Attention Seeker

Fighting for attention


That’s the common size of a thumbnail in digital commerce.

We’ve talked about the imperative to reduce cognitive load to help shoppers make the right decisions in our past blog posts. In CPG, thousands of decisions must be made in each ‘trip’.

How can we find ways of easing the cognitive load so that we can shop more efficiently and equally, so that digital commerce is truly accessible to all parts of society?

It all starts with that 200x300mm thumbnail.

Talk about scale

Our brains are hard-wired to make decisions. In fact, we’re rather good at it.

The fastest supercomputer globally is the Fugaku, jointly developed by RIKEN and Fujitsu, boasting a speed of 415.5 petaFLOPS. For those like me who are unfamiliar, a petaFLOP is a quadrillion (one thousand trillion) calculations a second. A huge number of calculations and yet, not even coming close to the processing speed of the human brain.

Our miraculous brains operate on the next level higher. It is reckoned that the human brain operates at 1 exaFLOP, equivalent to a billion billion calculations per second (one followed by 18 zeros).

We know that to deal with the volume of information, shoppers use shortcuts. Decisions made implicitly and instinctively. Just like the first cursory scan of a physical shelf, in digital commerce shoppers just refuse to read much text when shopping CPG. In observational research, 70% are scrolling within 10 seconds and over 90% within 15 seconds.

Hero worship

We can help that process. Busy shoppers expect our help because are a lot of decisions to be made.

It all starts with the image. In eCommerce, it’s the first thing we see (and sometimes the only thing).

A good digital image works for all because it helps people process the content. Retailers who have a sharp, navigable digital shelf provide brands he best potential to convert sales and shoppers get the right product in the basket with fewer mistakes.

Hero images work best when brand, variant, and size are all accessible. When the fight for attention on the thumbnail results in stripping the pack of on-pack messaging, information gets lost. A digital image doesn’t have to be a pack-shot in order to do the job of conveying the message.

For sure, our brains CAN cope when images are non-optimal, but we’re making the job harder for the consumer. We’re reducing shopping enjoyment and, for brand owners, handing an advantage to the competition. Simple to fix and yet somehow, still a huge issue across so many commerce sites.

The to-do list

Four tips:

(1) Review the whole image catalogue. AI will help deal with the scale.

Many CPG’s hold image banks of tens of thousands of images. We recommend a category-by-category analysis to focus on the areas of highest potential. In this case, Category 4 has a much higher level of ‘deficient’ images. Investing time here will help conversion and overall trip experience.

(2) Focus on the clear ‘fails’. In most cases, there are already good substitutes.

Just like there are rules for powerful packaging, there are rules for digital commerce too. A good packshot does not translate into a strong image until it factors in the context of the rapid scrolling shopper.

(3) Spot the patterns so that new category guidelines mean more winning images from the start.

As clients learn more about what works and what doesn’t in a category, images improve at the source. It’s clear to see the patterns and improve the golden rules based on evidence. This evidence can be seen through database learning, similar to what is utilized here at eFluence, using thousands of cases to compare. We draw on relevant category benchmarks from the database, to help us find the patterns. In this example, pack orientation can help or hinder ease of processing.

(4) Spread the word across all parts of your enterprise, creative partners, and digital content creators.

Global CPG’s set standards, yet the content execution happens locally, regionally, and with agency partners. Permeating the learning, sharing the evidence, and improving content everywhere is an ongoing challenge.

Try eFluence for Free

You have thousands of images. It’s way too many to apply conventional testing efficiently.

Our prediction algorithms do the heavy lifting. For example, with Flash.PDP™, the hard processing work is done. The algorithm references brand new images against the database of similar images from the same category. It calculates whether the image looks more like a top performer or has closer visual similarity to images that don’t work with shoppers.

The algorithm will tell us straight away and most of the time, straight away is when the decision must be made.

A game-changer in winning at the digital shelf and giving CPG’s the edge with shoppers in a hurry.

Find out more by contacting us at


Adrian Sanger helps insight start-ups, scale-ups, and established agencies bring winning products to market. He is a Director at eFluence™, the technology division of Behaviorally. He has helped in the build of Flash.PDP™, from the very beginning and now works with clients to shape the program and realize the value. He is a classically trained researcher, assisting C-level Insight teams in tackling their biggest growth challenges, including finding market opportunity, elevating their product strategy, and positioning, and developing winning go-to-market innovations. Connect with Adrian on LinkedIn.