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Marketers can’t resist big brown puppy dog eyes

A recent study of images in advertisements by Harris Interactive has some interesting findings:

In order to connect with their audience, some advertisers use humor, others use startling facts, and others still use images or themes that might elicit an emotional response. When asked about a few images often used in advertising to elicit a reaction from viewers, two in five Americans (41%) say that given the options of “a puppy”, “a baby”, “a sweet old lady” and “a sweet old man”, a puppy is most likely to tug at their heart-strings when they see it in a commercial. One-third say a baby (34%) is most likely to do so, while small percentages say a sweet old lady (3%) or a sweet old man (2%); 19% say none of these is likely to tug at their heart-strings.

The study goes on to say:

While it seems that a puppy is a reasonably good choice if an advertiser is looking to emotionally connect with viewers, the question is whether a ‘tug at the heart-strings’ actually drives consumers to action, rather than just providing a fleeting emotional hook.

Puppies or no puppies, multimedia – videos and images – do have a positive impact on the time viewers spend with content.  For example, we found that PRWeb releases that include multimedia increase their time on page by about 30 seconds.

This is important because time has become a form of online currency says Chris Anderson in his book Free: Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business. And it’s easy to understand why – because the marketplace of ideas is increasingly competitive since content consumers have so many sources of information from which to choose.  In fact, “every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until  2003” according to Google’s CEO.

Using multimedia in your releases is a good idea because it captures attention, provides you another piece of information that can be optimized for search, and it gets readers to spend more time with your content.

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