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1,000 Words or Impressions?

ATAS 1,000 Words or Impressions
October 23, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.

By Lauren White, RCS Assistant Editor.

Photo galleries and social media are crucial for roofing companies that want to stay relevant in this digital age.

We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  And while a picture can capture a lot, why is it important to include photos in your marketing?

Nearly everyone has a smartphone nowadays, allowing us to take a photo at any moment and see it instantly.  We no longer have to worry if we forgot film or a SIM card, and gone are the days of waiting to develop the film or upload the pictures to our computers to view them.  While we have all adapted to newer technologies, so has marketing.  Utilizing social media to gain impressions and followers, digital marketing has seen immense growth throughout the years, and one of the driving forces for that change is the fact that the human brain was built for visual information.  

90% of information processed by the brain is visual, which is why digital marketing and social media are such popular forms of marketing.  In order for companies to stay relevant, it’s important for them to adopt social media and digital marketing while utilizing photos that capture their consumers’ attention, no matter the industry.

On average, an adult consumes over 34 gigabytes of information each day, which is approximately 100,000 words.  According to Forbes, that’s “five times more [information] than 50 years ago.”  All of that information is not retained though, the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve suggests that humans forget about 50% of new information within an hour of learning it, and 75% within 24 hours.  However, 80% of people remember what they see, while just 20% remember what they read.  

Research suggests that 65% of people are visual learners.  Most people only read 20-28% of the words on the page, but visual content increases user engagement by 180%.  Why is all of this relevant for roofing contractors?  As an industry that is slow to adopt technology, in order for companies to stay relevant, it’s imperative for them to provide customers with stimulating images that will pique their interest, stand out in the digital clutter of today’s world and help drive conversions.  As younger generations are buying homes and needing to replace roofs, they’re going to consult photos, reviews and social media to help them make their purchasing decisions.  Do you want your company to be left behind because you opted for technical product descriptions or do you want to be an industry leader by using photo galleries and social media?

According to a study done by Global Web Index, as of July 2019, the Monthly Active Users (MAU) for Facebook was 2.4 billion, Instagram was 1 billion and Twitter was 330 million.  In a social media minute, 347,222 people are scrolling on Instagram and 87,500 people are posting on Twitter.

Pixlee found that, “55 percent of millennials say pictures and video are the most important part of the mobile shopping experience.  When comparing the value of images, product information, product description and ratings and reviews, 67 percent of consumers ranked images as the most important for making purchasing decisions.” 

Not convinced yet?  Check out these statistics about the power of images and social media:

As a millennial and a visual learner, I can attest to that last stat.  If there is a substantial amount of text or technical terms that I don’t understand, I am less likely to read the information, but I’ll view the photos.  When reading a textbook in school, how many of you would skim through the chapter observing the pictures before reading the actual text?  Or, if you were reading something particularly confusing, would you breathe a sigh of relief when you saw (See Figure 1)?  While we’re not reading textbooks anymore, this same concept applies to brand research and purchasing decisions.  

Now more than ever, social media sites are used for product research, brand engagement and online purchases.  There was a 7% increase of users consulting social media sites to research/find products to buy between 2015 and 2018, according to WeForum.  Instagram and Pinterest offer one-click shopping, allowing users to buy what they see immediately with just a tap of their screen.  GeoMarketing found that, “44 percent of consumers use social media more than five times a day, and one-third of purchases begin on social platforms each month.”

Besides social media, how else can roofing contractors drive traffic to their company websites, increase user engagement and gain more customers?  Photo galleries.  

“Adding an image gallery allows you the opportunity to show clients previous examples of your work, to demonstrate the options you have to offer them and the breadth of your ability,” according to TechSling.  You could spend all day writing project profiles and explaining the technical aspects of each product used, or you could invest in high quality images that will do the talking for you, like ATAS International, Inc. did.  Their photo gallery showcases a myriad of metal roof projects for customers to peruse, which also allows them to see what types of projects ATAS takes on, the quality of their work, and more importantly, customers can start to envision ATAS’s product on their roof.   

Considering that, “Over 75 percent of consumers are inspired to make purchases based on image and video content,” according to ViSenze, viewing the photo gallery for Boral Roofing is going to have a more profound impact on consumers looking for a tile roof than reading information about the different tile shingle varieties they have.  “By including examples of work that have impressed customers, you are showing potential clients the quality of your previous work, encouraging them to use your services,” TechSling shares.  

Justuno found that, “93% of consumers consider visual content to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision.”  For customers in search of an asphalt shingle roof, scrolling through an image gallery full of shingle and color options from Malarkey Roofing Products will be less daunting than trying to decipher the difference between the Midnight Black color in the Legacy®, Vista®, Windsor®, and Highlander® Nex® shingles.  

When it comes to making purchases, photos have a profound impact on the user experience:

As a consumer, I look through every photo and read several reviews before committing to a product or service, from shoes and exercise bikes to veterinarians and window cleaners.  The quality of the visuals used to showcase your products and projects is essential.  Product photos can reveal, “What the brand is about, what it means to consumers and why the visitor should care about it,” Meero shared.  

So what do you need to do to have a memorable photo gallery?  Entrepreneur has four tips to appeal to customers and increase conversions:

  1. Images need to be large and high-quality, to boost conversions.  Avoid visuals that are pixelated, cheesy stock photos, or aren’t relevant to your product or service.

  2. Provide customers with as much information as possible by including multiple views of a product - front, back, side, 360°.  Have a zoom option so customers can view details up close.

  3. “Help potential customers visualize how your product(s) could play a role in their lives by showcasing products in the settings where people are most likely to use them.”  You can do this by not only providing photos of your products individually, but also assembled on a roof so customers can see what the finished product will look like.

  4. Ensure the photos accurately represent your products.  “If customers purchase a product based on a photo only to discover the real thing looks nothing like what they thought, that’s going to result in dissatisfied customers, poor reviews, high return rates and lost customer retention.”

While pictures may be worth one thousand impressions instead of a thousand words now, there’s no denying that images are a powerful means of communication.  And in today’s digital world, high quality photos are a driving force behind purchases whether it’s via social media or photo galleries.  Customers need to see different shingle colors and styles, not read about them, so they can envision what their new and improved roof will look like.  In order to appeal to humans' visual nature, photo galleries and social media are a must.  

So what will you choose, 1,000 words or 1,000 impressions?

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