Stevie Snow

We humans have been relying on visuals to communicate with each other since the beginning of time. It’s no wonder the OG marketers and advertisers quickly realized the benefit of using imagery to promote products and services. And it turns out they were really on to something, considering the universal power of images continues to help brands reach their target audience.

More than just engaging with potential customers, there are several ways images can help increase your conversion rate, from website optimization to social media and email marketing.

Images increase conversion rate when you:

  1. Always use high-quality images.
  2. Ditch the cheesy stock images.
  3. Prioritize product images and demonstrations.
  4. Let your target audience guide you.
  5. Use custom graphics.
  6. Create explainer videos.

Read on for more details about each method.

Using images for better conversion rates

Visuals grab our attention, which means it’s only natural for there to be a connection between images and conversions.

People can comprehend and remember visual messages with greater ease than the written or spoken word alone, making visual marketing an effective way to resonate with customers, guide consumer behavior and encourage brand recognition.

In fact, when we just hear information, we usually only remember 10% of the message a mere three days later. Add an image to that information, though, and we retain 65% of the message.

What’s more, the digital world is a visually rich landscape and, in this case, you definitely want to be in line with the majority. In a survey of over 500 digital marketers, all of them agreed that visuals were at least somewhat important for marketing strategies – with nearly 70% labeling them as absolute necessities.

A big reason for placing such importance on visual content is the increased engagement that images generate. The more engaged your viewers are, the more likely they are to convert and uphold customer status.

On your website, for instance, conversion rate correlates to the number of visitors who complete the desired action compared to the total number of people who visited your site.

In a survey of over 500 digital marketers, all of them agree that visuals were at least somewhat important for marketing strategies - with nearly 70% labeling them as absolute necessities.

Micro-conversions may include subscribing to an email newsletter, downloading an eBook or attending a webinar. Major points go to the macro-conversion of making the actual purchase and officially becoming a customer.

Your website’s user experience is key to influencing their decision to take the action you’re hoping they will. Using the right images enhances that experience, boosting your chances of getting the most out of your incoming traffic.

On the flip side, the wrong image can kill your conversions just as quickly as the right one improves them.

Visual content marketing is now eBook

… and for conversion rate optimization, too!

Images are effective tools for conversion rate optimization, which is the process marketers employ to enable website visitors to perform desired actions when visiting a website. CRO is all about improving the conversion potential of website traffic by creating an experience that leads users through the sales funnel without hitting any snags or hesitations along the way.

Many businesses use CRO software to streamline this process and gather insightful data for optimization.

The process starts with in-depth research to understand the kind of users that land on your website, how those visitors interact with your site and what makes them convert into customers.

Behavior flow Google Analytics
Visitor behavior flow example

This stage generally reveals areas for improvement, and those changes will be the next order of business. This is where thoughtful website design enters the scene, with elements such as consistent branding, eye-catching visuals, intuitive navigation and strategic emphasis on links or call-to-action buttons embedded in landing pages and blog posts.

CTA: Ready to start creating? Yes!
Inline CTA from the homepage

With endless conversion optimization solutions on the table, CRO becomes a worthwhile experiment for marketers. It’s important to test new site developments and updates to ensure they’re actually benefiting the conversion funnel. For instance, a split test can help you identify whether version A or B is the most effective option.

Ultimately, the goal of CRO is not to simply gain more conversions from your site, but more so to increase the percentage of site visitors who become customers. The process ensures you’re not just attracting visitors to your brand, but converting those leads at profitable rates.

conversion rate optimization

The visuals and tactics to use

When you want to increase your conversion rate, pretty much any visual content is better than no imagery at all. It’s a “yes” for photography and graphics and an “absolutely” for videos and animations.

You can use this visual content to level up your blog posts, landing pages, social media profiles and email newsletters. Even better: Once you start creating all these visuals, you can promote and repurpose them at scale, getting the most out of every image you produce.

Here’s what to keep in mind when using images for higher conversion rates:

1. Always use high-quality images

Whether it’s photography, graphics or videos, quality matters. Big time.

It affects the impression viewers have of a company, with low-quality, grainy images generally equated to a lack of professionalism or trustworthiness. On the other hand, high-quality images create a perception of superior products and services that visitors are more likely to buy.

While images and videos work on pretty much any platform, it’s important to meet the expectations of the destination.

For instance, you don’t want to commit the digital faux pas of distorted imagery when viewers visit your website on a mobile device. Adaptable website layouts can automatically conform visual content to fit various screen sizes, but you should always test your website on a mobile device before publishing updates.

Screenshot from Google’s Mobile-friendly test

The image size can also impact the viewer experience, such as an oversized photo slowing down the loading time or a graphic that’s too tiny to see the details.

Take care following website and social media image guidelines to make sure you’re uploading the appropriate size and quality for the destination.

