Do pictures of people increase Facebook engagement?

A research project examined images featuring people, no people, and portions of people. The results will probably surprise you.

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Creatives, strategists, and managers can go around and around debating which images work for a brand and which don’t. Sometimes they debate over whether the brand should show people in brand images, and everyone has an opinion.

At Taggs, we decided to bring data to help settle the debate: Do people pictured in brand images help or hurt Facebook engagement?

Our hypothesis

Brand images without people would be associated with greater engagement than those images including people. The hypothesis is based on our anecdotal observations that when a Facebook user encounters a brand image of a product, lifestyle, or landscape without a person shown, the user is better able to project themselves into the image and therefore more likely to “like,” share, or comment on the image.

How does the presence of people in brand images relate to engagement?

We used Taggs’ visual content marketing software to index 3,656 brand images published on Facebook since the start of the year. We collected these images from 14 leading Facebook consumer brands in retail and restaurant sectors.

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