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How Many Words is a Picture Worth Anyway?

  • How Many Words is a Picture Worth Anyway?

Everyone says a picture is worth a thousand words, but that may be doing pictures a disservice. According to Business 2 Community, a picture is worth just around 60,000 words. They base this on a study that indicates the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text, and that 93% of all human communication is visual.

So why do we need copy in advertising at all?

If you scan a magazine, or a website, or your social media feed, chances are the visual will grab you first. That’s why 60% of consumers are more likely to click on a business whose images appear in search results. And videos on landing pages increase average page conversion rates by 86%.

Yes, visuals rule the day—at least to get your attention. But, honestly, how many online links are you going to click when all you have is a picture and no headline? How many business leads are you going to make on your website with a bunch of photos of your dog (even if your dog is like, super cute)? The key is to grab attention with the visual, and reel them in with the headline or copy. If you see a compelling visual without a mutually interesting headline, one that is relevant to the picture and intrigues you—that’s artwork. A compelling visual with a headline that gets you thinking, that urges your finger to click the mouse or pick up the phone? Well, that’s art that works.

In the creative department here at Pepper Group, we understand that a visual doesn't make great marketing, but neither does great copy. It’s the marriage of the two that creates attention-worthy, action-provoking advertising. We know that the best ideas are those where a great visual is enhanced and explained by the headline or copy, and a great headline or copy is propelled by the visual. They aren’t redundant, but neither do they clash. Think of it as 1 + 1 = 3, sort of.

Speaking of numbers, that brings us to the question I asked at the top: how many words is a picture worth anyway? 10,000? 60,000? 600,000? I suppose the answer doesn’t really matter. Because what’s more important is that the words a picture is worth, may not be the words that matter most.

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