Between 80 and 90% of the information that our brain grasps is captured through the sense of sight, and those who work in social media know it.
We live in a hyper-connected world, flooded with ads throughout the day. In the 1970s, a person would see an average of 500 to 1600 ads per day; most of which were in newspapers, magazines, television or billboards. Three decades later, a study on social structure conducted by the Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research (UC San Diego) revealed that this number of impacts had risen to 5,000 ads per day. This spectacular increase is undoubtedly due to the irruption of social media platforms. LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram have radically changed the advertising environment. The pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has only accelerated things even more. Although there is still no official data on the amount of advertising impacts a person receives today, it is estimated that the average person encounters between 6,000 and 10,000 ads every day (1-2 every ten seconds), something really exhausting for our brain. However, this sharp increase in stimuli has not been accompanied by an increase in our capacity for perception: 18 messages per day. Competition is brutal.
Social media ️ images
Humans are designed to process visual signals much better than text-based ones. As Marcel Just, director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University, stated in an interview with Nieman Reports: “The human brain is not built to process text. The printed word is a human creation. It is very convenient and has worked very well for us for 5,000 years, but it is an invention of human beings. In contrast, Mother Nature has built into our brains our ability to see the visual world and interpret it. We are even more biologically endowed for spoken language rather than for written one”. Our brains are known to process visual content 60,000 times faster than text-based ones. This explains why the vast majority of publications on social media are accompanied by an image and why publications that have eye-catching images achieve 94% more hits and visits than those that do not. According to a study conducted by HubSpot, on Facebook, posts with pictures have 53% more likes and attract 104% more comments than those without. But this does not only happen in the most visual platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram: analyzing from a sample of 100 tweets, Buffer found that those with images got 18% more clicks, received 89% more likes and 150% more retweets.
The most desired ones
Images on social media have a great responsibility, since they attract the platforms users’ attention and interest and even arouse the desire for the product or content they advertise. According to Sofía Gómez, Graphic Editor at SMOS, for images to be appealing, it is essential that they are “attractive enough to generate interest in our target audience, which is why certain aspects must be taken into account, such as color (depending on which is used, certain emotions or feelings will be aroused), contrast (disparity makes the image more striking), hierarchy (the most important message must get all the attention), direction (we must show our audience in which direction their view should focus), balance (they can be symmetrical, asymmetrical, radial, etc.) and a few other aspects that aim to generate interest in our target audience and to make our visual communication much more attractive”. The expert also emphasizes the importance of “taking small details into account, as depending on the work being undertaken and the approach that the content requires, it can make a difference”. Finally, Gómez stresses: “You should always think about what you want to convey and think of creative ways to express your ideas, trying not to leave behind these useful and essential tips for creating an image”.