Day 10: Improve Your Dominant Visual

A dominant visual is the feature that first captures your audience’s attention. It is the single most important tool for making an impression — and it can help you forget this bond in an extremely short amount of time.

Keep in mind that the entirely opposite effect can happen too.

If your visual is obnoxiously flashy or ugly/stock photo-esque, you’ll scare people away. They’ll bounce so quickly that you won’t know what hit your landing page.

A high-impact visual should be engaging, explanative, and highly professional. It should communicate human interest, emotional appeal, and educational value.

According to a usability study run by Jakob Nielsen, there is a wide gap in how photos are perceived online. Some are incredibly attention grabbing and conversation-worthy. Others are totally ignored — these tend to be generic stock photos and images generated for the sake of aesthetics.

Eliminate Visual Bloat

Visual bloat (pictures for the sake of having pictures) is annoying — even if your images are attractive. People prefer to have the information they want right in front of them. That’s because:

  1. Users are impatient. Especially when they’re on their mobile phones, they don’t have time to wait for your images to download.

  2. Buyers are information driven. They don’t care about bells and whistles. They want information that’s quick and to the point

  3. Readers want information that helps them make a decision about their purchase decisions. Visuals can help them navigate details more quickly than reading chunks of text.

And from a marketer’s perspective, your goal is the same — you want visual content that can help drive sales. Remember that’ today’s buyer is more information driven than ever.

Focus on People

Photos of people are extremely attention-grabbing. Just take a look at the following report created by Nielsen and his team:

Image Source: Jakob Nielsen

According to an analysis of the company about page featured above, audiences are spending 10% more time reading the photos than reading through the biographies. In other words, it could be more effective to eliminate these chunks of text and instead, feature easy-to-scan quickfacts.

But here’s the catch. The photos you choose need to be of real people. Nobody gives a darn about stock photos, as exemplified by the analysis below — people scanned over the image on the page (because it reeks of generic):

Image Source: Jakob Nielsen

People are engaging when they’re real. A pretty face isn’t enough to fuel engagement — people want the backstory too.

Choose Photos of Products

E-commerce companies need to take great photos of their products. Why? Because people are paying attention to what stuff looks like when they shop. Photos are especially important when product aesthetics are likely to influence a purchase decision. Products that fall into this category include furniture, linens, and clothing. Electronics and TVs? Not so much. Chances are, if products look alike, aesthetics won’t be a deciding factor.

Take a look at the following product page analysis that Nielsen and his team ran:

Image Source: Jakob Nielsen

People paid significant attention to the Pottery Barn products page (less), but they devoted considerably less attention to the televisions listing page on Amazon. People care about what their future looks like. TVs? Well, those pretty much look the same. It’s the tech specs beneath the surface that count.

Create an Explainer Video

Video is an extremely powerful storytelling medium — more so than any static image. Videos may cost several thousands of dollars (at least) to produce, but they’re also some of the most effective tools for communicating your message and value proposition in as little time as possible. According to this analysis on Unbounce, explainer videos can increase conversions by up to 20%.

Here is why they work:

  • Visual and verbal learning — people retain more information when learning through visual and verbal cues

  • Explainer videos communicate your company’s value proposition clearly, compellingly, and persuasively

  • Explainer videos will force your company to communicate your value in a few minutes, max

  • When entertaining and executed well, explainer videos can be very shareable — which is great for reaching new audiences through your buyer’s network of family and friends.

If you make a video, make it great. Even if you’re running on a low budget, make sure to be as compelling and engaging as possible.

Today’s Homework

Today, you’re going to make sure that you have the best images possible on your landing pages. Keep in mind that great photos and videos can take a while to create — at the very least, take today to get the ball rolling to create the best visuals possible.

If you don’t have an inventory of highly effective, original visuals, you’ll need to hire a photographer or videographer. One solution to help you find a creative professional on short notice is SmartShoot, a marketplace for on-demand, on-site video and photo creators. Another company worth checking out is Demo Duck — they produce amazing animated videos.


Emily Anderson