Centering The Image: What Neuromarketing Tells Us About Visual Content

We know that visual content can increase the amount of time users spend consuming content, but do you know why? It’s all thanks to neuroscience, or the impact that certain marketing aspects have on the brain. For that reason, marketers have coined a new phrase: neuromarketing.

The short definition of neuromarketing is the use of neuroscience tools and theories to help businesses better understand consumers and attract their attention. Neuromarketing is a relatively new trend in the marketing universe, but it’s already shown some impressive advantages over traditional advertising techniques. If nothing else, it’s helped to close the gap between marketers and everyday customers.

Visual Marketing and Neurology

Much of neuromarketing is visual. The brain can actually process images 60,000 times faster than text, which often makes visual marketing aids more effective. There are a variety of reasons why visuals are so effective, but one of them is the impact of art on the developing brain. When people are exposed to visual artistic principles at a young age, it helps them process things more quickly, which has a positive impact on their engagement with visual content in the future.

The most important lesson for marketers to learn here is that visual content can be huge. Though text is essential for clearly getting the message across, the colors, aesthetics, graphics, and organization of imagery can evoke emotions in customers that can drive action and generate new leads.

Animation and the Progressive Reveal Hijacks the Attention

There’s something extremely alluring about animation. It could be the fact that animation always shows a unique perspective on life. People are drawn differently, colors tend to be brighter than real life, and the shading effectively draws the eye.

Perhaps even more alluring is the progressive reveal of animation. This occurs when the animation is drawn right in front of you. This kind of animation keeps the brain wanting more, psychologically forcing the viewer to watch the video or graphic in its entirety.

Animation is also great for creating visual metaphors, which helps the brain comprehend complex principles. The brain, for some reason, loves metaphors, particularly when they’re illustrated with cartoon drawings and geometric shapes. It effectively grabs consumer interest and helps with things like recall and understanding.

Improved Visual Processing of Images on the Left

Lower level visual and sensory features are pretty important when it comes to neuromarketing. The tiniest changes to your packaging, an advertisement, your website, or a blog can make all the difference in gaining undivided attention from your customers. Neuromarketing research makes it possible to measure and quantify the effectiveness of these design changes.

One of the small changes is placing images to the left of the text instead of the right. Research shows that this performs better because it aids with the fluency of processing. Because we read left to right, it gives the mind an opportunity to take in the image first, and then read the text. Because the image has already been viewed, it’s easier for the reader to comprehend the text as they’re reading. When you really want to drive a message home, this is one of the best moves you can make.

Persuasion Is Subliminal

An important thing to recognize with the neuromarketing concept is that persuasion is not based on logic alone. Though facts and information can help to push the decision over the edge, most people’s behavior is also driven by their sub consciousness. There’s something in the back of their mind that nudges them to feel one way or another about an issue.

This is where marketing comes in strong. Using aesthetics, color psychology, carefully placed images, and a lot of visuals, your advertisements and websites can give people the gut feelings and associations they need to make a decision in your favor.

Understanding neuromarketing is a tricky venture, but is well worth the effort you put in. Psychology can make people do things based on instinct, and you can propel that forward with carefully planned tactics. It makes it a lot easier to understand consumers’ unconscious thoughts and deliver the products and services they want.

Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer and researcher who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources, including,, and, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he’s also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.