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The Motion Direction in Ads Affects Consumer Trust

The brain is a strong motion detector. When the direction of motion violates our unconscious expectations, it affects the perception of what we see.

Not all unconscious perceptions and decisions by the brain are fixed at birth. For example, in places where English and other European languages dominate, people read text from left to right and from top to bottom. Learning to read teaches the brain that movement from past to future normally travels in those directions, too. Does that apply to the images we see as well?

Photo Direction in Ads Neuromarketing

According to recent Neuromarketing research, it does. In fact, research shows that if the direction of perceived motion is from right to left, the brain unconsciously sees it as wrong. That can affect people’s brand trust and overall reactions to marketing and advertising materials.

To test that hypothesis, a group of researchers conducted a series of four controlled studies using fictional marketing materials. What they found was that people “felt right” when images showed motion from left to right.

Test subjects indicated that they had more trust in brand marketing materials that depicted motion from left to right – the same direction we read.

Images in Marketing Are Powerful Persuaders

The old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” has been validated by research. It was found that images used in marketing materials are remembered more readily and communicate product benefits more effectively than words. That research supports common advertising practices.

How images depict motion also plays a role, additional research shows.

Perceived Motion in Advertising Images

In an initial experiment, researchers created a series of print advertisements using images that showed a yacht, a car, or running shoes. Two versions of each ad were created, showing movement from left to right or right to left. Study subjects saw one or the other version of the ad, and were then asked to rate their trust in the brand shown in the ad. The results showed that brand trust was higher among those who saw the ads depicting movement from left to right. Subjects also rated the left to right ads as more correct.

Additional experiments were conducted by the researchers, using other marketing materials and different situations, to verify the initial findings. Those studies also confirmed that left to right perceived motion created more brand trust and “felt right” to the test subjects. Other research has shown that the preference for left to right movement in images is associated with reading direction.

Neuromarketing Insights into Marketing and Ad Designs

In print and online advertising and marketing materials, the apparent direction of movement in images is an important factor. Based on the research results shown above, images that depict motion from left to right will be more effective in gaining trust from consumers whose primary languages are read from left to right. This is another example of ways that Neuroscience research can help you improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and improve web designs. Understanding how the brain perceives and acts in unconscious ways can make all the difference in your success.

As a leading expert in Neuromarketing, Dr. Terry Wu can assist you in discovering how to make your marketing stand out above your competitors.
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