Why Visuals Are So Powerful

BY Jacopo Benedetti

Photos are the undeniable “must” of our 21st century lives. Ten years ago, Instagram launched as a photo-based social media, yet most people didn’t know what it was and no one could have predicted its unbelievable popularity. Ten years ago, online commerce worldwide accounted for 572B$, but in  2020 that number surged to 4,2 trillion, and is expected to reach 6,5 trillion by 2023. 

In today’s economy, e-commerce has taken a place of choice in the global retail panorama, which experienced a substantial transformation with the rise of the Internet in the late 90s. As digital touchpoints grow increasingly central to modern life, online transactions have become increasingly vital for people all over the world, turning them into the bread-and-butter of many retail companies. 

In this growing online ecosystem, visual content plays a central role. Images and content drive and enable online transactions. Just stop for a second and think of what you bought last week on Amazon, Deliveroo, Airbnb, or any other e-commerce. Did you purchase a product, a meal, or an apartment? No, what you bought were images, online representations of those purchases. 

Great quality pictures push consumers to complete online transactions. But what makes a picture “good” enough to drive sales? Behind what we consider a good picture, there's science. How's that? Yes! - According to Charles Darwin’s On the Origins of Species, the first pluricellular organisms on Earth started seeing the World before understanding what the world was. Eyes and vision were born deep in the oceans, in pluricellular organisms called trilobites, which used light as energy. That’s how vision was created 541 million years ago. 

That same organ (the eyes) went through several levels of improvement (thanks Charles for modelling it!) until around 85 million years ago, when the first primates further developed their brain functions and made a giant leap for humankind. They started making paintings in caves. The human first alphabet was created. 

But what does any of this have to do with the worth of professional photos? That value is intrinsic to how our brain has developed over the past several hundred million years. From Darwin’s findings, it is safe to conclude that vision, and its connected brain functions, are 450 million years older than brain functions responsible for reading and writing. Neurophysiology explains that the centers for image processing in our brains lie very close to our amygdala and hypothalamus, two fascinating subcortical areas of our brains that are  responsible for our emotions, mood, and autonoetic conscience. In other words, our brains are much more skilled at extracting information and making decisions by  looking at images and visual content than they are at drawing conclusions from written material. 

And that’s how science sheds light on the famous saying that “a picture is worth 1000 words”. That's why companies worldwide invested and continue to  invest trillions of dollars to produce, use and analyze visual content to boost their e-commerce offer. Visual content communicates information that is processed faster than any other communication method. For companies and consumers, pictures are a time-saver, and when it comes to picking between visuals out there on the web, professional shots are what ultimately make the difference and drive sales. Interested in finding out how our photo solutions can help your business? Request a demo now!

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Trasformazione visiva in uno schiocco di dita