PPC Landing Page Images: The Emotion & Science You Need to Know

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This is the second  part in a two-part series about choosing the right image(s) for your PPC landing pages. If you missed my first post, PPC Landing Page Images: The Technical Aspects You Need to Know, check it out.

When looking to boost your landing page conversion rates, there’s a lot of research and posts out there that can steer you in all kinds of directions. However, there’s also a lot of posts suggesting how you can boost landing page conversion rates by using images. This post will focus on the emotion, science and “art” of choosing the correct image(s) for your PPC landing pages.

Use Photos of (Real) People When Possible

Consider using a photo of a person or people on your landing page when possible. This was one of the top suggestions that I came across while conducting some research.  It might seem a little expensive, depending on your ideas for the picture, but in the long run, I think it can be worth the extra cost. Especially if the page is ecommerce-focused,  consider getting a photo of people using the product you are selling.

Photos with people’s faces often perform better than photos without faces. Why is this, you ask? The effect that human faces have on visitors viewing a web page can:

  • Catch a visitor’s attention because it’s something visitors instantly recognize.
  • Guide your visitors’ line of sight.
  • Engage your visitors with the page.
  • Visualize emotions in a way that text cannot.
  • Help visitors relate to your product of service.
  • Create a visual appeal.
  • Generate trustworthiness and authority for your site.

Long story short – Human faces give your landing pages visitors something to focus on and feel connected with.

Bonus Points for Directional Cues From Said People Photos

Directional cues tell visitors on your landing page what they should focus on. Photos of people looking at what you want them to focus on can be a powerful signal of where on the page to look since people don’t necessarily read web pages the same way they read a book (left to right or top to bottom).

So how can you do this easily? The post above gives a couple great ideas:

    • Pointing or Gesturing – The person in the photo is pointing or gesturing the something.
    • Eye direction – The person in the photo is looking in the direction you want customers to look.
    • Arrows and Line Graphics – This is especially great if you’re on a budget or can’t find a photo that offers directional cues.

Mascots and Logos Help, Too

Using real people can make a huge impact, but not ALL landing pages will call for photos of human beings. While the idea of the “human touch” is important to consider, website “mascots” are also currently very popular and successful. A mascot can help you solidify your marketing plan, be very memorable, give your site or page some personality and, for those clients who are especially limited on budgets, possibly a little easier on the wallet (depending on how much your graphic designer is and whether or not that service is in-house, of course).

Below are a few popular website mascots that have helped give their respective websites a little personality:



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If there’s someone out there that has never made an impulse buy online, serious kudos to you. I’d guess that for most of us who use the internet day-in and day-out, we’re all guilty of some emotionally-charged impulse shopping from time to time. This post from Neuroscience Marketing says it all: “Don’t Sell, Seduce!” Ads that appeal to our emotions are processed differently than those that seem like “just another advertisement”.

The study discussed in the Neuromarketing post showed two groups of advertisements: one group offered “logical persuasion advertising”, and the other group offered “non-rational influence ads” that were mostly images of attractive people. When brain waves were studied by the people viewing these images, the study concluded that the emotional ads were more impactful and some advertisers wish to “seduce, rather than persuade”.

Choose The Right Colors

Different colors can represent different emotions, so how do they play into your PPC landing page? There’s a lot of research out there discussing how certain colors perform on landing pages, as well as landing page buttons. Example: The color red can have impacts on how students take tests or it can give athletes an advantage. So make your entire page different shades of red, then, right!? Probably not.

It’s also important to plan your color scheme so that your call to action button has some contrast to the rest of the page. If the rest of your page swallows your call to action button or the background and the photo are too busy, the page is already a flop. It won’t matter what the science is behind the colors. If you need some help with contrasting colors, give this article from Unbounce a try.

Background Images Are Images, Too

Background images are generally a very large photo that takes up the majority of the landing page. When choosing a background photo, the rules are similar to choosing a general photo for your landing page. Here’s some suggestions:

  • Colors – You’ll want to make sure you choose a background photo that contrasts with your text. A good example is using a black and white photo as your background photo and using a white text or a colored text that isn’t too harsh. It’s definitely worth your time to make sure the page is still legible.
  • Theme – You’ll want to make sure your photo matches the theme of your page and the message overall, especially when you’re making it such a large size.
  • Quality – As discussed in the first post of this series, it’s important to have use quality images that aren’t pixelated, but also don’t slow down your site’s load time.

Remaining Consistent

One last thing to consider when choosing an image is how you can carry that same image through other parts of your marketing plan. If you’re going to run display ads, it’s a good idea to choose an image (or family of similar images) that you can incorporate into both your image ad and then again on the landing page. This “message match” will help your landing pages and ads to have a similar feel. Like a post from Unbounce says, “The visitor shouldn’t be surprised by what they see when they go from ad to landing page. When the entire funnel is relevant and consistent, the visitor spends less time orienting themselves to the new page and more time focusing on your message.”

This isn’t everything to consider when choosing images for your PPC landing pages, but it’s a great start.

How do you choose images? What other tips would you have for choosing images? Let us know in the comments!