Why do faces in content improve performance in January?

January 8, 2022

Let’s face it, models, and specifically their faces, are an attention magnet.

Virtually in all segments and messages, models in the content improve performance.

For such an easy trick, with quite a drastic opportunity for improvement, it's surprising that more ads don’t feature models.

A model wearing an item is much more noticeable and attention-grabbing than a plain background product picture.

So, let's find out how to magnify your performance by using faces in ads, specifically, the how and why of faces influencing performance.

Including models in January content improves performance by 30%

Including models in January content is the way to go! Over all message types, doing so improves conversions by 30%.

If you’re trying to decide between using just a product picture or a model photoshoot for your content, humans are the safer bet.

Using models costs more. But when you use models, your content can reach much higher performance, and at sufficient scale, have bigger returns on investment.

Creating content in batches lowers the cost of content even more. 


You can create a bank or a backlog of pictures with models. You can do this by having your photographer take as many pictures as possible with different products in one day. 

These photos can then be used and re-used for future content, as they perform better than plain product images.

Performance improves by 30% when faces are shown in ads for Boxing Day and January.

Face it, faces improve overall performance, but what if I run a sale?

When running SALES in January, models increase performance by 38%

When running sales and discounts, the difference in performance is even more significant: A whopping 38% higher.

The reason?

Respondents had their eye movement tracked in an experiment. Here are the eye-opening findings: 

  • Human faces were reliably the first fixation from an array of different images. We notice human faces as the first thing.

  • Additionally, the reaction time to faces was much lower than for other images. Humans can process and recognize faces much faster than different stimuli.

Let’s consider this in the Paid Social context: Users’ feed is often filled with A LOT of information. They are scrolling incredibly fast, so the speed of noticing and recognizing a face greatly impacts their likelihood to purchase.

Models in January content increase performance by 38%, compared to no models in the design. 

So that’s what we see for SALES, how about NEWS?

For January NEWS, models in content almost double the performance

Faces and models in content have the most drastic impact on news content – new collections or products.

For News, the performance improvement is 89% better than when you don’t include faces or models. Why? Let’s find out….

Including faces in content primes emotions.

Happy faces in content were linked to higher likability and credibility.

Models make your products more relatable. If customers see a happy model wearing a sweater, their brain will subconsciously prime them to think “Aha, this sweater will make me happier!”

Relating to an item on its own is difficult. A connection is made when a person uses an item.  So, customers find it much easier to relate to a model using the item.

Especially when talking about new collections! If only a few people have bought and given reviews for the item, faces can add credibility and boost recall. That is why NEWS content with models performs almost twice as well.

An 89% increase in performance occurs when models are used in January NEWS content. This is nearly twice the increase as content with no models.

To find out how models impact other message types, click here.


Try moving your customer’s eye in the right direction with these tips:

  • Including models in content is a safe bet to improve effectiveness and performance. The reason for this is based on human psychology.

  • Faces are very noticeable and recognizable. Users take less time to process what they’re seeing, making them more likely to stop scrolling.

  • Comparing just a product image to a model using the product, models make products much more relatable and prime the emotions. If the model is happy while using the item, it boosts recall, likability and credibility.

  • Even with the added cost of hiring a model and photographer, it is worth it! Human faces in your content have the potential to dramatically improve the conversion rate.

With these eye-catching insights in mind, find out what results you come up with based on your business/industry.

More to read

This article focuses purely on models in January ads. Keep optimizing with the following insights.

Data section

The dataset from this article is based on 308M+ impressions and 3.1K pieces of individual content on Meta (Facebook) platforms. It takes into account data from all countries and industries, with the campaign objective of Conversions. The period is from 26. December 2021 - 31. January 2022.

Numbers are looking at correlation only, not causation. Remember to check your own data: numbers for different brands, industries, and contexts will vary.

If you were intrigued about a specific insight, you can go in-depth into the various dimensions and how data can be segmented in Confect, here.