Show products next to the problem they solve
Position your product next to an image of the problem it solves. People were up to 26% more likely to choose it.
Today’s insight is brought to you by… One Thing Better
The newsletter to improve your work - and your life - one tip at a time. By Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur.
Some examples of the tips you’ll get to improve your work:
How to avoid distractions and get important things done
How to speak confidently when you don't feel confident
How to turn insults and setbacks to your advantage
Subscribe for free, and leave any time 👇
Want to sponsor Ariyh? Here’s all you need to know.
How do you make your product seem more effective?
Reminding people about the problem helps.
An easy way to do that is to show an image of the problem (fixed, or waiting to be fixed), or show it in part of your video ad.
But when you do, make sure you position your product physically close to the problem.
It matters more than you’d think.
P.S.: Show multiple copies of your product next to each other instead of just one. It will seem more effective.
Place products next to the problem they solve to make them seem more effective
Channels: Image Ads | Ads | Website | Marketing Communications
For: B2C. Can be tested for B2B
Research date: April 2013
Show images of your product close to either the problem it tackles or the “after” image of the solved problem.
A bottle of detergent next to a pile of clean clothes
An image suggesting a security breach, next to cybersecurity software
A pain-relief massage next to a person with back pain
Your product will feel more effective at solving the problem, and people will be more likely to choose it.
When a product is physically (including in an image or video) positioned close to the effect it has (e.g. kitchen towels next to clean countertops) or the problem itself (e.g. dirty countertops) it is seen as more effective and people are more likely to choose the product.
As part of 7 experiments, researchers found that:
People judged a muscle pain reliever to be 21.4% more effective when an ad showed it next to a muscle injury
People were 26% more likely to choose an acne-treating product when it was shown closer to a smooth acne-free face
The effect is weaker when:
The images were shown to people already knowledgeable about the product
The product’s benefits were long-term, rather than immediate (e.g. vitamins to improve immunity)
🧠 Why it works
The physical distance between two objects helps us infer the strength of the link between them. When we see a product placed next to the problem or effect of the product, we assume the relationship between the two is stronger.
When the two elements (product and its effect or the problem) are placed closer together, we assume the product is better at addressing that problem.
🚀 How to boost your website's traffic and dominate your competitors
How do you get people to choose you over a competitor?
Use the unrivaled power of backlinks - from DR90+ websites like Zendesk, HubSpot, Canva, Business Insider and many more.
Sounds good? dofollow.io does it for you, and you simply pay-for-performance.
This announcement was sponsored. Want your brand here? Click here.
The research focused on functional products (medicines, acne treatments, insect spray). It’s unclear if this effect would also hold for pleasurable products or when effectiveness is less important, such as a fine dining restaurant showing a person stuffed to bursting after a meal.
The study focused on images of physical objects - it’s unknown whether the effect works with text descriptions instead of visuals. It also did not test non-physical products, such as services or experiences - but the effect should work if it’s easily understandable and effectiveness is important.
The products used in the studies all had a single clear problem they were trying to solve (muscle pain, acne, insect bites). If there isn’t a single, clear purpose to the product, it’s likely the effect will not be as strong.
🏢 Companies using this
Beauty, skincare, and personal care companies (e.g. Kiehls, Neutrogena, Pantene) often show their products next to the skin of models.
Household items from detergent, surface cleaners and fabric softeners also use this technique to highlight their effectiveness.
Gillette effectively showcases their razor with an image of a clean-shaven man holding the razor next to his face
⚡ Steps to implement
On your website and product pages, place your product next to or against the background of the problem it tackles or the outcome it hopes to achieve. For example, if selling a carpet cleaner, place your product against the background of a clean carpet.
Similarly, in your image and video advertising, add a caption highlighting the result of your product and place it alongside either the problem it tackles or the outcome it delivers.
If your product works to clean or fix something, show it alongside dirty / broken items or the cleaned or fixed version of the item it works on (e.g. shiny hair, sparkling glasses).
Reiterate the purpose of your product if you’re worried it won’t be apparent to viewers. For example, if you’re selling children’s powdered milk, make sure to mention its role in strengthening bones when placing your item next to a healthy, strong child.
🔍 Study type
Judging Product Effectiveness from Perceived Spatial Proximity. Journal of Consumer Research (April 2013)
Boyoun Chae. Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Xiuping Li. National University of Singapore
Rui Zhu. Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business
Remember: This is a scientific discovery. In the future it will probably be better understood and could even be proven wrong (that’s how science works). It may also not be generalizable to your situation. If it’s a risky change, always test it on a small scale before rolling it out widely.
Rate today’s insight to help me make Ariyh's next insights 🎓 even more useful 📈