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Social Media Photos Scare Away New Customers

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Social Media Photos Scare Away New Customers

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Social Media Photos Scare Away New Customers. Yes, you read that right - according to a fascinating study by Tulane University, the presence of

Social Media Photos Scare Away New Customers
Social Media Photos Scare Away New Customers
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Social Media Photos Scare


Social Media Photos Scare  – In a world dominated by carefully curated social media feeds, where envy-inducing vacation snapshots and glamorous event photos are as common as a scrolling thumb, it may come as a surprise to learn that these captivating images could be driving potential customers away. Yes, you read that right – according to a fascinating study by Tulane University, the presence of others in these tantalizing photos can actually diminish viewers’ affinity for the showcased venues.

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The researchers embarked on an Instagram exploration, analyzing over 14,000 travel photos shared by a top influencer. They then conducted a series of experiments, presenting participants with a choice between venues featuring people and those without human presence. The results were surprising yet consistent across various destination hotspots: the inclusion of others in an image of a special or once-in-a-lifetime experience significantly decreased viewers’ liking and preference for the venue.

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But why does the presence of other people dampen our excitement for these dreamy locales? Well, according to the authors, it all boils down to something called “psychological ownership.” It’s that feeling we get when something seems like it belongs to us, even if we don’t have legal ownership of it. We might feel it when sitting in our designated classroom seat, passionately rooting for our favorite sports team, or even when gliding down the aisle of our chosen wedding venue. These special moments become intertwined with our personal identity, and when someone else enters the frame, it creates a sense of intrusion that dilutes the magic.

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Professor Zoe Lu, the brilliant mind behind this eye-opening study, drew inspiration from her own engagement photo. As she shared it with friends, she realized that seeing her and her fiancé in the picture might subconsciously discourage others from choosing the same location for their own marriage proposals. It was a moment of enlightenment – a realization that led her down the path of investigating how the presence of people in shared photos impacts consumers’ perception of venues.

So, what does this mean for advertisers in the age of visual content marketing? Well, they should proceed with caution when selecting images featuring prior customers engaging in “identity-relevant experiences.” You see, special occasions hold greater significance for individuals, as they serve as pillars of personal identity. An anniversary dinner will always be more identity-relevant than a regular night out. Advertisers need to consider whether the featured consumer experience aligns with viewers’ sense of self, paying careful attention to the people pictured and their distinctive identity.

If marketers choose to include people in their promotional photos, they should feature individuals who don’t compete with viewers for the same identity. Employees or business owners can be excellent choices, as their presence doesn’t pose a direct threat to prospective customers’ sense of ownership. On the flipside, venues that encourage consumers to share their personal photos online should discourage selfies or pictures with the individuals themselves present. It’s a delicate dance, crafting the perfect image that captivates without undermining marketing goals.

Now, let’s address the notion of authenticity. We are oftentimes drawn to images that feel real and genuine. But this study posits a fascinating paradox. While photos with people may appear more engaging or authentic, they can sometimes undermine the very marketing goals they seek to achieve. As marketers, we must tread carefully on the tightrope between capturing reality and sparking aspirations.

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And what about those of us who participate in this digital age of sharing experiences? Well, the study implies that we have an active role to play in shaping how we present these moments to our social networks. We must consciously decide whether we want to encourage others to flock to the same venue or discourage it. Are we sharing for validation or exclusivity? The choice is ours.


Social Media Photos Scare Away New Customers
Social Media Photos Scare Away New Customers

the Tulane University study highlights the intricate relationship between shared photos, personal identity, and consumer behavior. It reminds us that our perception of a venue can be greatly influenced by the presence of others in these tantalizing images. So, marketers, take heed of these findings. Optimize your visual content marketing by considering whether the featured consumer experience is truly identity-relevant and choose your subjects wisely. And as consumers, remember the power you hold in shaping perceptions. Share your experiences thoughtfully, either to inspire or preserve the sense of exclusivity.


In this age of enticing Instagram feeds and envy-inducing travel snapshots, we must navigate the delicate dance between connection and ownership, constructing our personal identity one photo at a time.

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