Marketing Report
New research reveals how people engage with brands using images

New research reveals how people engage with brands using images

The first academic research study to look at how consumers use pictures and not text to engage with a brand revealed there are four behaviours people evidence through images.

The research explored 29,000 pictorial posts created by individual users on the official Instagram and Facebook pages of Amazon, Apple, American Airlines and Nike.

Academics at University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, Strathclyde Business School and ESCP Business School, Madrid, conceptualized forms and identified outcomes of customers’ engagement behaviour using images:

Evidential – evidencing ownership and purchasing of a brand

Experiential - showing their experience, or using the brand, product or service

Mocking - using graphics editing software or creating a meme to ridicule the brand

Dissuasive - using a logo parody to dissuade others from using or buying products, brands, or a service

 Dr Jaylan Azer, Adam Smith Business School: “Visual social media prompted a change in the mindset of how we study images to go beyond mere characteristics of images and think about the behaviour the images communicate and hence, prompt in viewers. The findings of this research will influence and support content managers to develop more effective engagement strategies in social media marketing.”

Dr Lorena Blasco-Arcas ESCP, Business School Madrid: “Understanding how users engage with and react to visual content has become a key aspect of social media communication effectiveness for brands. Our research offers new insights for managers to understand and manage user-created visual content, how that content reflects their engagement with a brand and its potential impact in others.”

Dr Matthew Alexander, Strathclyde Business School: “More than 1.5 billion images are shared every day on social media. When these images contain brand information, they affect the way other individuals think, feel and behave towards brands. With opinions and behaviours increasingly influenced by online engagement it’s vital that organisations have the capacity to understand, and respond to, the ways individuals engage using images.”