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Before and after


Customers LOVE before and after pictures. But too many businesses get it wrong for one important psychological reason.

Using before and after imagery helps your customer understand the transformation that’s possible.

They work because they signal the “now” state. The problem state. 

And then help us imagine how life will be better once we’ve done what it is you’re suggesting.

Life used to be like this, now it’s like this.

Here’s an example of a video thumbnail for dog training.

On the left, the dog is jumping - bad!

On the right, the dog is sitting - good!

As the audience, we understand that by watching this video, we’ll see how to change the dog’s behaviour for the better.

So far, so obvious, right?


If it was obvious, we wouldn’t see examples like this.

This is another one for a dog trainer. 

Same idea, but see how the dog on the left is the one sitting and the one on the right is jumping?

It’s confusing, but why?

The text tells us we want to move from this to this. 

But here’s the big problem.

👉 In cultures where we read left to right, we learn that left means the past, and right, the future.

That means we always need to position past imagery, what we want to move away from, on the left, and progress markers, the future or the promised result, on the right.

This second thumbnail contravenes that principle and is therefore less effective at both capturing attention and convincing us to click.

Of course, this is only one aspect of positioning images correctly.

If you are interested to find out more, I explain the intricacies in Just Do This.


Ref: Chae, B. (G.), & Hoegg, J. (2013). The future looks "right": Effects of the horizontal location of advertising images on product attitude. Journal of Consumer Research, 40(2), 223–238



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