Climate impact images that work

How do you strike the right balance between the urgency of climate impacts and a message of hope? What is more effective? More disaster? More Internet cats? This resource will tell you!


Much of the time when organizations are building communications strategies, we are going by feel for what we think will work. Guestimate no more, because Resource Media tested the use of different images in Facebook ads to find out what kind of clickbait really works.


Ominous works, aftermath doesn’t. Images of threatening and scary looking storms generated both clicks and action, while the post-storm disaster photos got clicks but less action.

People and place are important. Images of people in context generated clicks and action more than just landscapes or just generic and decontextualized people. Eg. an image of a firefighter in the Southwest was better than just a shot of wildfires or a stockphoto generic-looking person.

Make it local. Tailoring by location is very important – appealing to green jobs worked best in Detroit, while renewable energy generation worked best in Cleveland.

Timing is everything. The highest click-rates for the whole project were a hurricane image for Houston audiences during hurricane season.

Appealing to emotions. Text overlay on images and juxtaposition can help to increase the emotional urgency of an ad, eg. juxtaposing clean and polluted air images.

image via Resource Media (from report) 

Date: 2015
Authors: Jeff Cappella
Organization: Resource Media
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing
Organization: Resource Media
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing

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