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The Psychological Impact of Smiles in Marketing

The Science of Smiles - Making the Right Impression Online


So you’re gearing up to put your face out there on the wild, vast expanse of the internet. Be it for your online store, a crowdfunding venture, or even just a social media profile. You’ve got the perfect lighting, a professional backdrop, and you’re ready to flash those pearly whites. But wait! How wide should that smile be?

The Intriguing Science Behind Smiles

We all know a smile can speak volumes. It’s a universal language of warmth, welcome, and friendliness. But did you know there’s a science behind how others perceive us based on our smiles? It’s true! And if you’re thinking of venturing into online marketing or crowdfunding, this info is pure gold.

The Grand Experiment

Let’s travel back to 2017. Researchers at the University of Kansas, led by the brilliant Jessica Li, embarked on a fascinating journey. Their mission? To decipher the impact of smile intensity in marketing photos on consumers’ perceptions.

Remember those times when you saw an ad and instantly felt a connection because the person was smiling genuinely? Or the opposite, when a broad grin seemed, well, a bit too much? That’s what they dug into.

So, What’s the Big Deal About a Smile?

Through various experiments and analysis, including scouring through Kickstarter.com campaigns (a popular crowdfunding platform), they stumbled upon some pretty neat insights.

When marketers flash a broad smile, consumers see them as warmer. That’s great, right? But here’s the catch: they’re also perceived as less competent. Whoa!

Now think about it. If you were seeking legal advice, and the attorney’s ad showcased a super broad smile, would you opt for their services? There’s a good chance you might think twice. However, if you were just on the hunt for, say, a quirky new t-shirt, that broad smile might make you feel more connected and inclined to buy.

The Kickstarter Chronicles – Smiles and Money

Li and her team also delved deep into Kickstarter campaigns. And guess what they found? Campaigns where the creator had a slight smile raked in more moolah. We’re talking about 50% more money pledged! On the other hand, broad smiles, though perceived as warm, led to lesser funds.

Why? Well, when it comes to parting with our hard-earned cash, we tend to lean towards folks who come across as competent. And in the world of online marketing and crowdfunding, a subtle smile seems to do the trick!

But Wait, There’s a Silver Lining for the Broad Smilers!

If you’re a naturally big smiler, don’t fret! While a slight smile may get the funds flowing on platforms like Kickstarter, broader smiles have their own charm. They tend to create more buzz on social media. We’re talking double the Facebook shares compared to their slight-smile counterparts. So, the moral of the story? Use that smile wisely based on your platform and intention.

Why Does All This Matter?

In this digital age, where a majority of interactions occur online, the way we present ourselves matters immensely. Every little detail, right down to the curve of our lips, can influence how others perceive us and, in turn, respond to our messages or products.

Are you looking to instill trust and appear competent? Maybe tone down that grin just a tad. If you’re all about building rapport and engagement, especially on social media, feel free to smile away!

Smile Smart!

So next time you’re setting up for that profile pic or ad campaign, remember, there’s more to a smile than meets the eye. Think about the message you want to send and the impression you aim to create. Whether it’s a slight curve or a full-blown grin, make sure it aligns with your goals.

Your smile has power. Use it wisely. And remember, no matter the intensity, always keep it genuine.

Written by
Selena Reeves

Selena Reeves is a dynamic and multilingual journalist hailing from Spain, with a decade of experience covering international startup ecosystems. Her ability to uncover compelling stories and present them with a global perspective has made her a sought-after voice in the entrepreneurial world. Selena's contributions are enriched by her background as a startup consultant and her Master's Degree in International Business. Based in Madrid, Selena brings her global perspective and deep understanding of European startup trends to our readers.

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