This is the fifth in a weekly series of posts from one of our PPC Hero Allies, Jeff Sexton of BoostCTR, where he’ll dissect and analyze ads he sees various places online. Jeff’s “Ads In The Wild” series will give an in-depth look at the philosophy and strategy behind these ads and will provide a lot of actionable advice for anyone looking to improve their ad copy.

As a social species, we’re hardwired to look where others look.  It’s one of the bedrock principles of misdirection in magic; the magician looks where he wants to focus the audience’s attention, and looks away from whatever slight-of-hand manipulation he’s performing.

Well, image-based ads can do the same thing: they can direct your eyes where they want by ensuring whatever people they place within the image are looking where they want you to look.

In short, an ads effectiveness is greatly impacted by something as simple as the direction of the model’s gaze.  Here are two perfect examples of this, first created by the experts at THiNK Eye Tracking, and later featured at Get Elastic:

Sunsilk PPC AdDiaper PPC AdNotice, where the model (or baby) looks, the audience looks also.  Making it imperative that the model look where the advertisers want the audience to look, namely at either the product or copy.

So guess what: Facebook Ads also have images, and they too can be manipulated to guide the eye of the viewer.  Here’s a rather obvious example of this I found on my own Facebook Home Page:

Massive Click-Through Facebook AdNow, this cartoon is using gesture more than gaze-direction to guide the eye, but the effect is largely similar, despite the cartoon aspect.  And I’d also ad that the freakishly enlarged hand is itself more eye catching than a realistic photo might be.  But the principle is the same: because the guy gestures at the body copy, he’s indicating that an explanation for “Get Massive Click-Thru” can be found there. *

So the cartoon not only catches the eye, but directs the viewers attention towards the copy.

Similarly, this ad for Chitika using several eye-directing techniques to amplify the ability of the image to both catch your eye and direct your attention:

Chitika Facebook AdNotice how the photographer dutched the camera to present a dynamically tilted image?  This makes the picture far more eye catching and intriguing than it would be if it were normally oriented in a static, straight up-and-down position.

More importantly, the gaze and finger of the model are pointing at her smart phone, making the viewer wonder why?  What’s on the phone that’s so important?

And that curiosity, caused by the eye gaze and the gesture of the model, cause viewers to look to the body copy for an explanation.

Finally, the tilted image of the model (which has also cropped off half the woman’s head) also directs the eye up and over to the side, towards the headline and the top of the body copy.

So there you have it: one more tool to help you retain reader attention and help get your ad read and (with luck) clicked on.

* Full disclosure, the “Massive Click-Thru” ad turned out to be for a BoostCTR Affiliate, and my point in showing it is simply to dissect the techniques used, not in any way to endorse the affiliate or to plug for product or service advertised.