The old saying ‘a picture paints 1000 words’ has never been more relevant for businesses seeking differentiation and authenticity of brand image in an increasingly frantic digital world.
As Google moves to a more visual form of search as favoured by Pinterest and Microsoft, the attention you pay to your brand imagery and how relevant it is to your content is now more crucial than ever. And it’s not just your site that will be affected, according to the New York Times, Facebook continues to modify its feed algorithm to favour large, prominent imagery.
Studies demonstrate that a person is more likely to remember content with an image than words alone, with research by 3M suggesting that people process visual content up to 60,000 times faster than text.
While stock photography can be great for start-up and smaller businesses due to its low unit price, it can come off looking inauthentic and often doesn’t represent the diversity of Australian businesses.
SEO guru Neil Patel hits the nail on the head when he states stock images offer ‘at best a tenuous connection’ to your business, and that their ‘generic dullness and lack of imagination’ rubs off on users. He goes on to say, ‘Not only do they have little story appeal, but when I see them, I immediately suspect the story they’re telling is not the same as the story in the copy.’
Additionally, it takes a much bigger investment in resources to sift through a stock archive in the hope of finding something that is at best adequate for your specific business needs than it would have to commission a photographer that can bring your brief to life, and it certainly won’t have the same impact or SEO benefits as a high-quality, original image.
And the results are incomparable, not just visually, but in terms of return on investment for your business, as original, optimised photography can improve search results rankings, and keep visitors on your site longer. Equally, they can offer better value in the long run.
Stock imagery often comes with limitations of usage, reflective of its price point, which can be distribution or duration based. As Entrepreneur.com explains, ‘often sites will charge you minimally to license an image and then will tack on additional fees to the assets for additional grants. The reality is, it’s actually not as cheap as you’d think if you’re remaining compliant and using the images they’re intended.’
Commissioned shots, however, are curated by you to your specific business needs, with ownership transferred to you for use as you please across multiple platforms, without additional financial commitment, making the initial up-front investment a much smarter choice in the long run. And your business will look much sharper than your competitors.
Don’t become the next ‘Women Laughing Alone at Salad?’ by over-stuffing your site with the same generic stock images. It could very well be hurting your bottom line.
Plan B Marketing works with companies big and small, and understands the challenges faced by start-ups. Get in touch, introduce yourself, tell us about your business and we can tailor an approach that works for your needs and budget.