The concept of the power of images over text is not new. In 1911, a newspaper article quoted editor Arthur Brisbane as saying, “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” It seems that the internet is finally catching up with what the offline world has known for a long time.
Pinterest, the image based social network, recently hit 10 million U.S. unique website visits faster than any other website in history. Instagram, the mobile application for sharing photos has gone from 56 thousand weekly visits to 12 million weekly visits in the last year.
On Facebook, according to Web Liquid, image posts generate 37% more engagement than text only posts. Vitrue claims that images generate 54% more engagement. Regardless of the actual number, study after study has consistently reported that images drive more engagement on Facebook.
Although it’s difficult to pinpoint whether higher data speeds, ubiquitous phone cameras, social networks themselves, or increased mobile use in general is causing image popularity to go through the roof now, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you recognize the trend and embrace it with your marketing efforts.
So what type of images should you post? Well, that will of course depend on your industry, but one tidbit of wisdom on this subject comes from Dharmesh Shah, who loves to measure these types of things. It is fairly widely known that images of kittens, puppies, and babies drive outsized engagement on the internet. According to Shah in his recent presentation at Inbound 2012, kittens are in fact more engaging than puppies, but babies trump both animals. Taking into consideration this data driven conclusion, we think that we have chosen the image for this post wisely.