Ian Lurie // Dec 12 2012
I curse whoever first wrote “Have an image at the top of your blog post.”
Ever since then it’s been a barrage of crappy stock photos slapped at the top of every half-assed blog post across the internet.
Take this example. Am I supposed to believe there’s an company in the world that has this many perfectly-coifed, attractive people? This looks like some kind of Children of the Corn spinoff in the making:
If I do a quick reverse image search on Google, I find that this same photo has been used 140+ times, without alteration:
How exactly is this creativity? In what frakked-up universe does this crapola actually add value to content?
Every time I see something like this, my stomach hurts.
Stock photos don’t kill me. People using un-modified, boring stock photos kill me.
I’m not anti-stock photo. I use them all the time. I love them. What I hate is folks reflexively slapping a random photo that’s vaguely business-related at the top of a blog post. It screams “I don’t give a crap.”
Which is a very long introduction to a fantastic bit of research:
Mark Anderson at Andertoons — a great artist and a super-sophisticated marketer in his own right — tested a cartoon versus a stock photo. He had 260 people view a blog post. Half saw the post with one of his cartoons at the top. The other half saw the post with a stock photo.
The results are pretty telling:
But, if you read the whole article, the gap is even larger. In some versions of the test, he had 2:1 or 3:1 result.
Mark’s stuff is brilliant, but there’s a bigger lesson here: People prefer some creativity. If you’re going to add an image to your blog post, your options, best to worst, are:
This is not a sales pitch for Mark’s work, by the way. I get no kickbacks. But his stuff is awfully good. Check it out.
Update: In the “See! I’m not the only one!” column is this great post by the folks at Overit: How and why to use illustration in web design. I kinda want to abduct their designer to do some titles like that…
Ian Lurie is founder and CEO of Portent Inc., an internet marketing agency that has provided internet marketing, including PPC, SEO, social and analytics services, since 1995. Read More