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Perceptual Fluency & Image Filters

Posted on 6.15.2015

A recently released study from Yahoo Labs examined whether manipulated images on the Web (specifically those using digital photo filters) engage people more than unfiltered ones.

Assessing 7.6 million photos from Instagram and Flickr, the results showed that people are 21 percent more likely to view filtered photos and 45 percent more likely to comment on them when compared to regular photos.

What's Yahoo's research suggests is that image filters help tell a story. The content creator chooses a filter because it matches the narrative that's in their mind when they actually take the image shot. For example, you might choose a faded filter for a photo of an old building. A filter of that nature lets a users brain process the content more easily - something called perceptual fluency. Essentially, it activates your imagination.

So what's the takeaway? Perhaps it is to examine what the images used in your digital assets mean to your customers and website visitors and how, subtly, they move the needle and influence the success of your enterprise. 

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Photo by Mikael Kristenson via Unsplash

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