It’s no surprise that marketers use faces to draw people into their websites. They know that, from birth, humans are naturally attracted to, and engaged by, faces. In fact, one of our studies showed that people perceived websites as more “professional” when they had images of people on the site.
Be careful! Simply picking a “pretty” picture isn’t enough. Too often marketers will take people pictures and show them to a focus group to see which ones they relate to best. As marketers, we worry about the gender, style and overall quality of the picture relating to our message. There’s another crucial factor for marketers to consider: The direction in which the model’s eyes are facing.
Generally, it’s best when the model faces the content you want visitors to engage with first.
Take a look at the landing page below (I’ve blurred the text to protect the guilty innocent):
What happens is that you are naturally drawn to the image of the attractive model and our eyes tend to meet. Since her eyes are focused back at you, they stop you in your tracks — and researchers can prove it by studying your eyetracking gaze.
Take a look at the following ads that our friends at Bunnyfoot analyzed in eyetracking studies:
Now take a look at the Heatmap of the ads:
Next time you choose a face to appear on the web or in an ad, consider where it draws the beholder’s eyes. Ask yourself whether the image draws attention away from your persuasive message.
P.S. This is for my friends who like to test everything. I have a couple of questions: When testing pictures, do you currently break down the variables in the image? If so, were you aware of using the directional focus of a model’s eyes as a variable?