The Power of Visualization

Rishi Rawat Blog 1 Comment

Of our 3 CRO tactics, Visualization is the simplest to explain (the other two are Serendipity and Narrative Control—learn more here). But Visualization is severely underused by marketers. Before we explain, let’s discuss what’s at work in the human brain that makes Visualization so impactful.

How fast does the human brain process images?

Here’s something surprising to many: the human brain processes images 60,000x faster than words. You read that right. 

Additionally, 65% of us are what you would call “visual learners”, meaning the majority of us comprehend visual representations of information easier than written or verbal information. Whether we believe this to be true or not is irrelevant because the proof is in the pudding. In other words, A/B testing shows us that replacing written content with visual content often results in winning tests.

What is Visualization?

Visualization is the process of reinforcing a point using a visual device. We can do this in two ways:

  1. Through visual media, e.g. images, infographics, videos, etc.
  2. Through words.

“Wait, through words? But you just said the human brain processes images faster than words!” 

You got us. But we’ll explain what we mean below. We promise.

Visualization Using Visuals

When searching for a journal on Amazon. Bleeding ink wasn’t even a criterion I was looking for but once I saw the image below I was like, “That’s right, it’s important that the pages in the journal don’t bleed!”:

Showing how well the product works

This marketer was able to inject a thought in my mind, and that changed my purchase behavior.

SawStop (not a client, just using their Amazon page to illustrate our idea) is a safety device that stops a saw if your fingers come to close to the blade (which can mean the end of a finger). It stops the machine in 5 milliseconds but people can’t really imagine how fast 5 milliseconds is. So we added a visual aid:

Helping people see just how fast 5 milliseconds really is.

This probiotic helps by balancing our gut biome (not a client, just using their site to illustrate our idea). People can’t see inside their body. Bacteria are tiny (practically invisible) so we wanted to pick a more relatable example to emphasize the importance of balance:

Here’s an example that quickly shows the viewer the importance of public transportation:

Here’s an old print ad that helps illustrate how soft and comfortable Comfort’s detergent will make your clothes:

To illustrate how low blood donations were, The Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin created this ad:

Here’s a fun one. To help the shopper visualize the sucking power of a Hoover carpet cleaner, Hoover ran this ad:

This graphic from Basecamp’s site does a great job of illustrating how hectic an employee’s day is without an organization tool/platform:

This digital counter helps people visualize how much waste they’re saving from landfills:

How about an example that’ll make you wish it were lunchtime? Trifecta (not a client) wants to let users know how their plan compares. So they show this:

Want a unique way to help shoppers understand what goes into your product? Take a look at what Choc Zero did:

Here’s another Basecamp example that shows the user just how popular and credible the site/service is:

To add credibility to your site, you may want to show just how far of a reach your product has. What if you were to add an image of a map to your site that shows just how many orders you’ve shipped and where you’ve shipped them? See below:

This example shows how well the probiotic releases good bacteria into the user’s gut:

In this example, Visualization is being used to communicate that water isn’t always flowing through clean pipes:

In this ad, Zoom wants to show the difference in video quality between their service and WebEx’s service:

Visualization Using Words

In example below words are being used to evoke a visual image. The user can imagine what 1,200 Olympic-sized pools looks like:

How about an example that helps the reader visualize themselves in a scenario:

Some products are services are so good that they go unnoticed (and are therefore under-appreciated). How does Akismet make sure people see their value? Take a look:

Here an example from Advertising Age:

Analysts were mesmerized by TiVo and expected it to sell 760,000 by the end of the first year.

In 2002, after TiVo had been on the market for 2 years Advertising Age ran this headline to show how poorly TiVo was doing:

“More U.S. Homes Have Outhouses than TiVos”

Now that you’ve seen quite a few examples, can you think of a way to leverage the power of Visualization on your site? Need help? Comment below and we’ll help find a visualization opportunity on your site.

Comments 1

  1. This is a terrific idea! I was drawn to the graphic for “blink of the eye & 5 milliseconds” that really put it in perspective.

    Hmm…. how can I do this?

    One idea is that we have a particular cut of diamond, called Fire Polish, that exhibits more color dispersion (fire) than any other diamond in the world. So maybe a graph on that category page, and also on the product page? I did put up an image, and there are videos – but a graph showing the HUGE difference in “fire” creation of that diamond might tell a better story?

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