Seeing is Believing: How Visuals Drive Purchasing Decisions

John Suler said, “Images can strongly influence how we process visual stimulation at lightning speed. Images are likely to prompt strong emotion, which can lead to action.” How true is this? Let’s find out.

How do you make decisions? Is it based on sound logic and reason, or do emotions often come into play?

You may be surprised to learn that the answer is a bit of both. Our brains are constantly making calculations and assessments, but we’re not always aware of what’s happening under the surface. That’s because most of our decision-making is influenced by our emotions and how we feel about things.

In this article, we’ll look at the psychology of visuals and how they impact decision-making. You’ll learn how images can influence our thoughts and feelings, and we’ll discuss ways to use this information to your advantage when creating visually dynamic content.

The Psychology of Visuals

About 83% of digital purchase decisions are directly impacted and influenced by product images. When making decisions, your brain is constantly at work trying to weigh the pros and cons. And as it turns out, visuals play a significant role in this process.

We ask ourselves questions like, “Does it resonate with me? Does it feel right, look right, do I connect with it, or does it give me a kinky or bad feeling?”

In fact, research shows that visuals can be so influential that they can even override our logical reasoning. For example, one study found that people were likelier to buy a pen displayed in a brightly-coloured package, even if the pen was of poor quality.

This is why successful brands have recognisable colours and brand elements. They know what colours resonate with their audience and use them repetitiously. It amplifies trust.

So what’s going on here? 

It all comes down to cognitive frameworks. Your brain is trying to find an optimal solution. Visualisation or imagery can help with this process by giving you a clear picture of the problem or the answer you seek. What you are looking for.

If we look deeper into the psychology of visuals and decision-making, humans are naturally visual-loving creatures. 

● Our brain can identify a familiar object in less than 100 milliseconds

● A large part of our brain is dedicated to visual processing, which is why we are less likely to explore a lengthy article when we can get the same information in a simple emotive image. 

● We are naturally drawn to images; a social media post with an attractive picture will get 10 times more engagement.  

● Imagery also affects how much information we take in. Researchers have found that people are more likely to read content accompanied by colourful visuals because our brain constantly tries to minimise effort by only absorbing the most essential information.

How do Images Impact Decision Making?

Studies show that we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. 

Images don’t just appeal to our senses but also make us feel involved in the process. This is why imagery is so important in the buyer cycle for customers. They help us visualise the spoken words. It’s why images make a storytelling process even more attention-grabbing and engaging. 

Images are powerful tools that can influence the way people think and behave. A well-chosen image can make a person happy, sad, scared, or angry. When it comes to decision-making, images can be incredibly influential, increase trust faster, and shorten buyer cycles.

For example, Imagine you are deciding to go on a vacation to the beach or the mountains. If you saw an image of the beautiful sandy beaches and the warm sun, you might be more likely to choose the beach. On the other hand, if you saw an image of the mountains with snow and a warm fire, you might be more likely to choose the mountains.

Or, imagine you are considering buying a new car. You may have a specific model in mind, but then you see a picture of a different vehicle you hadn’t considered before. The new car is more stylish and luxurious than the one you were initially thinking about. Suddenly, your decision is much harder to make.

That’s why all those big brands spend so much money on emotive advertising campaigns—they know that if they can get their image in front of our eyes, they’re more likely to get us to buy their product.

But it’s not just commercial images that can affect our decisions. Emotionally, moving images are powerful, if not more so. So next time you’re making a big decision, take a moment to think about the pictures floating around in your head and how you can increase images in your content creation.

To see how we help our clients Stand Out, Be heard & increase their Impact, check out our work here

4 Ways Humans Use Images To Improve their Decision-Making? 

1. We Use Visuals to Help Us Understand our Options

When faced with a decision, we often visually represent our options like a simple chart or diagram showing each option’s pros and cons. Seeing the possibilities in front of us helps us understand & make a more informed decision.

2. We use Visuals to Help Us See the Bigger Picture

It’s easy to get caught up in the details when we’re trying to make a decision. But it’s important to step back and look at the bigger picture. Mapping things out helps us see things from a different perspective. It gives us clarity & connection to our next steps.

3. We use Visuals to Help You Weigh up the Risks and Benefits

When deciding, weighing each option’s risks and benefits is crucial. This can be difficult to do if you only think about the pros and cons in your head. But seeing the data in any form of visual presentation helps us see the solutions and the pitfalls in advance. We choose more accurately.

4. We use Visuals to Help Us See the Consequences

It’s also essential to consider the potential consequences of each decision. What could happen if you choose one option over another?

Again, visuals, whether scribes, mind maps or drawings, we all use these processes to SEE further, in our mind’s eye and understand deeper.

So to Recap 

Marketing is all about creating a connection with your target audience. And what better way to do that than by using images that evoke emotion? Vibrant, emotive images are the key to impactful content and engagement in marketing. They help you connect with your audience deeper, creating a lasting impression.

And when it comes to creating engaging and compelling content, nothing beats an excellent emotional image. So, to create content that packs a punch and drives engagement, use images that elicit emotion. Your audience will thank you for it!

But it’s not easy to constantly create engaging, well-researched, and beautifully designed content. It’s a creative process that takes time, energy, and money. You need to repurpose your content to get the most return on investment. This means updating it, making it more engaging, and adding new design elements. You can be more productive and accelerate your content production by repurposing content by putting in a little extra work to save you time in the long run.

To find out how Visual Campaigns can support your business, make a time to chat with Sally:

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