What comes to mind when you think of a hero image? Perhaps a firefighter. A physician. An activist. All excellent choices. But on Amazon, a hero image refers to something else.
A hero image is precisely what it implies. It’s heroic. It’s assertive. It’s the first image customers see in their Amazon search results and on your product listing. It’s what helps you stand apart from your competitors, inviting a customer to find out more about your product. A hero image is the gateway to showing the consumer all the hard work that’s gone into your product.
It’s hard not to think of the visual component as taking prominence in website design, and with good reason. Our brains are hardwired to react to visual stimuli. The visual element of your listing is just as important as words in conveying a brand narrative. Stories are meant to be told with words, but visuals give it a particular depth and nuance. On Amazon, frequently more so. 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 has some fairly strict specifications for hero images. But there are ways to make them even more heroic than your competitors But 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 the biggest step of all.
Why Is A Hero Image Important For Your Amazon Page?
First impressions account for a lot in eCommerce. But on Amazon, they’re critical. The world’s largest retailer has one fundamental 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 a 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 ASIN 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. Your hero image just might appear indexed in any number of places you would have never considered.
Amazon is a turbulent sea. But your product is just one wave among a sea of other keyword-specific products. How do you make your own wave 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 Your Hero Image On Amazon
Your hero image is the main product image you’re going to use on any eCommerce site. It’s what leads into your listing and entices customers to discover more about your brand. But 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:
A strictly white background.
No unrelated features, such as words, buttons, GIFs or additional graphics.
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 images and irrelevant content.
Failure to comply by these guidelines can easily get you flagged by Amazon and barred from future sales.
These conditions apply to everyone—both third party sellers as well as vendors. 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. This isn’t accidental. Your hero image can make or break your Amazon listing. Tilting your image 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 there’s a practical way to optimize hero images on Amazon. And 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 fills the space entirely and don’t leave more white or empty space than there needs to be.
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 grey) 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. We like to recommend you include the product in front of your packaging for your hero image so that it takes prominence in your photo. If your product has multiple parts, try using an expanded or rolled out view so customers can see both the packaging, the parts and any components all in one.
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 And Text Compatibility
The early days of web design emphasized pure text, with minimal visual elements. In fact, the concept of the hero image hadn’t even been hatched yet. As design grew more sophisticated, you began to see Java and Flash-heavy sites that looked impressive, but often at the sacrifice of the text 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.
Visuals and text need to be complementary, not conflicting. With the hero image, this is somewhat easier to achieve. But you may still find yourself focused more on visual optimization dominating the copy of your text itself. Remember that your image needs to compel a viewer to learn more about your product details and specifications. It should never overpower them.
Always ensure your hero image is aligned with your overall brand message. 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. Invite without inviting.
Size, Resolution And Background
The ideal ratio of your image size should be 16:9, so a hero image of 1600 x 500 pixels is recommended. If you’re optimizing for mobile, a smaller size such as 800 x 1200 may be your best rule of thumb.
Compress your image to a small size, such as 400 kb or smaller, to avoid pixelation.
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.
Amazon image policy insists all images must be on a white background with an RGB of 255: 255: 255.
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
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 vendors don’t necessarily have the time to perform split testing. Third party sources 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 in your industry.
The Goal Of Your Hero Image On Amazon
At the end of the day, your hero image might seem just that: an 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.
Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your ecommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at Color More Lines.