Is there such a thing as a perfect hero image on Amazon?
What comes to mind when you think of a hero image? Perhaps a firefighter. A physician. An activist. All excellent choices. But they reflect a lifestyle as much as they do a vocation.
On Amazon, a hero image refers to something else entirely. A hero image is precisely what it implies. It's heroic. It's assertive. It's the first image customers see on your storefront.
And it's what helps you stand apart from your competitors, inviting a customer to find out more about your product.
What is a Hero Image?
In essence, a hero image is nothing more than your main banner image (also known as a hero header) placed front and center on your storefront. But in reality, it's much more than that.
A hero image is the gateway to showing the consumer all the hard work that's gone into your product. It's the first thing users notice. And sometimes, creating a beautiful hero image can seem like it takes as much work as developing your product itself.
It's hard not to think of the visual component as taking prominence in web design, and with good reason. Our brains are hardwired to react to visual stimuli.
If your hero image doesn't compel a customer to delve deeper into your brand and learn more about its benefits, little else will.
Amazon and Hero Images
Amazon has some fairly strict specifications for hero images. But there are ways to make your image seem even more heroic than your competitors.
Keep in mind that while a hero image might be an enticement, it's still just the first step in product discovery.
It just happens to be one of the biggest steps of all.
Why is a Hero Image Important for Your Amazon Page?
The world's largest retailer has one critical flaw: customers can't see your product up close and personal. They can read about its details. Its advantages. Its differences.
But they can't see for themselves the product itself. They can't see the care and attention that's gone into every little detail of your design. All they're left with are words—and fairly straightforward ones at that.
But an aesthetically pleasing hero image is able to invite without inviting. It's not just the first thing customers see on Amazon. It's a trigger. It can make them decide in the flash of an instant whether or not they want to add your product to their cart.
Your hero image is what tells your customers that your product is relevant to their lives. They don't just show up on your product page. Your hero image can dictate just how frequently you appear in Amazon searches. In fact, it can dictate the likelihood of appearing in Google searches. In fact, your hero image just might appear indexed in any number of places you would have never considered.
Hero Images for New Brands on Amazon
Hopefully, you can tell just how critical hero images are for new-to-launch brands. Amazon can be a turbulent sea. And your product is just one wave among other keyword-specific products. How do you make it stand out from the crowd?
There's a few tricks to keep in mind. But first, let's review Amazon's policy on image content.
Guidelines for Hero Image Design on Amazon
Amazon is fairly specific about product imaging. Hero images have to follow relatively strict guidelines in order to ensure a level playing field for vendors. Some of these include:
Absolutely no stock photos
A minimum image size of 3000 x 600 and a maximum file size of 5 mb
Your hero image can contain your logo, but unrelated features, such as buttons, GIFs and additional graphics are not permitted
A hero image design must be a static image, not a video
Compliance with Amazon's visual guidelines during a customer search
Compliance with Amazon's image terms of service, including the use of misleading images, pirated stock images and irrelevant content
These requirements apply to all Amazon sellers. So if Amazon is fairly uniform in their requirements, how do you make your own listing stand out?
Optimizing Your Hero Image on Amazon
Take a closer look at the hero image of any product listing on Amazon. What's the first thing you notice outside of the image itself?
How it's positioned. If you look carefully at most of the best sellers, you'll notice that either the packaging or the product itself is placed in close proximity to the “Add to Cart” button or “Sponsored Display” icon. So close, it actually seems to point at it. This isn't accidental.
Your hero image can make or break your Amazon listing. Tilting your image slightly towards the “Add to Cart” button is one subtle but suggestive method to entice your audience into making a purchase.
Many customers use one-click shopping almost unconsciously. After all, it's one of the more convenient features for Amazon users. There's no reason why it shouldn't be convenient for you.
But you don't necessarily have to invest in sponsored advertising tools to realize the benefits of your storefront design. There's an even more practical way to optimize hero images on Amazon. It has to do with the physical contrast of your product.
