The common wisdom is that everybody loves a pretty face, right? Not always so, says Bryan Eisenberg over at grokdotcom.
Oh sure, the pretty face does attract attention. But that’s the problem. In ads, a real looker can pull a visitor’s eyes away from your message.
Heat maps showing viewer interest reveal that we impulsively go to the eyes first in a face. This is especially true if it’s a head-on shot where the face in the ad is making eye-contact with the viewer. And that can detract attention from where you want the prospect’s attention to end up, which is with the content of your ad.
But when the model’s eyes look aside, the same heat maps show that viewers tend to follow the model’s gaze to where it lands. A good photographer knows this to be true, too. Portraits with someone looking directly at the camera have a very different feel from those where the subject looks off-frame or into an empty space.
For the marketer — even a copywriter — this matters when you choose stock photos or when you higher someone to take pictures for your promos? If you’re in that situation, ask the model to look in the direction of your product or headline instead.
(Or, in a pinch, use Photoshop to make it happen.)