Picture Superiority Effect: 11 Ways to use images and boost your marketing efforts

Prathamesh Krisang

The Picture Superiority Effect is a phenomenon where information presented as images is more likely to be remembered than information presented as text. This principle can be applied to marketing, sales, branding, design, and advertising to enhance customer engagement and retention.

Let us explore several ways and channels to leverage the Picture Superiority Effect in marketing to create more memorable and effective campaigns:

1. Simplify Your Message with Infographics

Infographics use visuals to break down complex information, making it easier for viewers to understand and remember. They can be used to explain a product or service, share statistics, or showcase a brand’s values.

Example: The American Heart Association uses infographics to educate the public on heart health, sharing facts and tips through colorful, engaging visuals.

2. Enhance Brand Recall with Visually Appealing Inserts

Packaging inserts are additional materials that are included in product packaging to provide more information to customers about the product or brand. Including high-quality images in packaging inserts can help make them more visually appealing and engaging for customers, enhancing their overall experience with the brand and increasing the likelihood of brand recall.

Example: Lush Cosmetics is a UK-based beauty brand that is known for its handmade, cruelty-free, and environmentally conscious products. One of the ways that Lush educates and engages their customers on their sustainability efforts is through their packaging inserts. These inserts are included in their products and feature high-quality images of the ingredients used in their products, as well as information on the sustainable sourcing and production of those ingredients.

For example, in their shampoo bars, Lush includes an insert that features an image of the primary ingredient, along with information on how it is sourced sustainably and the benefits it provides for the hair. In their bath bombs, Lush includes an insert that features an image of the natural colorants used in the product, along with information on how they are sourced and the benefits they provide for the skin.

3. Stand Out on Social Media with Powerful Visuals

Social media platforms are saturated with content, and it can be challenging to make your posts stand out. Using high-quality images on social media can be a powerful way to leverage the Picture Superiority Effect. Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are highly visual, and using high-quality images can help your content stand out.

Example: National Geographic’s Instagram account is filled with stunning images that showcase the beauty of our world. The images not only capture the viewer’s attention but also evoke an emotional response, making them more memorable.

4. Engage Visitors on Website with High-Quality Images

Websites that incorporate high-quality images can be more engaging and memorable for visitors. Images can showcase products or services, evoke emotions, or illustrate a brand’s values.

Example: Airbnb’s website features large, beautiful images of unique vacation rentals, making it easy for visitors to imagine themselves in the spaces.

5. Make an Emotional Connection with Compelling Visuals

Video ads that use compelling visuals can tell a story and make an emotional connection with viewers. They can showcase a product, convey a brand’s values, or evoke emotions.

Example: Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” video campaign features stunning footage shot entirely on the iPhone, showcasing the phone’s camera capabilities and inspiring creativity.

6. Capture Your Audience’s Attention with Visuals in Your Emails

Including images in your email marketing campaigns can break up text and make your message more memorable. Images can showcase products or services, evoke emotions, or illustrate a brand’s values.

Example: The clothing brand J.Crew uses images to showcase its latest styles in its email marketing campaigns. The images not only make the email more visually appealing but also help customers visualize how the clothes would look on them.

7. Presentations: Help Your Audience Remember Key Points with Visuals

Using visuals in presentations can help your audience remember key points and engage with your message. Images can illustrate concepts or data, or convey emotions.

Example: TED Talks often use a series of images to help illustrate the points being made during a talk. By using these images, the speaker is able to make their message more memorable and engaging for the audience.

8. Make a Bold Statement with Powerful Billboard Ads

Use striking visuals and minimal text in billboard ads to capture people’s attention as they drive by.

Example: In 2018, Salesforce launched a billboard campaign in San Francisco with the bold statement “Welcome to the fourth industrial revolution.” The billboard included minimal text and a striking visual of a robotic hand holding a cloud, emphasizing the company’s focus on innovation and technology. The statement was meant to showcase Salesforce’s vision of the future of business and technology, and the use of a powerful image helped to make the statement memorable and attention-grabbing.

9. Use Visuals to Enhance User Experience

Description: Visuals can also be used to enhance the user experience of a product or service. By using visuals to guide users through a process or to highlight key features, businesses can create a more intuitive and user-friendly experience.

Example: The online retailer ASOS uses visuals to showcase product details and provide sizing information, making it easier for customers to find the products they are looking for and make informed purchasing decisions.

10. Use Images to Highlight Customer Testimonials

Using images to highlight customer testimonials is a powerful way to leverage the Picture Superiority Effect. Images can make the testimonials more engaging and memorable, which can increase trust and credibility with potential customers.

Example: The skincare brand Glossier includes customer photos and testimonials on its product pages. The images not only make the testimonials more engaging but also help customers visualize how the products could benefit them.

11. Use Images in Your Blog Posts

By incorporating relevant images into your blog posts, you can help your readers to better understand and retain the information you’re presenting. This can also make your content more shareable on social media platforms, as people are more likely to share content that is visually appealing and engaging.

Example: Blog Posts by a travel website, “The Blonde Abroad”, include high-quality images of the destinations they write about, helping readers to visualize the places they’re reading about and making their content more memorable. The images also add an element of inspiration and aspiration, encouraging readers to engage with the content and consider traveling to those destinations themselves.

Other cognitive biases that are similar to the Picture Superiority Effect,

Verbal overshadowing: Verbal overshadowing refers to the phenomenon where describing a visual stimulus in words can interfere with subsequent memory for the stimulus. In other words, talking about a visual image can make it harder to remember.

Von Restorff effect: The Von Restorff effect is the tendency for distinctive, unusual, or highly noticeable items to be more likely to be remembered than items that are more common or typical.

Primacy and recency effects: The primacy effect is the tendency to remember information that is presented first, while the recency effect is the tendency to remember information that is presented last. Both of these effects are examples of how the order of information can affect memory.


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“Recency Bias: How Recent Events Cloud Your Judgement” by James Clear, James Clear Blog: https://jamesclear.com/recency-bias

“The Primacy Effect: How to Create a Great First Impression” by Kelly Main, Fit Small Business: https://fitsmallbusiness.com/primacy-effect/