Why Are Product Images Outperforming Lifestyle Images Lately?

Date Published:
August 3, 2022
Brock Jones

We’ve noticed a trend on Instagram ads lately - product images are performing unusually better than they ever have in the past. But why? 

Well, let’s start with a commonly known fact: the Meta (Facebook) algorithm is constantly changing to adapt to consumer trends and how users are interacting with their platforms. 

For instance, just last month Instagram re-introduced chronological order to your feed, and just last week certain targeting options (i.e. veganism) are no longer available to advertisers. 

Some of these changes are proactive decisions from Meta, and others are (unfortunately) reactive decisions caused by the launch of iOS 15. So what does this have to do with product images? 

I’m glad you asked. Meta’s AI is extremely good at identifying what captures your interest on Instagram. To prove it, open Instagram on your phone and look at your Search/Discover tab - you’re bound to find a common theme or two. If you frequently look at pictures of watches you’ll likely be served more images or ads of various watch brands. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. 

The same is true with paid advertising. If you click on an ad with an image of a Gucci handbag, you will most definitely be served more ads for handbags from other luxury brands in the hours & days following. 

By contrast, if you view and click on a lifestyle video from Gucci advertising a variety of their products, you’ll certainly be served ads from other luxury brands, but not necessarily ads for the specific product you’re most interested in. 

Let’s take this from an advertisers perspective: Since Meta tries to serve you ads that are most related to what you are looking for, by releasing ads that are clearly focussed on a specific product, Meta can more easily serve your ads to people who are interested in that specific product category, thereby improving the quality of audience you are targeting. 

This is all a long-winded way of saying “product images work well because Meta can easily show your ad to users who are interested in similar products”. 

With all that said, this does not mean that lifestyle images & videos are ineffective. Lifestyle content is an excellent way to demonstrate your brands look and feel and tap in to your prospects emotional triggers. The takeaway here is that lifestyle AND product images are both essential to an effective marketing campaign. 

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