How using images in posts can increase user engagement by 418%

Leuven-Town-Hall Leuven Town Hall, a landmark that's well worth a visit

Using images in Facebook posts can increase the number of likes received by 732% and increase engagement by 418%, while using them in tweets can encourage 62% more clicks.

These figures come from one of our own client campaigns, where we compared the progress of posts with and without images over a three month period.

Throughout this piece there’s evidence that points to the fact that users tend to pay less attention to imageless – and frankly boring – posts, choosing to engage with visually striking content.

With this in mind, can you safely say you’re doing your utmost to provide users with content they’ll want to look at and read, or could you do better?

Here, the point is made clear how the holy trinity of digital marketing – volume of traffic, user engagement and conversion levels – can see vast improvements with the inclusion of photographs in blogs and social media posts.

We’re Visual People – A Short Story

I spent an afternoon exploring the Flemish town of Leuven recently. Haphazardly following a map we had picked up, we weaved in and out of the narrow streets, wide-eyed and taking in a few places of interest such as a beautiful 15th Century castle, a craft brewery, bars and cafes, and stunning architecture.

But most memorably, our penultimate stop – before we called it a day and sank another local white beer – was up on top of a hill, where we could see the church spires, the tops of detailed and ornate houses which lay below, and just on the horizon there was the Stella Artois factory.

But more significantly, we had a view and something to look at and to take in. We got our breath back and looked on, pointing out the places we’d just pedalled past – we’d seen a lot that day, and we’d been inspired by the brilliance of our surroundings.

My point is that we’re visual people. In life we’re stimulated, enthused and inspired by the things we look at, and we're the same when we’re online.

67% of Consumers Say Image Quality Influences Buying Decision

Cancun-beach-scene Cancun looks lovely, when can I book?

Let’s say you’re using a computer, smartphone or tablet, and you’re browsing for your next holiday – you’re going to want to know what your destination looks like, so you’d expect that there are clear and crisp photos to see.

Think of it like this: I went to great lengths to paint a picture with my words in the previous section, but the header image of Leuven Town Hall almost certainly did the trick, and with much less effort.

As a consumer, you’re more likely to book a trip to Cancun if there are beach shots, photos of clear blue skies, turquoise oceans and couples snorkelling – all showing off the beauty of your planned destination.

According to a study by MDG Advertising, 67% of consumers say image quality is "very important" on an ecommerce site when making a purchase decision. A better-quality photo means more engagement, and more engagement means users are more likely to convert.

It’s all about user experience, which is a key aspect of the purchase funnel – so it’s vital you make the customer journey as appealing as possible, through high quality content and by optimising your website so it’s easier to use.

When it comes to blogs and social media posts, images will make your content more engaging:


Facebook Posts with Images Receive 1421% More Shares

We looked in depth at one of our campaigns, comparing Facebook and Twitter posts with images included to those without, the results were pretty conclusive:

Facebook posts with images saw:

  • 293% more impressions per post
  • 418% more user engagement
  • 732% more likes per post
  • 68% more comments per post
  • 1421% more shares per post

Learn more about our social media training

The results were equally as impressive on Twitter

  • 186% more engagements per post
  • 56% more impressions per post
  • Three times as many retweets and favourites
  • 62% more clicks per post

The best social channel for your business depends on the sector you work in – our blog about this will point you in the right direction.

Images Are Indexed By Google

Alt Text Input alt text into the 'Alternative Text' Box

Tag your images. Alt text descriptions send signals to search engines, and if an image is tagged correctly, search visibility can improve – just make sure you use descriptive file names and ensure the description matches the image subject.  Tagging an image of a beach in Cancun with the alt text “Cancun beach” will provide an additional keyword phrase for Google to index. When you’re uploading a page, the content management system (CMS) – whether it's Wordpress, Magento or a custom system – should give the option to alt text to your images.

At Least One Relevant Image per Post

At theEword, when we create content every blog post needs at least one image. Break walls of text up with headers and accompanying imagery. Also realise that some visitors might not even read all of the content – it's easier to capture their imagination with fantastic imagery, either your own photographs or found stock images.

Where Can You Find Images?

I arrived home from holiday having taken over 200 photos with my smartphone. It’s easy to take your own shots, either with a smartphone or digital camera, but if that’s not an option for you, sign up and use stock photos from websites like Shutterstock – just stay clear of clichéd images.

Christ-the-redeemer Find copyright free images with Google Image Search

Alternatively, you can quickly find ‘License Free’ photos on Google Image Search: search for something, such as, “Christ the Redeemer”, click on ‘Search Tools’ and then select ‘Labelled for Reuse’ – you’ll be able to use the images you see without worrying about copyright infringement. You can quickly add an image to your posts and the benefits are clear to see – so whether you’re a holiday company or you blog about Tabasco sauce, give your website’s visitors the same visual inspiration I found on my trip to Belgium and feed their sense of wonder.

“One advantage of photography is that it can transcend language” – Lisa Kristine

Want To Know More?

If you’ve found this blog useful and want to know more, theEword runs monthly digital marketing training sessions. [mailinglist subject="Join Our Mailing List" background="white" text="black" headingcolour="#54620D"]