Search Engine Journal Says There are Five Benefits to Using Visual Content in PDF Marketing Material

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According to Search Engine Journal, there are five benefits for marketers who use visual content in their PDF marketing materials. The author says that research clearly shows that images can improve your sales figures, so you should definitely think about adding more visual imagery to any PDF marketing materials you employ.

Using Images Makes Marketing Material More Emotionally Engaging

Images can influence mood and emotions. The following is from a research paper called, Impact of Images in Prent Media:

" have an unquestioned capacity to arouse emotions, and adds that such emotion may influence attitudes directly or indirectly by impacting message processing. Strivers (1994) believed visual images appeal to human beings on an emotions level and posited the more vibrant, excited, or convincing an image is, the more likely it will affect an individual. In the marketing context, similar outcomes are noteworthy. Since images can create a sense of drama, they hold a viewer's attention and create emotional involvement resulting in personal identification between the subjects of the story and the viewer."
Images Reduce Reading Fatigue

Images serve to break up passages of text, making marketing messages more user-friendly. It's worth remembering that when you next compile a campaign. While it's important to include as much information as possible, you can employ visuals to accomplish the job.

Images Are Easier for People to Remember

The human mind has a remarkable ability to recall images. And a study named Neural Correlates of the Episodic Encoding of Pictures and Words examined the brains of subjects while they read a text, then compared that to when they viewed images:

"...(The) medial temporal cortex has long been known from lesion experiments to be important for episodic memory and may be particularly important for encoding new information. The greater activity in medial temporal cortex during encoding of pictures compared with words suggests that pictures more directly or effectively engage these memory-related regions in the brain, thereby resulting in superior recollection of these items."
The study also found that the brain regions connected with reading words don't get used for memory tasks:

"Words, on the other hand, activate left hemisphere regions previously shown to be involved in language tasks, including left frontal, temporal, and parietal regions. This result implies that encoding of words primarily invokes a distributed system of regions involved in linguistic processing that is less able to support later retrieval from episodic memory.
Use Graphs to Communicate Visually

Research also shows that it takes twenty seconds of reading for internet users to process what an image can convey in fractions of a second. Recently, MIT neuroscientists found that the brain can remember images - including graphs - after only thirteen milliseconds:

"...a team of neuroscientists from MIT has found that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds - the first evidence of such rapid processing speed. The fact that you can do that at these high speeds indicates to us that what vision does is find concepts. That's what the brain is doing all day long - trying to understand what we're looking at," says Mary Potter, an MIT professor of brain and cognitive sciences and senior author of the study. This rapid-fire processing may help direct the eyes, which shift their gaze three times per second, to their next target, Potter says. "The job of the eyes is not only to get the information into the brain, but to allow the brain to think about it rapidly enough to know what you should look at next. So in general, we're calibrating our eyes so they move around just as often as possible consistent with understanding what we're seeing," she says."
Images Build Trust and Increase Profitability

eBay researched hundreds of millions of sales to see if images had a positive effect on success.

"Our results show positive evidence that images help increase buyer's attention, trust, and conversion rate. Among the three properties of images, our study shows that increasing number of images of the product - which is equivalent to providing a more complete visual representation of the product, is an effective way to improve sell-through."
eBay examined more than 55,000 sales and discovered that previously unsold products achieved better results when more images got added to listings:

"Strong correlation between increment in photo count and profit rate. We found a clear trend that as photo count increases, the probability of making profit also increases."
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Stanley
    Thanks for the thorough research breakdown. Passes the general sniff test and matches my experience/testing of images. Needless to say, think it extends beyond PDFs, and even pertains to text/copy, where "painting a strong picture" can generate better results
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    In the year 2021, my first new report has several images, used as metaphors.

    In follow ups, my customers have said they got as much from the pics as they did from the text, lists and bullet points. So, I too, thank you for doing the research to find these "ah, I thought so" things in marketing.

    A pic of a park and bridge is my most used metaphor, to show where one is today, and where they want to get too in the future (across the bridge is a basket of goodies, they choose the goodies).

    I'd post an image, but don't want to push my luck.

    Thanks for your research.

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    • Profile picture of the author Matthew Stanley
      Nice. I love bridge metaphors/images ... time-tested & instantly accessible to everyone irrespective of socioeconomics, geography, age, etc. It's no accident they're so prevalent in all forms of art, writing, music, old proverbs, etc.
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