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How Effective Are The Visuals On Your Homepage?

How Effective Are The Visuals On Your Homepage? Ian McGrath
A website homepage without pictures is like an unpainted shop -- sure, you will have customers who will come to buy what they want. But the experience just doesn't exist. Over the past one year, the average internet speed globally has risen from 3.9 Mbps to 4.5 Mbps. As the number of customers enjoying good internet speed rises, so is the need for online business owners to make websites that are visually more attractive and enticing.

But how effective are these visually enticing homepages? Do they convert better than a plain text alternative? DueMaternity.com, an eCommerce store for pregnant women and new mothers recently reported that their conversion rates rose by as much as 27% after the addition of 360% rotating images. Similarly, HighRise, a CRM service provider noticed a 102.5% improvement in conversions with the addition of a background image.

Now that we have been able to establish the importance of visual content on a website's homepage or landing page, the next question that needs to be answered is if all images are created equal. According to a report on VWO, companies that replaced stock images with pictures of regular people or products can see close to 45% improvement in conversion rates. Several other studies point out that the images that you use on your website landing page needs to be high quality, and preferably with a human touch. However, visitors largely ignore those that seem staged – primarily stock images.

Another aspect to consider is the size of the images used. A report on eConsultancy points out that larger images on an auction site enticed nearly 63% more visitors to click and start the bidding process. Similarly, using mega-sized blown up images as backgrounds on Dell landing page seemed to reduce bounce rate by as much as 27% while increasing leads by 36%.

But Jay Barnett, the founder of Priority Pickup, an Uber-like service in Australia points out that the context of the images have a higher role to play than merely the size. His team found that replacing a mega-sized interactive Australia map on their prime real estate with several small headshots of private chauffeurs increased conversion rates by as much as 29%. According to him, one major concern that customers hiring chauffeurs online have is safety. By presenting headshots of smiling chauffeurs right on top, customers tend to relax and feel more assured. This in turn helps in increasing the conversion rates.

As these various studies tell us, the use of images indeed helps companies communicate their offering to customers. In addition to this, real images of people or the team behind a service tends to humanize a website which may otherwise appear shady and like a 'fly by night' operator. Also, for online shops, larger, high resolution images of products on sale give customers a reassurance that what they see is what they will really get. Such assurances help to calm nerves and reduce the anxiety thereby inducing the visitors to open their wallet or offer their private information over a web portal.

How has your experience been with visuals on your website? Did it help in increasing conversion rates? Share your views in the comments below.

Ian McGrath is a consulting professional with over 10 years of experience in product marketing. He has spent considerable time in consulting businesses in Australia, India and Canada. He is currently working on an assignment in Bangalore, India.

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