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In part I we discussed the importance of color and how different colors and shades can be used to play on the subconscious mind of our prospects. This article will focus on imagery and which images you should use to attain the highest CTR for your next Facebook Ad.

Is there such a thing as image psychology?

Images are a huge part of online advertising, having a picture will almost always shoot up the conversion rate of any campaign, why? Because they grab our attention much better than words. Not only does an image stick out but it can instantly paint a picture in our minds of what the ad is trying to portray in milliseconds. As the saying goes – “A picture paints a thousand words”.

There are many things to consider when choosing an image, these include:


Everybody knows the first step of persuasion is to engage in eye-contact. Whether you’re going to a job interview or selling a product in-person, eye-contact symbolizes trust, sincerity and warmth. According to the IMCCA, making eye-contact creates a stronger physiological connection between two people, which is exactly what you with to achieve with advertising.

When to use – Ideal for any business which operates in the service industry and meets clients face-to-face. Aim to use a image that looks directly at the user and portrays confidence and trust. The type of face to use will vary based on the aim of the message, this is discussed further down in this article.

2. Smiley faces

A smile is the international symbol for welcome, warmth and being a non-threat. A friend or family member smiling can raise our spirits, while someone looking upset or angry can negatively affect our day, crazy! A test carried out by the Stockholm School of Economics, revealed that images which showed people smiling had a higher marketing appeal than faces that didn’t, hardly a surprise.

When to use – If the copy of your ad is meant to show people how you can help them solve a particular problem, or when offering services that involve interaction – a person smiling is the way to go. If your ad is intended to ignite a negative response, a smile will contradict your message.


3. Metaphor and symbols

As humans, we have attached certain symbolic values to different images. For example, if we see a lion, we think alpha male, predatory and instinctive, whereas a heart makes us think of love and compassion. Facebook Ads are limited to 115 characters in total, a metaphoric picture can go a long way in getting your message across.

When to use – Let’s assume you manage a fitness center, using an image of a gorilla can portray strength, whereas a sloth correlates to laziness, both can work well targeting users who want to get strong or people who are unfit and lazy.


For a Realtor, a donkey can be used to represent confusion the buyer has when searching for a property, or a handshake which represents a deal being made can help skyrocket conversions.

4. The power of angles… oops we mean angles!

Any movie connoisseur will tell you the importance camera angles play to enhance a character’s image or a particular scene. An upshot (camera looking up) is generally associated with strength, achieving, power and progression. A down-shot (camera looking down) tends to invoke fear, negativity and forgiveness.

When to use  If your copy is a negative one or is meant to instigate fear, worry, anxiety, risk or negativity, a downward shot is best to further emphasis the message. If your ad copy is written inspire, empower or increase something in the viewer’s life, then we suggest using an upshot.

For example, an advert which is promoting education courses work well with upshots, while ads that play on the fear of debt, bad health or lack of motivation are best combined with down-shots.

5. To use models or the average Joe?

Does it really come as a surprise that pretty faces sell more? Just turn on the TV or flick through any magazine and you will see famous celebrities or a number of models airbrushed to look as desirable as possible. Using models work well but are not ideal for businesses who focus on selling to other businesses.

When to use:

B2C– If you’re a business that markets to consumers, you’re most likely trying to sell an ‘ideal’. For example, a clothing store wants to sell the ideal of being trendy, fashionable and cool, while a fitness center wants to sell sex and big muscles. These ideals are best portrayed by using models. The consumer’s mind has been conditioned to think they can become that model if they use your services or buy your clothes.

B2B – Marketing doesn’t work on selling an ideal but aims to create a connection, provide great service and value. Using an image of an office employee will psychologically connect with them more effectively, as the picture represents themselves and their own workforce rather than a model or a guy with big bulging muscles.

6. Think outside the box  

Being creative or using images that are out of the ordinary grab our attention. Erik du Plessis, the author of The Advertised Mind conducted a test which revealed adverts must attract a prospect’s eyes for at least 2.75 seconds for them to remember that advert, anything less and they will forgot.

When to use – Cartoon animals work very well. If you’re selling a product, get an image of an animal using it, else brainstorm something unique and funny that can grab someone’s attention for at least 2.75 seconds. Cat with an eye-patch anyone?


7. Sex appeal

As if we would leave this one out. Sex sells and it’s as simple as that. Time and time again it’s been proven that cleavage attracts a man’s eyes, while rock hard abs and muscles attract both genders. Sexual attraction is in our DNA and using it in your Facebook Ad is a no-brainer in most cases.

When to use Keep in mind that sex appeal works best if the product or service you’re offering is to a younger demographic. Understand your product and ask yourself if it has any sex appeal. Sometimes sex can negatively affect your brand if you’re using it in the wrong context. As a rule of thumb, only use sex when selling to a consumer and not a business.

8. Gender

The gender and the look of the person in the ad will greatly affect conversion. For example, if you’re selling power tools, most of your target market will be middle-aged men. They won’t want a young chiseled men with big muscles in their ads or a women, but everyday men just like themselves using the equipment.

Women’s Fashion, household items and cleaning products will generally appeal to females and having a women in the ad will likely yield greater results. While we don’t necessarily agree with these generalizations, they are used a lot in marketing and have been proven to work very well (don’t shoot the messenger). If you’re selling virtual products, training courses or offering services, the gender of the person in your ad is usually irrelevant for the most part.

new soap

When to use If your product or service promotes connection, relationships, companionship, respect, love or warmth then a women is usually the better choice. When looking for affirmation, strength or wealth a man may be better suited.

Understanding your product and prospect is key when deciding on which gender to use


We hope this has given you a deeper understanding on how to better use images for your next Facebook Ad, and the importance it has on your message and conversion percentages. Our thoughts are just generalizations and a template for you to use. Just because it has been proven that smiley faces are better for marketing, doesn’t mean you should only use smiley faces. Your image should be used to further portray the message behind the copy.

Most businesses fail to understand the different factors that go into displaying an image that can play on the human mind. Test out our methods today and let us know how much you crushed!

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