Retailers investing in social media marketing are finding success in terms of brand awareness, engagement and sales. As many as 93% of marketers are using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram as part of their marketing efforts. New data is giving retail marketers more insights into what social practices produce the best results.

The effectiveness of using images on social networks, particularly Facebook, is no longer in doubt. Using images has been directly tied to increased engagement, with 44% of Facebook users being likely to interact with brand posts that use images. The higher quality the image, the more engagement the post generally receives. Research shows that professional quality photos get a 120% boost in engagement in metrics such as likes and shares compared to amateur images. Other social networks are also putting more emphasis on images lately, with LinkedIn and Twitter releasing updates that allow users to upload larger images.

New data from ZOG Digital shows that marketers need to take the use of images even further to truly maximize engagement and therefore the organic reach of each social media post. The research shows that on top of the quality of the image, the style of image also has an impact on key metrics which define social media success.

Increase Engagement With Creative Images

For this case study, lifestyle images are defined as action photos, such as someone wearing or using a product. Creative images, such as the example below, are altered using Photoshop or another program to artificially change the image to add creative elements. This case study followed and specifically looked at how the two image styles affected the four major engagement metrics on Facebook: Likes, shares, comments, and total post reach.

Creative Image

1- Example of Creative Image

Likes, Shares, And Comments

Since 2012, the organic reach of Facebook posts by brands has been reduced from 16.0% to 6.5%, which for retailers can mean thousands of fewer fans seeing each and every post. While Facebook’s recent algorithm changes did reduce the organic reach of posts by brands, it didn’t change the fact that every like, share and comment assisted in an increase of the reach of a post. Facebook uses these actions as indicators that a specific post is interesting to users, causing the post to be more likely to appear in more newsfeeds.

In an effort to find ways to maximize the organic reach of Facebook posts, ZOG Digital looked at how posts with creative images performed in comparison to posts with lifestyle images.

The results show dramatic increases in engagement for creative images compared to lifestyle images. Looking at unpaid posts, creative images had 54% more likes, 50% more shares and 1,700% more comments than lifestyle images. For paid posts, creative images outperformed lifestyle images as well with 395% more likes, 650% more shares and 1,233% more comments.




The Result: Higher Total Reach

The research confirmed that more likes, shares and comments increases the total reach of posts. Total reach is one of the most important metrics for retailer marketers because it is the number of people who were shown the post, and therefore could be impacted by it. The case study found that organic posts with creative images beat out lifestyle images in total reach by 18%. Paid posts with creative images had a 274% increase in total reach compared to lifestyle images.



Retail marketers looking to create the most social media influence possible must look at the image strategy being used. The data presented above strongly indicates that retailers should focus on using creative images in Facebook posts to maximize the amount of users who will see each individual post. While using creative images can help, ZOG Digital believes that every business is unique and should find the strategy that works best for them. This means continually testing to see what creates the most interest and engagement from that specific brand’s fans.