Use Visual Thinking to Increase Your CTR

A picture of being overwhelmed

Information and messaging overload has led to the need for images, to cut through the clutter and take advantage of visual thinking.

By:  Karen Pelletier

Macala Wright in her great article, “5 Digital Trends Shaping the Consumer Experience,” argues that consumers are shifting to“experiential” forms of communication and sharing.  Visual thinking, the use and exploration of images as tools for communication, is one of the most important trends to capitalize on.

Cut Through the Clutter to Get Your Message Heard

The world is a complex, busy place.  And that complexity and competition for attention seems to increase exponentially over time.  Estimates show that the average American is bombarded with advertising and messages that compete for their attention.  Consumer Reports reported that the average American was exposed to 247 ads a day, The Business Journal Phoenix Website, 600 ads a day, and The Union of Concerned Scientists Website, 3,000 ads per day.  No matter whose estimate you believe, there is ton of messaging competing for the attention of your target customer.

When Trout and Ries came out with their seminal book, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, in 1981, dealing with an over-communicated society was already viewed as a major issue for advertising. Trout & Ries posited the art of positioning as a way to simplify, cut through the barrage of messaging, and claim a place in your customer’s brain.  Successful positioning touches base with the reality that is already in the customer’s mind. You have to focus on your prospect, not on your product, to find what is going to get through to them.  Thus when Mastercard created their “priceless” campaign, it resonated with the public because they were enabling their customers to focus on what’s important to them, like spending quality time with their family.

Using Images Simplifies Communication

Additional evidence for the rise of visual thinking can be found in the success of Pinterest as one of the fastest growing social networks.  According to Pinterest expert Melanie Duncan, Pinterest generates more traffic than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined.  Pinterest generates more traffic than Twitter, and interestingly, Pinterest is generating more revenue for businesses than Facebook!  Why? My hypothesis is that it’s faster and easier to quickly scan images.  Things that you might like, solve a problem you have, or are interested in tend to pop out.  It’s all about what’s appealing to the customer.  Those are the items that get repined, and go viral.

One of the reasons Pinterest has become such a huge success is that it leverages “visual thinking” to communicate.  Click to Tweet!

Once you’ve selected your image create simplified custom landing pages.  HubSpot reported on research done by the Corporate Executive Board that has shown that simplicity, and limiting or taking away choices, actually results in higher conversion rates.  Specifically, a 20% increase in decision simplicity results in a 96% increase in customer loyalty, 86% increase in likelihood to purchase, and 115% increase in likelihood to recommend.

When Selecting Images Start with Where Your Customer’s Head Is, Then Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

1. Select images that start with where your target customer’s head is now and shows a problem or opportunity that your product or service solves.  Remember—it should be from the customer’s point of view!

2. Create simplified landing pages that remove navigation, advertise the value of your offer—why it will be useful or beneficial to the customer, have a simple, actionable call-to-action (like “Download Now” instead of “submit”), and keep your forms short.

Remember, simpler is always better.  See if simple, powerful images increase your click through rates.

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About Karen Pelletier

Karen Pelletier is an independent Marketing Consultant. She has over 30 years of experience in consumer packaged goods, new product development, technology marketing, and Internet Marketing. She can be reached at
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