Prominent images equal higher conversion rates, according to a report by Econsultancy, a digital marketing and e-commerce community.
The report focuses on three websites with differing audiences and purposes. The first, an antique shop called Skinner, increased the size of the photos of items up for auction by 28% and saw 63% more visitors joining the auction along with 329% more visitors completing their online forms.
What’s interesting about the choice to enlarge images is that it seemingly breaks one of the big rules of design: don’t put anything important below the fold. This below-the-fold design is also in use at Fast Company’s web publications such as Co.Design and Pop Sugar’s Geek Sugar. Commerce and publishing are fueled by visual content. Part of Pinterest and Wanelo’s success is due to their understanding of the importance of visual design. It shows that the important aspect of design isn’t the text but the images – they pull people in at a much higher rate to consume to rest of the content.
Another website the report looked at is Dell. The company shifted the design of one of its B2B landing pages to feature a large blown-out image as the background - effectively using the power of photos to drive interaction. The change paid off with a 36% increase in generated leads and inspired Dell to test out the design on its other B2B sites. Dell showed that the appeal of visual content doesn’t start and end with consumer-facing products.
So what is it about images that cause such large shifts in interaction and engagement? A part of it may be that they are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text. Another factor is the need for visual content in e-commerce to make up for the lack of in-store experiences. Whatever the cause, the effect is obvious: when trying to increase conversion rates, visual is king.