It has to do with the physical contrast of your product.
White jars, for example, never convert well to an Amazon hero image for the most obvious reason: they become invisible on an all-white background. Make certain your product has enough space to fill and don't leave more white or empty space than you need to.
Packaging and Hero Images on Amazon
Packaging is extremely important in your listing. But the last thing a customer wants to see is a sea of white. Using a lid or box with a high contrast color (such as bright blue, black or dark gray) is critical. Even if your packaging is typically white, consider a mock up for your hero image. Pure white will just achieve a phantom effect. And a phantom effect is guaranteed to be jarring for customers.
No matter how attractive your packaging is, customers want to see the physical product for themselves.
Color Theory and Hero Images
There's an entire psychology behind color theory in advertising. And despite vocal skepticism, both experience and recent research into neuroscience lends it some credence. But your own research into color theory might lead you to some interesting conclusions.
Green, for example, has always been associated with health and vitality, while bold, forceful colors such as black and deep red are ideal for a sport or workout supplement.
Never underestimate the power of the color spectrum. For most of us, it's the most immediate and unconscious stimuli we have.
Visuals, Logos and Text Compatibility
The early days of website design emphasized pure text, with minimal visual elements. In fact, the concept of the hero image hadn't even been hatched yet. A web page was about information—and nothing but information.
As design grew more sophisticated, you began to see Java and Flash-heavy sites that looked impressive, but often at the sacrifice of the underlying message itself.
Unfortunately, the latter trend continues to this day.
It's been a long established rule that 93 percent of our communication is nonverbal. But what communication demands is connectivity. More specifically, emotional connectivity. Sentiment. Wonder. Surprise. Joy.
All are critical to human cognition. And all are part of your brand narrative, whether you're aware of it or not.
Remember that your image needs to compel a viewer to learn more about your product details and specifications. It should never overpower them.
Hero Images and Your Brand Narrative
Always ensure your hero image is aligned with your overall brand message. But not every brand will have the time, know how or experience to ensure a seamless flow between image and narrative.
Regardless, ensuring consistency is absolutely crucial when developing your hero image. Your brand narrative is what your customers will retain. It speaks to their own values and their own life stories. Ensure your hero image reflects the integrity of your brand without overpowering it.
In other words? Invite without inviting.
Rules for Hero Image Size, Resolution and Background on Amazon
Compress your image to a small size, such as 400 kb or smaller, to avoid pixilation.
For manageability, try to use jpeg files only.
Make certain all unnecessary background space is cropped, so only the focal point of your hero image is emphasized. Always ensure your product is shown in its entirety.
Use bright lighting to eliminate shadows. Edit your hero image using Photoshop or other image editing software to achieve a more professional look. While a hero image should display your product in the best light, it should never be unrealistic or misleading. Avoid the use of special filters and lenses which distort a viewer's perception.
Split Testing is Critical for Your Hero Image Examples
Obviously, there's more to a hero image than just a quick shot of your product itself. But how do you know your hero image will actually make an impact?
Split testing (also known as A/B testing) is one of the most vital tools you can have when gauging customer perception on Amazon. There's no way of knowing which angle will be most effective in a hero image until you see the impact on customers for yourself.
Create two different hero images and alternate between them every two weeks. Take careful notice of conversions, no matter how minor. The slightest increase can have a dramatic effect on future sales.
Many brands don't necessarily have the time to perform split testing. An outside creative service can help take the leg work out of both testing and analysis, freeing up your creativity so you can continue to develop, lead and innovate.
The Goal of Your Hero Image on Amazon
At the end of the day, your hero image might seem just that: an image. A beautifully designed image, but a static image. It may be a visual summary of your product's strength, but it's still just an image. Or is it?
It's more than just an image. It's your first impression. It's what announces your product and your brand to the rest of the world. It's what keeps customers on your page.
It's the first step in their journey. And while it may seem like a small step, it's a giant leap for your product.