A picture’s worth a thousand words as regular users of Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and Pinterest know all too well. A new visual study from Curalate offers unusual insights into which images resonate and engage us best.
Curalate, a visual marketing and analytics firm, looked at 500,000 images on Pinterest across 30 visual dimensions. You can get their infographic here. The goal was to identify the visual elements that drove greater re-pins.
According to CEO Apu Gupta humans interacted with pictures before words because sight is our most developed sense. He speculated, “We initially started painting pictures on walls which were more emotional than text and are a minimal commitment.” Pictures, he says, offer so much context that minimal copy is needed to explain them or to orient the viewer.
Here’s a quick summary of the findings:
- Red/orange images get 2X the re-pins of blue images
- Multi-colors are re-pinned 3.23X more than pictures with just 1 dominant color
- Medium lit images get 20X re-pins over darker images
- Images with less than 30% whitespace are re-pinned the most
- Images that are 50% saturated get 10X more re-pins
- Vertical images with an aspect ratio of 2.3-4.5 are re-pinned 60X more often
- Pictures with less than 10% background get 2-4X more re-pins
- Pictures with smooth textures get re-pinned 17X more than rough textures
- Brand images without faces get 23% more re-pins than those with faces
To some extent, these findings are an insight into our reptilian brains. They are also a reflection of how we have been visually trained by media since childhood. The lack of interest in seeing people is counterintuitive especially when you consider that the underlying psychology revealed in this study suggests that warm, clear, proportional, colorful and familiar images are the things that draw us in, capture our imaginations and motivate us to share. This is a big step toward a visual formula for increased engagement.