2. Ditch the cheesy stock images

Photography certainly works for content marketing – but not if it’s cut from the cheesy stock photo cloth. Your website visitors won’t be fooled by imagery that you clearly downloaded from iStock.

If you have the resources, original photography is always a better move. Pictures of real people, such as the company founder, employees or customers, will also always feel more genuine than stock photo models.

Of course, not all of us have the time or resources to snap enough photos for our content plans.

The good news is that there are stock photo sites out there for images without the stuffy, awkward and insincere vibes that will hurt your conversions. (We rounded up the best ones here.) Sharing user-generated content can also resonate with potential customers.

3. Prioritize product images and demonstrations

As much as people love the convenience of online shopping, most consumers won’t buy a product or service without seeing it first. As such, images are crucial components of the digital sales funnel for e-commerce sites.

Videos, virtual tours and interactive graphics can also help companies communicate how their product or service works in a visually appealing, easy-to-understand manner.

The conversion is usually in the details, ensuring consumers can engage with multiple views of the product. Hence why zoom features are so helpful when we shop for items like clothes, shoes and furniture. It’s also important to model the product or service in ways that allow viewers to easily visualize themselves using it. Clothing retailers, for instance, benefit from displaying items on models of various sizes. Furniture companies often create staged imagery that showcases the item in a fully decorated space.

Placement and product-page configuration are also important for making sure users don’t have to dig around for the information they likely came to the e-commerce store to find out. What’s more, the interface should complement typical consumer behaviors – especially the ones revealed during your CRO research.

Final tip: Make sure product images and demos are informative yet fun, as well as driven by the benefits that can make the sale.

4. Let your target audience guide you

Images are a visual way to connect with your target consumers, which means you should keep those people in mind when choosing the right imagery for your landing pages, blogs, emails, social posts and other marketing content.

For instance, the people in the photos you select should mirror your target demographics, especially in age and gender. If you’re targeting business professionals, scenes from offices fit the bill.

However, it pays to get specific. Creative professionals or start-up founders, for example, may relate more to photos of employees sans the traditional ties, blazers and cubicles. Take these for example:

The general look and feel of the imagery should also match your personas, making it easy for potential consumers within your target audience to picture themselves using your product or service. It can also leave them with the impression that your company genuinely understands their world, which translates to an ability to meet their needs and preferences with your products and services.

5. Use custom graphics

Images are not synonymous with photography in content marketing terms. You can also create illustrated icons, call-to-action buttons, illustrated feature images, infographics and other custom graphics to convert viewers with visuals. Where creativity and strategy meet, pairing graphic design and marketing proves beneficial across B2C and B2B landscapes.

Landing pages with videos can increase conversions by as much as 80%.

These visuals serve as eye-catching ways to break up copy while also displaying your brand personality. In some cases, graphics and illustrations can communicate an idea without any text at all. For example, viewers know that if they see a social icon, clicking on it will take them to the company’s profile.

With the right colors and placement, clickable graphics help guide viewers to different pages on your site, increasing click-through rates, reducing bounce rate and, ultimately, getting them closer to taking the desired action.

8 types of infographics you should be using in your content marketing

6. Create explainer videos

Lights, camera, action: It’s time to shoot some videos.

Landing pages with videos can increase conversions by as much as 80%, meaning you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to communicate information about your brand, product or service via such an effective medium.

Explainer videos are especially opportune for describing how your products or services work in a step-by-step format. If it fits your brand style, animated videos and graphics can also reap engagement and conversion rewards.

When you want a moving image for a casual blog, social post or email, consider embedding GIFs to save your budget from another video or animation.

Don’t forget: Embed explainer videos and animations in your emails and post them on social for even more engagement.

Measuring your efforts

When you’re working to improve conversion rate, you’ll want to measure key metrics such as:

  • Traffic sources.
  • Click-through rate.
  • Bounce rate.
  • Website sessions.
  • Time on site.
  • Newsletter subscriptions.
  • Visit interactions.
  • Cost per acquisition.
  • Revenue.

To calculate the conversion rate itself, you can divide the number of conversions by the total amount of visitors in a given period of time:

Say last week you had 15,000 views and 750 of them became conversions. You would have a 5% percent conversion rate.

Analysis from WordStream revealed that the average landing page conversion rate is 2.35%, although the top 10% of performers convert at 11.45% and higher. Hint, hint: Using images and videos effectively as part of your CRO efforts can help you achieve a spot at the top.

Many e-commerce sites will set up tracking through Google Analytics and other metrics platforms to keep an eye on the important numbers. Of course, the specific metrics you choose to watch will depend on your specific lead generation, conversion and sales goals.

Onward to conversion optimization

Our brains are essentially made to comprehend visuals. It’s only natural to use images in your content if you want to increase your chances of attracting, converting and retaining customers. Here’s to higher conversion rates!