Left Cheek Selfies Get 10% MORE Likes than Right Cheek… Why? A Psychologist Explains
influencer marketing

Psychologist Alan Gray’s research focuses on the psychology and behavioural science of influence online. He has published a guide for brands that summarises this research in 41 practical tips for content creation.

The guide, published today (10th March 2022), draws from scientific studies and research to explain online interactions between brands, influencers and consumers. Psychological effects such as the fluency effect or left cheek bias explain behavioural phenomena occurring online.

Alan Gray applies his knowledge of these psychological effects to social content to better understand the science of influence. He has discovered over 40 psychological effects impacting social content just like the above. From his research, he has published this practical guide for brands to use when creating content.

For example, left cheek bias explains why Instagram posts displaying a left cheek versus a right cheek get 10% higher engagement on average. In a study of over 400 images, totalling 1 billion “likes” and 14 million comments, images featuring left cheeks had more than 10% more likes than right cheek poses*. This slight change in pose drove over 300,000 more ‘likes’- demonstrating the impact that behaviour has on social interactions. Interestingly, gender had no impact on engagement. In his guide, Gray explains that humans perceive left cheeks as more emotive and open than right cheeks, leading to this difference**. So before you pick your ‘best side’, think about what you’re trying to achieve.

This is just one example out of 40 in the full guide. Each one considers psychological effects impacting brand content that goes ignored and misunderstood by the majority of brands, influencers and agencies. Without employing the principles of behavioural science, this phenomenon would not be explained or understood. Brands who continue commissioning content without understanding the science driving behaviour are wasting budget on ineffective activations. This free to access guide aims to stop this by educating brands on the science of influence.

This is the first in a series of research released publicly by Tailify after they raised £3.7m in Series A funding in 2021 to fund R&D within the business.

Tailify is an influencer marketing agency that brings together behavioural science with data science to better create and predict influence online. While the industry has been focused on top-level metrics, Tailify believes these can only tell you what people do, not why they do it. You need to employ the principles of psychology and behavioural science to truly understand influence. Their bespoke AI offering applies these principles to analyse influencer activations at scale.

For scientifically better content, check out the full guide here.

“With this guide, I hope to help the industry rethink the nature of influence. Let’s move away from guesswork and vanity metrics. Let’s start applying social psychology and all it has to offer!” –  from Alan Gray, Senior Research Psychologist at Tailify.

  • Download Alan’s Headshot & Bio
  • Download Tailify’s Logos
  • Download/View The Psychologist’s Guide to Influence

*Lindell, A.K. Left cheek poses garner more likes: The effect of pose orientation on Instagram engagement. Laterality 2019, 24, 600–613.

**Bruno, N., Pisanski, K., Sorokowska, A., & Sorokowski, P. (2018). Understanding selfies. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 44.

About Tailify

Tailify: Influencer Marketing, Powered by Science.

We are built on the premise that data only tell you what people do. Psychology and behavioural science tell you why they do it. Our ability to codify the psychological principles behind influence is what enables our AI and our service team to deliver you better influencer selection, messaging and measurement than any other agency or human.

We’re a team of cutting edge data scientists, marketers and psychologists determined to re-invent marketing.

Tailify started in 2014 and moved HQ to London in mid 2016. Since moving to London, we’ve designed and managed over 400 influence growth programmes for brands like Uber, LG, IKEA and agencies like Group M and PHD. In 2019 we were awarded best influencer marketing company in Europe.

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