Visual Appeal is an Asset Every Online Marketer Should Pay Attention to

They say beauty is the eye of beholder but neurobiology begs to differ. Some surprising fact has emerged. Investing in "beauty" may well be the heuristic - the missing link - every online marketer needs to build instant rapport their audience. Your marketing assets should have an appealing feel and look. According to research, the brain responds nicely to pleasant looking stimuli such as bright pay-per-click ad banners, well-designed web pages and infographics to name a few. The first time they encounter your ad, your audience must already feel that "connection." Otherwise known as "aesthetic experience." Their brains will quickly process the visual content in front of them - so quick that they do not always understand what they see. This means that the brain reacts to visual stimuli faster than it proceses thought patterns. Immediate connection is only possible if the image is particularly striking. Based on the finding of Anjan Chatterjee, a University of Pennsylvania Neurology Professor, “the brain responds automatically to beauty.” And so a beautiful image, whether a digital marketing material or a traditional print ad, stimulates pleasant associations with your brand at first sight.

Online Marketers Should Invest in the Aesthetic Experience

An aesthetic experience stirs activity in different regions in the brain, including areas associated with emotion, reward and decision-making. Importantly, the experience extends across multiple sensory modalities and happens to occur regardless of whether a person is viewing a painting, listening to music or admiring a perfectly constructed math equation. Remarkably, you can quantify the experience. Researchers across multiple studies directed subjects to view artwork and state the extent to which each image was considered beautiful – all while measuring activity in the brain. As Semir Zeki, Professor of Neuroaesthetics at University College London, observes, activity in a key area of the brain, the medial orbitofrontal cortex, was “proportional to the declared intensity of the aesthetic experience.” When it comes to viewing attractive faces, the experience becomes even more profound. In a 2019 study, Chatterjee demonstrated how an aesthetic experience can actually activate the motor parts of the brain to compel people to move physically towards attractive faces. In the study, a computer monitor displayed a number at the bottom of the screen and two numbers at the top. The task was simple. Click on the number that was closest to the number on the bottom. Simple enough, right? But to see if attractiveness affects motor behavior, the researchers paired the top numbers with faces, one attractive and the other unattractive. Incredibly, researchers discovered the mouse would drift toward the attractive face – even if the number was incorrect. In other words, the aesthetic response to an attractive face was so powerful that it affected hand movement!

Science to Leverage Your Marketing - Key Takeways

As consider ways to amp up your marketing assets, note these 3 important takeaways: Given that your audience’s brain responds automatically to beauty on a subconscious level, one of your goals as a marketer should be to facilitate approach-behavior on a subconscious level. In other words, get your audience to become drawn toward your marketing asset. As a skilled marketer, however, you already know that’s only part of the story. Once you engage your audience’s brain on a subconscious level, you must present the appropriate message, which taps into individual preferences within a culture-appropriate framework. As such, you must create content that resonates with your audience since triggering aesthetic appreciation is only a starting point.


Arthur Choi

Arthur Choi

SEO Strategist

70% technical SEO, 30% offsite optimisation. Loves to strategise and build organic SEO campaigns for plumbers, excavators and e-commerce clients.

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