Choosing the right Cover Photo


Toni Verbeiren


September 18, 2012

Say you are the editor in chief of a magazine and you have to decide among two possible cover photos. The magazine draws a significant part of its sales from customers that are not subscribers. In other words, you know the cover is important. Which one do you choose?

One editor in chief of a magazine I met recently takes the following approach in this situation: they send both photos to a large number of readers asking them which one they like most. The majority vote wins.

This is a typical crowdsourcing approach and probably the best option available. James Surowiecki discusses crowdsourcing in detail in his book ‘The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few’.

Additionally, I argue that the crowdsourcing approach yields a better customer experience because readers are involved in the selection process.