A study of the first 1,000 users who signed up to ProfileTree.com in March 2012 shows that profiles with a personal profile picture had 12 times more views that similarly placed listings with no image. Skill Profiles with a brand logo or graphic managed 8 times more views than those with the standard website 'ProfileTree' image. Profiles were grouped together based on length of time on the website to esnure a blanced comparison.
This clearly shows the importance of a profile picture and ensuring that a suitable one is added to any social network, personal or business profile online. People clearly like to see and deal with people, not logos or impersonal images. Heat map tracking showed the images were viewed and clicked through first in the majority of site searches - no matter what the search subject was.
The conclusion from this study shows how important for any self employed or person offering a service online complete a profile with a photo. To maximise the impact of their effort and their profile - this should be a personal image of themselves.
What makes the best profile picture? What was the common features of the most visited profiles?
Skills Profiles with head shots were the most visited pages by far. In fact 9 of the top 10 visited profiles were head shots where the individual was smiling with excellent posture - eyes open, shoulders back. They came across as very professional images - yet each still reflected the skill or service the individual offered.
Reviewing these findings ProfileTree.com has been able to draw some conclusions on what makes the best Profile Pictures and ensures an online skills profile attracted the most possible views.
The profile picture should be a high quality, well taken head shot.
Personality counts - the image should still reflect your brand and service. If it's a professional service - then the profile picture should reflect a professional person.
Be energetic in your image - but do not distract possible customers by being dramatic in your photo. No strange faces , unless you are a clown!
People deal with a person - profiles with personal images are visited many times more than logos - give yourself an advantage over the next person in a search result.
What not to do with Profile Pictures -
Avatars performed the worst - recording the lowest visits compared to any image. We found that users had created impressive profiles, offering great services - but were not getting visited as they had a generic avatar.
Cartoon images and animal images performed very poorly as well. The exceptions were for people who were artists and those who worked with animals. In general - if you want possible customers to visit your profile, see the services you are offering - do not use cartoons or animals.
Graphic logos - from business or general graphics also did not attract much attention from potential customers - side by side, customers viewed profiles that had images of people just over 50% more than profiles with logos.
To conclude the research - the 1,000 users that were studied spent an average of 18 minutes creating their profiles - those that took the 30 seconds to upload a personal profile picture had 12 times more visitors that those that left the stock image. Self employed and service providers should note that it's an image that brings many possible customers to their profile and then the text that starts to sell them. If the customer does not come to the profile in the first place - it does not matter what magical text is on the profile - no one sees it.
Takeaway - if you want the maximum number of visits to your profile and you offer a professional service - ensure you have a good quality personal photo. Second best option is a photo related to your service - for example an artist displays a piece of their work. Leaving a stock photo means customers will pass your profile by to view the next one that has an image.
Why not add to your online advertising by listing your service on ProfileTree.com today. For more tips on improving your online profile read How to Attract New Customers. Also do read How to Find Work With The Skills You Have, an excellent article on making the most out of your current skillset.
We would love to get your feedback and thoughts on our findings below.