The hero image corresponds to the main banner image on a webpage. Being the most important visual element on a given page, the hero image is usually large and sits in the most obvious location on the page (above the fold, or spanning across the whole background etc.).
Particularly on a homepage, the hero image constitutes the main visual anchor for your visitors. As such, it should be an inspiring representation of your site’s aspirations. For example, you would not use an image depicting a business meeting to promote a travel website. The ultimate goal of the hero image is to make your visitors want to connect with your brand on an emotional level.
Apart from the obvious need for relevance and inspiration, you should also consider the format of the hero image in light of the content that might sit above it. For example, if you choose an image with a lot of minute detail, will it detract users from reading the message it’s trying to promote? How will your image look on smaller device screens (will you make it responsive or will it be hidden altogether?)?
The hero image is a great place to start personalising. Because it reaches out to visitors on a subconscious level, the more you can make the hero image relatable, the more likely users will be receptive to it. An example of this would be to display an image that adapts to a user’s previous search; on a travel website, if you know that a given user has recently searched for a city break destination, you might want to show them an image depicting Rome or Barcelona. If they looked for a destination in the Caribbean, you might want to use a white-sand beach for your hero image.
Webtrends Optimize can help you achieve personalised hero images using various techniques, such as recording user onsite behaviours (categories viewed, basket contents, basket abandonment etc.) in order to retarget them later, or even geotargeting users in order to make their site experience more relevant.
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