You’re Not Using the Right Images in Your Content Marketing Ads!

April 24, 2016

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In today’s marketing environment there are so many things to consider when conducting a content marketing paid campaign that one can get lost. Compelling the right header, call-to-actions, images and body texts are just some of the things you need to take into consideration when creating a paid Ad – and those are just the creative elements of the advertisement.

If I delve into the technical aspects of creating a successful paid campaign, this article would turn into an academic journal.

Despite the endless amount of things to take into consideration, one factor continues to remain top priority, constantly affecting your CTRs. Images, in all shapes and sizes are the first things your users are going to notice when looking at your Ad and it is what’s going to stick with your prospects.

Content marketing

So for example, if you are using an image with Dollars, no matter what you are selling, people will understand that your company has something to do with money. If your image shows a close up of people smiling, people might think that your business has something to do with dentistry.

Did you know that Kissmetrics found that content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without relevant images?

Whether you are marketing on one of the popular content distribution platforms, such as Taboola or Outbrain, or you are conducting Facebook paid advertising, you are going to always be required to add an image to your Ads. The specs might be different, for example, Taboola requires a minimum image size of 400×300, while Facebook’s paid ads are completely different. While the size might differ from platform to platform, the principle of choosing the right images is usually the same.

So here it goes, our 5 Tips to choosing the perfect image for your content marketing campaign.

1) Go with Personality not People

If you been doing paid advertising or content marketing for a while then you probably already know that images with people work well. The question isn’t whether or not you should be using a person, but which person should you use and what signals should that person be sending off about your business?

In order to choose a great image you need to understand your prospects. You need to learn why they would need your service and what state of mind they are going to be in when clicking your Ad.

So for example, if you are providing a financial solution, then make sure your prospects can associate with the Ad. You might want them to feel that you are going to solve their financial problems or provide them with a great investment opportunity. All of this has to be reflected in the image. Choose an image that will allow them to understand how they would feel if they were using your product.

Another way to go about choosing your image is to choose one that hits on an emotion. Fear, Frustration, Happiness, Belonging and Hope are just some of the emotions that you can present in your images.The main idea is to get your users to connect with your Ad before they click on it. If your picture sparks an emotion, it will guarantee that your copy is read and eventually lead to better quality clicks.

In the end, we are not in the marketing game for clicks, but for quality clicks!

2) Use Celebrity Images or Familiar Faces

Celebs always work well in images and will always grab user attention. Furthermore, it will boost your credibility and level of trust. Think about it… if you’ve got a celeb using your product then what does it say about your product? Most celebs also have followers, so you will probably automatically get clicks from some of them.

So for example, if you are marketing a hair product try to go for a Celeb that has amazing hair and everyone envies. If you are selling an online product so try to get an endorsement from an authority in your field.

The most important thing to remember when using people within your images is to make sure that the image is clear and people immediately understand who’s in the picture. In the following example, the image on the left would probably be more effective than the image on the right.

Content Marketing a Content Marketing b

3) Avoid Image Clutter

When discussing image clutter it is important to first understand the technical limitations of the platform that you are advertising on. Some platforms allow you to use large images like Facebook, while others force you to squeeze everything into a thumbnail. No matter what size you are dealing with make sure that the major element of your picture is in focus.

Try to avoid image clutter. Check the picture for unsightly objects that distract. Make sure that your backgrounds aren’t busy and grab too much attention. Like in the previous section, if you are using people, focusing on one person is always better than on a group.

There are loads of tricks and techniques you can use to improve your image, including blurring the background or using the right color-contrast between your primary and secondary objects within the picture – simply ask your web designer.

Also, make sure the angle of the image is perfect so that people understand immediately what the picture is all about. Sometimes, you may find that a change in angle gives you a new take on a shot that’s overdone or is unclear.

4) Emotions Sell

Out of all the tips in this article, I think that this is the most important one. When you are running a marketing campaign in any form, you are probably competitive with thousands of different distractions. On Facebook, you are one element out of hundreds of other catchy elements that grab user focus. If you are running on some “suggestion” network such as Taboola or Outbrain, your Ad is probably going to be at the bottom of the page. If your users even get down to your Ad, you are going to be competing against other advertisers and that is irrespective of the user’s state of mind;

After you’ve read a long article, do you really have the energy to read another one?

Your images have to be aggressive and grab your user’s attention immediately. Not only that, they have to spark some type of emotion that will get your prospects associated with what you are going to tell them next. Your image is not there just to make your Ad look pretty either put your users in a state-of-mind, that will get them interested in your Ad copy and finally click through to your website.

If you are selling an antivirus so make sure your readers understand that your product is crucial. A picture of someone sitting frustrated in front of their computer might work. It will probably catch your reader’s eyes, then they will probably move on to your Ad copy. The whole picture ( image + Ad copy) should make complete sense to the user and one should complement the other.

There is no one viewing route that your readers will take. Some might view your image and simply click because they associate with it. Others will look at your image, read your ad copy, look at your image again for reassurance and only then click on the ad. If the whole picture doesn’t make sense to them and get them “thinking”, then you will be just wasting an impression.

5) Go with Buzzy Colors or NOT

There are actually two approaches to this. Some will say that it is better if your ads resemble the website or platform where you are advertising and therefore so should your Ad images. This practice is done by many marketers that are trying to beat banner blindness or trying to make their Ads look like part of the publisher’s platform to increase objectives. This approach is often done by Adsense users that camouflage their Google Ads to generate unintentional clicks.

The other approach is to stand out and really grab attention. Use bright colors that are completely different to the platform that you are advertising on.

I say that it really depends on the audience you are targeting and less to do with the platform. So if you are advertising on Facebook, then remember that most of your audience are probably using Facebook to zone out, catch up on news, share funny posts or see other buzzy content that simply passes the time.

If you want to grab your user’s attention, you are going to have to fight for it and understand your user’s state of mind. If you are advertising on Facebook make sure that your pictures stand out and are buzzy. Try to satisfy your reader’s craving at that exact time. If you are running Ads on a news site, then buzzy bright pictures that look buzzy might not be the best option, as your users are probably looking for more professional information.

It is kind of like running a “location-based” campaign, but in this case, it is choosing the best picture for your user’s virtual location.

Final Thoughts

Creating a great Ad can be a difficult task. Your Ad copy might be perfect, but your ads are under simply performing due to the images you are using. Always test your images and we hope that these 5 tips help you next time you’re choosing an image for your campaign. Need help with your content marketing campaigns? Contact us at www.techsors.com

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About the Author
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Adam Perl
Adam Perl is VP Marketing at TechSors, a digital agency that specialises in Content marketing and Web Development. Adam's work experience spans 10+ years of strategic marketing & planning for online international companies in the financial, gaming, eCommerce and the travel industry.