Strong Correlation Exists Between Visual Engagement and Purchase, Sticky Study Finds

A new study reveals that product images increase online sales

A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when it comes to online shopping. That’s the core finding of a new survey conducted by media technology company, Sticky, a San Francisco-based technology company that has developed a platform for webcam based eye tracking.

The study, a collaboration with General Mills, has found a 70 percent correlation between visual engagement with a product and final purchase.

Importance of Visual Engagement in Digital Marketing

Another finding of the survey reveals a 65 percent correlation between visual engagement with a standalone package design and final purchase. This correlation is irrespective of where the image is located on screen.

The study further reveals on average, people read 35 to 50 percent of the “about this product” text. Moreover, just 20-30 percent of the “header” text is read.

Is Visual Search the Next Big Frontier in Digital Marketing?

The survey results paint a very clear picture about consumer behavior. Evidently online buyers — most of whom use mobile phones for making purchases — do not have the time to read too much text. Rather their purchase decisions are driven by visuals.

This growing trend of users preferring visual content has led to the increasing popularity of visual search. Unlike image search, visual search uses pixel-by-pixel comparisons to provide results with similar brands, colors and styles.

Pinterest is the latest to jump on the visual search bandwagon. The popular photo-sharing site recently expanded the availability of a visual search tool that recognizes products in images and fetches searches with similar results.

Google has also introduced a new ad format to help retail brands reach people searching for broad product terms with visual displays of their products.

“Mobile has completely changed the way all of us shop and the way we live,” said Jonathon Alferness, VP of Product Management at Google. “We no longer go online. In fact, we’re living online.”

Tip to Engage Users with Visual Content in Digital Marketing

To create maximum impact, ensure your visuals and text have the right balance. Apart from being search engine optimized, both should complement each other. So catch your users’ attention with the visual and let your text pique their interest.

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Shubhomita Bose Shubhomita Bose is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers key studies and surveys about the small business market, along with general small business news. She draws on 8 years of experience in copywriting, marketing and communications, having worked extensively on creating content for small and medium sized enterprises.

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  1. And remember that sacrificing page load time for better images is likely to be a poor trade-off. Those images still need to be optimized for speed.