to feel as though your life isn’t as great as the lives of others because of time spent on social media, with 65% of GenZ, 55% of Millennials, 37% of GenX and 20% of Baby Boomers stating they believe this. Taken as a whole, 42% of people feel this way.

On visualising technology, 62% of brands are looking to depict technology benefiting or working alongside humans.

Images of friendship and mental well-being are more likely to engage consumers

Being true to oneself and truth in advertising

‘Realness’ was found to be highly influential too. People want to see realness in the visuals that surround them, with 80% saying companies need to show people with all body shapes and types.

It was important for 68% of respondents that the companies they buy from celebrate diversity of all kinds, with younger people, specifically Millennials and GenZ, strongly feeling this way (76%) followed by GenX and Baby Boomers (61%).

Consumers are using their purchasing power to make a stand on the issues they care about with 33% saying they have boycotted a brand that went against their values in the past two years and 34% saying they have started purchasing a brand that supported a cause they believe in.

As many as 74% want to know what goes on behind the scenes when a product is produced.

Wellness – a high value on mental and physical health

“Although the assumption might be that people tend to value physical health over mental health, Visual GPS findings suggest that not only do people place a high value on both (88% and 90%, respectively), but an almost equally high value,” says Dr Swift.

“Historically brands have expressed wellness as physical health, but we’re now seeing a move toward visual expression of how we facilitate wellness in our lives, such as an increased desire to celebrate the good in life with our friends and family or engage in exercise with friends.”

Among its key findings, Visual GPS discovered consumers care most about the health and wellbeing of family members (61%) ahead of their own personal health and wellbeing (60%) and financial security (58%). Consumers worry most about dishonesty (50%), people being unkind (44%) and how we treat our environment and inequality (39%).

When it comes to physical health, the study found near-equal generational participation.

“Exploring concepts around physical and emotional wellness is what I’d consider a win-win for brands,” says Dr Swift.

“In fact, roughly nine out of ten people support discussion around mental health more broadly.”