Visual vs Verbal – Is One More Important Than the Other in Advertising?

Visual vs Verbal – Is One More Important Than the Other in Advertising?

People tend to debate which element is more important in advertising – the visual or the verbal. Everyone digests information in different ways. So, for some, picking one over the other may seem like a no-brainer. Does gut instinct tell you that images are far more important? Perhaps. But it’s not until you really look into the two as separate entities that you realise, in fact, it shouldn’t be a question at all.

The Visual

Attention-Grabbing Visual


First and foremost, there’s no denying that pictures grab our attention. A solid visual will instantly catch your eye, and you can gather information from it through just a quick scan. Social media is an excellent example of that. People tend to scroll through their feeds, gathering information from pictures alone. But what’s important is to acknowledge what happens when one image, in particular, piques their interest. They stop to read the caption. That’s where they find the call to action encouraging them to engage.

A Tool for Maximising Ad Space

Images are a great way to maximise your ad space. Not only are advertising spots limited, but you only have a finite amount of space for grabbing the attention of your target audience. So, you need to use the space wisely. An impactful image will convey a lot of information at once and encourage a potential customer to take a moment to examine it. The longer they linger, the more likely they are to visit your site as a result.

A Demonstration of Value

The thing about promoting a product or service is that it can be tricky to condense your entire offering into a single ad without it losing value. A picture is a perfect medium for demonstrating your product or service in operation – you can place it in a favourable setting and emphasise its most essential features. So, in a matter of seconds, you’ve told the customer what you’re offering and given them a snapshot of how it works.

Easy Targeting

Visuals make targeting your audience easier. The image that supplements your advertisement is designed to appeal to your consumer base. So, when done correctly, it will be among the first things they see when scrolling, even in a sea of other ads.

The Verbal

the verbal


On the other side of the coin, there’s the verbal. Good, compelling copy engages a customer as it appeals to both their logical and emotional sides. It does so by giving context to the product or service you’re offering and telling them why they need it. So, immediately the customer feels informed and motivated to act and (best case scenario) make a purchase.

When ad copy engages a reader on an emotional level, it appeals to feelings like desire, fear and curiosity – all of which are crucial driving factors behind buying decisions.

Encourages Action

The words you use in your advertisement encourage browsers to make a decision. Think of copy as a guide for customers. That’s why the wording in your call to action needs to be well-thought-out and intentional. You are essentially telling the customer exactly what to do next. Whether you want them to subscribe to a service or have them click through to your site to make a purchase, your copy needs to be clear, concise, and compelling.

Words Live On

It is important to remember that words live on. If put on the spot, you can probably think of a couple of brand slogans quite easily – just off the top of your head. That’s because well-executed copy resonates and lingers. That, in turn, leads to increased brand awareness.

Human Touch

The written word adds a human touch to your advertising campaign and gives your brand a voice. Rather than pushing information at potential customers, you are inviting them into a dialogue – it’s as though you are talking directly to them. This is something that appeals to a customer’s emotional side and helps to establish a positive connection. If a browser then clicks on the ad to view your website, they’ll find the same voice throughout your content. This distinctive tone of voice will help build a relationship between your brand and the customer, ultimately leading to loyalty.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to advertising, the visual and verbal should be used in harmony. Remember, neither convey all the information on their own – play both to their strengths and let them complement each other.

Consumers draw different conclusions from each because they assess them differently. So, their overall decision on whether to click on the advertisement and take action is dependent on both the visual and verbal. After all, the goal is to increase conversion rates and profit, and using two tools to do so is better than one.

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